I expected more along the lines of her Earthrise trilogy, which I liked very much. The tone is similar, but this reminds me more of the romantic fantasy of Grace Draven.
An interesting romance of conquered west meeting magically advanced east and a romance between a man, an hermaphrodite and a neuter. Yep, three people. It works, too. Hogarth also plays with different cultures and societal norms and throws in some entertaining insights into the workings of the minds of musicians.
The story is pretty mellow and slow-paced, the characters are all fairly chilled and there is not an awful lot of tension. The general pleasantness is met with the required conflict and strife about 70% into the book. Luckily enough though, the author avoids the usual, annoying romance cliches and our lovers behave like adults and communicate.
Heat level: not-explicit, some sensual thoughts
Relationship: Hermaphrodite/male with poly asexual neuter third
This is not part of the Peltedverse (I think).
Probably a good choice for fans of Grace Draven.
I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley in 2017, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!
“A Distant Sun”, 3 stars: Explains the origins of the pelted universe a little. Pretty sad.
“Rosettes and Ribbons”, 2.5 stars: Another race in the Pelted Universe is given a closer look. The male MC is very over the top, the female one is clueless and naive. Pretty simplistic and moralistic little tale.
“The Elements of Freedom”, 4 stars: Yoda talking, he is. Much Native American his compatriots sound. This was my favourite of the collection. I liked the setting and the tone.
“Pantheon”, 3 stars: Very short. I would love to get a look at that card deck!
“Butterfly”, 3 stars: Slightly longer story about family, tradition and the sometimes stupid things people do in the name of those traditions.
The collection as a whole was ok. Nothing terribly exciting, but a nice enough read for a Sunday afternoon on the sofa.
Nice little piece about Sydnie meeting Lesandurel for the first time, Christmas themed. I would recommend reading the novels first.
The various chapters seem to be a chronological collection of short stories about Alysha’s life. First one about her life before the Academy. Second one, “Two Uniforms”, is about her trying to get accepted into the Academy and warrants a trigger warning for rape. It’s brief and not graphic, but it’s not in the off either.
“A Cold and Gentle Dark” is another pretty grim chapter. And it continues like that. Much darker than expected and overall not what I expected, based on the author’s other works I have read so far.
With “Blood Money” the story picked up for me and with “Steel” I was hooked.
“Steel” is a great chapter. Brighthaven is an excellent addition to the cast and the storyline holds enough surprises to build up suspense.
In the foreword of the book Alastar is likened to a Vulcan and that observation is spot on, all the way to the pointy ears.
The last three chapters made the book for me. I even got pretty emotional towards the end. Some of these characters I want to meet again.
There are a few baffling spelling mistakes, as if an autocorrect hasn’t been caught.
Recommend for fans of the author, but a better starting point is her “Her Instruments” series, beginning with Earthrise.