New World, Book #2
Heat Factor: Ana tells Kit she’s a good girl so you *know* there’s some heat here.
Character Chemistry: The Goddess has decreed it!
Plot: Kit escaped from a lab; Ana has hunted her down and is going to return her. Time for a road trip (to pound town)!
Overall: I liked that this book surprised me.
So everyone’s got their niche subgenres where they see a book in that subgenre and are like, “Oh yes, I will read this book.” Erin likes M/M hockey romances, for example. For me, it’s lesbians in space. I don’t know why.
Anyway, if you’re like me and you also are interested in lesbians in space, this book features fated mates, above-average sexytimes (edging AND praise kink!), mysterious space magic, evil scientists, interesting worldbuilding, and a non-enraging black moment.
The basic premise is that Kit was kidnapped from her homeworld by an evil scientist who brought her to his lab to study her magic. Yes, her people have magic, which they believe is given to them by their deity. She and her familiar—yes, she has a black cat who comes everywhere with her—managed to escape and are laying low and trying to figure out what the heck to do.
Ana’s idiot younger brother has some gambling debts and is being held hostage by the evil scientist. Ana is a military veteran who also happens to be a Beast hybrid; this means that not only does she have skills, she also can track people based on their scent.
And Kit smells delicious.
The impasse between these two is that Kit definitely does not want to go back to that lab, and that Ana can’t just leave her brother in the lurch. Initially, their conflict is about Kit trying to escape and Ana blocking those attempts. But eventually, Ana’s guilt about doing this job that is definitely *not* serving the greater good (not to mention their mutual attraction) means that their relationship shifts into “how are we going to get out of this mess?”
This is where things get interesting. (Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers!)
So, based on the set up, I was expecting the climax of the book to be Kit and Ana storming the lab together. You know, the pressure slowly builds as they work together to fix this impossible situation and then big shootout scene!
That’s not what happens.
They land on the planet, and both Kit and Ana go into a trance (thanks, Goddess)! And Kit activates her powers, which have been dormant but woke up now that she’s had sex with her fated mate. And Kit burns down the entire lab because she happens to have fire magic. The whole thing takes a few paragraphs.
What makes this so interesting is that this scene, which in an action story arc would be the climax, is used to precipitate an emotional crisis for the characters. The climactic conflict is about how they deal with the fallout of seeing each other differently based on the things they did during the breakout. To wit: Kit scares the shit out of Ana, and Ana can’t be sure that Kit won’t just light things on fire with her mind if she gets angry in the future. These powers are new—does Kit really have control over them? Everything is not automatically hunky-dory just because the evil scientist has been eliminated. Instead, our lovebirds go their separate ways because of fear and hurt and anger and mistrust. This choice shifts the arc of the story away from the expected action to one that relies on emotional beats—and puts us back into the familiar romance territory of break up, regret it, and grovel. I liked that the author played with my genre expectations.
I should mention that there was one thing about this book that I didn’t love, and that was some of the race characterization.
Ana, as I mentioned before, is a “Beast hybrid.” She is really good at smelling things, has horns, and is enormous. She is sexually dominant. Ana is also a Black woman. While Ana is an awesome, well-rounded, nuanced character, I couldn’t help but think about the history of portraying Black women as animalistic and (sexually) aggressive. Maybe I am reading too much into this, but I wanted to flag that this made me feel weird.
On the other hand, Lily X writes interracial romance. And I might also be flagging this book if Kit—the curvy woman who lives in a tribal society and practices nature magic—were the Black woman in the relationship.
I don’t have a good answer here.
Let’s wrap this bad boy up. Here’s my TL;DR: I enjoyed this book. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to all romance readers, but if you’re into sexy f/f romance then I say, why not give this one a shot? You, too, might become obsessed with lesbians in space.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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