The Halcyon Universe, Book 2
Heat Factor: Literally they have sex in the very last scene
Character Chemistry: I am flustered because she’s so cute!
Plot: Danya kidnaps Amy. Amy kidnaps Danya. Danya’s twin kidnaps Amy. Danya rescues Amy. Plus intervening adventures. Also includes: a giant science mystery, a terrorist rebel organization, and pirates. And dragons.
Overall: Fun, rip-roaring space adventure with a dollop of romance.
On the cross-genre spectrum of sci-fi/romance, this one is more on the sci-fi side of things (though it’s not hard science sci-fi, but rather outer space with a side of mysticism). I say this primarily because there’s a lot of external plot happening. (See: above plot summary.) There’s the question of why people are so interested in kidnapping Amy. There’s the mystery of what was going on with Amy’s mom’s genetic research. There’s the adventure of Danya swapping places with her twin sister to go on an away mission and now she’s out in space and holy cow this is new and exciting.
That’s not to say that there’s no romance here. We’ve got dual POV storytelling, a solid indication that we’re centering not one, but two protagonists. Amy and Danya grow separately (as they figure themselves out in classic New Adult fashion) as well as together (as they move from reluctant antagonists to teammates in solving a mystery to mutual crushing). But the switch from friends to romance felt rather abrupt—and very conveniently happened for both characters right around the same moment. If I’m being honest, they barely have time to become friends, in between all the adventures and kidnapping that’s going on.
With all that said, this is a really fun adventure story. I thought the world-building was compelling, even if some of the naming was a bit on the twee side. (The pirates hang out on a planet called Tortuga.) I especially liked the idea of dragons as incorporeal aether beings who make space travel possible with their ability to bring people with them as they instantaneously go from one point to another. The mystery was interesting and the solution not immediately obvious. And the characters were nice to spend time with. Both Amy and Danya have interesting backstories, believable motivations for continuing to work together, and distinctive personalities. I also always appreciate it when authors imagine an inclusive future, and Briar does so here without beating the reader over the head with a message about the importance of open-mindedness.
This may not have been a heart-stopping romance, but it was a fun read.
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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