A quarter into it the book it felt like this: potential m/m romance in an SF setting, marriage of convenience, potentially a murder mystery and court intrigue, hints of space opera.
As the mystery unfolded at a snail’s pace, the author didn‘t offer many details. Elaborate explanations were given to other characters in the off, without engaging the reader very much. Which made that part of the narrative pretty superficial.
The romance was mostly nonexistent in the first half of the book. Kiem and Jainan didn‘t have any meaningful conversations. I know this is pretty typical in many romances — bad communication, misunderstandings, etc. But there wasn’t a lot of internal dialogue either and little to no character development. Not very satisfying.
I can understand why people abandon this book in the first half of it. It felt a bit as if the author wasn‘t sure where she was going with it. Is it a mystery? Is it a court intrigue? A romance? Definitely not space opera in the typical sense. I decided to just go with the flow and wait out the glacial pace of it all. The writing was good, the story just took its sweet time.
Then something happened in the middle and the story became interesting. Suspense, romance, scenery, space station, the lot. I was enjoying myself. There was even something truly inventive towards the end. Good stuff. I was much happier with the character development in the second part of the book as well.
Besides Kiem and Jainan I liked Bel and Rakal the most. The humour was good throughout the book. I liked the rest so much, that I would even pick up a sequel.
So, if you don‘t expect elaborate SF, but like your brain candy with some suspense, this might be for you. Just be patient with the beginning.
I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!