Holy heck, how did I miss that this one was coming out? How on earth did I miss it getting posted to Goodreads and Netgalley? Why doesn’t Netgalley let us flag authors for alerts? I guess this one is as much of a surprise for the year as last year’s book Dark Horse, which I adored. I mean seriously adored, I’ve since read it probably a dozen times, and I am going to read it after finishing Dark Deeds. It is on sale for $0.99 for a limited time, so I implore you to pick it up, read it, and love it! Even Nalini Singh loved it. And it will likely remain on my compulsive rereads shelf for a good long while. I was in fact so excited for this book, that even though I was offered an ARC, I went ahead and bought it because I simply could not wait for the Netgalley widget.
Far from home . . .
Fiona Russell has been snatched from Earth, imprisoned and used as slave labor, but nothing about her abduction makes sense. When she’s rescued by the Grih, she realizes there’s a much bigger game in play than she could ever have imagined, and she’s right in the middle of it.
Far from safe . . .
Battleship captain Hal Vakeri is chasing down pirates when he stumbles across a woman abducted from Earth. She’s the second one the Grih have found in two months, and her presence is potentially explosive in the Grih’s ongoing negotiations with their enemies, the Tecran. The Tecran and the Grih are on the cusp of war, and Fiona might just tip the balance.
Far from done . . .
Fiona has had to bide her time while she’s been a prisoner, pretending to be less than she is, but when the chance comes for her to forge her own destiny in this new world, she grabs it with both hands. After all, actions speak louder than words.
I was nervous to start it though, as I almost always am when reading the sequel to a beloved book. Would it not live up to my expectations. Would it just be a boring clone? Would it go in a direction I didn’t enjoy? Man oh man, did this one surprise me though, but in the best way possible. Rose and Fiona are categorically different people, and their situations are also wildly different.
I don’t know what to say. Fiona is just a spitfire, and her role and relationship with the Grih is distinctly more adversarial than Rose’s. Things are really heating up with the United Council and absolutely no one is happy about it, and while the end of Dark Horse parlayed into significant gains for Rose, Sazo, and Dav, it set the stage for discontent toward other Earthlings. Completely unintended consequences, but that is truly the theme in this series.
Honestly I am just fascinated by the world and cultures Diener is creating, and how she is weaving the idea of sentience into artificial intelligence in a really relateable way. While I would describe Dark Horse as not quite a romance, I would say this isn’t a romance at all. There IS a romantic thread but the story isn’t even about their relationship (the relationship works, and works well though), really this focuses on war, society/culture, science fiction, and a stranger in a strange land. It is also much more action/adventure oriented, but that seems appropriate both due to the fact that we already have a solid hold on this world, and because of the different situations our two main characters found themselves in, as well as the general course of events and the effects these events are having on their society. As I said, despite their similarities, Rose and Fiona are two very different people, and their stories are different as well.
So what can I say? I adored this book. I could hardly put it down, in fact I was reading this while some technicians were finishing some work after my work day had ended, and I could hardly make myself put it down long enough to drive the 5 minutes to my house. It is that good. But if I have to be honest, and I always try to be, I prefer Dark Horse by just a tiny little smidge. I don’t think it is even possible for a sequel to hit with the groundbreaking intensity of Dark Horse, because part of that was how unexpected it was. So this is getting 4.5 stars from me, but I couldn’t be more thrilled with it as a sequel (even though it went in a completely unexpected direction), and when we get the next story I will be first in line to buy it. In fact, if I am not completely oblivious like I was this time I might just take a day off work to read it. This series is THAT good.