Modified And Sacred – Jana Denardo
Lieutenant Addison Hunt is proud to serve the Confederation even if he still feels like he’s on the outside looking in. Addison was illegally genetically modified as a child, leaving him burdened with a sense of shame. Emotionally isolated from his fellow crewmen and recovering from injuries from his last job, Addison is happy to have light duty transporting an esteemed diplomat to a peace conference.
Deveral is one of the Sacred Kin, possessing a psychic ability that his people consider a spark of the divine. Like all the Sacred Kin, he’s led a sheltered life as a temple priest, but his heightened empathic ability makes him the perfect diplomat. Nervous to leave his home, he’s curious about his new companion, Lieutenant Hunt.
Not everyone wants the diplomatic mission to succeed, and a rebel faction poses a real threat to Addison and Deveral. Finding themselves cast adrift on a “lost” colony, they’ll have to fight to stay alive.
Modified And Sacred is an enjoyable sci-fi romance that touches upon religion and science. It has a lot of stuff going on from human trafficking, illegal modifications to lost colonies and sacred beings. My favorite was the Fyrians, a specie who can change the colors of their skin and hair depending on their emotion.
Deveral was a Sacred Kin, assigned to go on a diplomatic mission to negotiate with a breakaway faction. He lived a pampered life and has never been outside his planet so his survivals skills were almost nil. Dev is easy going and never shies away from getting what he wants.
Addison is a Confederate soldier nursing an injury so he was assigned a boring mission to escort the Fyrian ambassador. Turns out the mission was far more exciting than he bargained for. Their shuttle was shot down and they crash landed in an unknown colony. A big part of the novella is about him and Dev navigating the land and trying to evade pursuers. Unlike Dev, Addy was more uptight. He has secrets to keep and a job to do so he was very hesitant to complicate his relationship with the Sacred Kin who was all but ready to jump his bones no matter the danger they were in.
I like that the plot moves fast but because this is a novella, some developments were rushed. I’m all for quick reads but I think this could benefit from adding a couple more chapters to flesh out Dev and Addy’s relationship, the issue with mods, their escape from the lost colony and the ending. The backstories were interesting though they gloss over some points
The worldbuilding could also use additional details. We get a small peak at a small corner of their universe and what I saw was intriguing enough for me to read a sequel if there’s any. There were many interesting aspects I am curious about such as their governments, other alien species, technology and so on. I want to see more of the Turing crew and the Fyrians. I hope Xavi gets his own book too. Clearly, there are more stories waiting to be told about this colorful universe.
Thank you to IndiGo for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it
Consulting Royalty: Matters of the Heart – Alli Reshi
Demitri is a consultant to an Earth-based task force that solves extraterrestrial crimes. But even his extensive knowledge and non-Earth perspective are strained by the hunt for a serial killer. The situation is further complicated when his childhood friend Devin, a notorious criminal, comes under his care while recovering from a coma. Between hunting a killer, convincing his team to trust Devin, and trying to help Devin recover, Demitri is pulled in too many directions, and he’s not sure he’ll manage to accomplish any of his goals.
Being secretly in love with Devin isn’t helping matters.
It’s like I stumbled into an episode of a crime investigation drama mid-season, something like CSI: Extraterrestrials, episode 6. It started with a recap of the previous episode’s cliffhanger where Devin threatened to kill the POTUS and Demitri tried to stop him. The writing assumes you are already familiar with the characters and how the world is set-up. Putting together everything is no hardship and things do come together okay, although a bit of world-building would do a lot of good. I find the world of multi-specie entities interesting and I hope Alli Reshi might add more details to what is potentially a rich universe to mine with stories.
Demitri and Devin are childhood friends from a faraway planet who were exiled because Devin was deemed insane and Demitri was involved in illegal research in an effort to help his friend. They are also both sitting on a love confession to each other for centuries. Out with it, boys! I am a sucker for a friends-to-lovers trope done well so I was rooting for Demitri and Devin (said rooting involves sitting them together and smacking their heads). Devin is still tagged as a criminal and I am curious about his fate so next book, please.
There were hardly any details about them but the rest of the team, Benn, Isaac, Gabrielle, Amy, and Sally were likable people. I want to get to know them so some background info would be nice. They all knew Demitri was in love with Devin, heck, maybe assume they were boyfriends already. They were all egging on the Demitri to just get it on already but the poor man had to keep it all bottled up inside.
The case was a minor subplot, minor as in easy to solve. It was simply a matter of identifying the right specie then wait for it to appear. On the upside, it was another way to introduce an interesting new alien to the story. I’m hoping the next case would be more challenging and the investigation be more rigorous. It’s partly what I signed up for after all.
So, major points on the interesting premise, the characters and the romance, hopefully better world building and harder cases to solve next time. This series shows good promise so I want to see where the author takes it.
I received a copy of Matters of the Heart from Less Than Three Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it