Does it seem like I’ve had a lot of Loki Renard posts here lately? Well, there’s a very good reason for that. Loki has been ridiculously prolific lately. I’m not complaining, since that just means more books for me to read. And, I don’t know if you knew this or not, but I LOVE to read. If it came down to giving up chocolate or giving up books, I’d give up chocolate. But, since I don’t have to choose, I will eat my chocolate while reading, just like I did while reading Broken by the Alien.
Loki tends to write on the darker end of things, and this one fits in really well with the other books of hers that I’ve recently blogged. It is a scifi romance though, instead of being here on Earth.
This is the way that the story goes. The Rathkari have invaded Earth. They are very much into breeding. They want to do everything they can to make sure that their species continues. Each person is going to be the parent of millions, so it’s important to mate and breed. But that doesn’t mean that they are going to let humans keep doing that. No, their plan is to take all the human males off of Earth and do heaven only knows what with them. Then they take all the women of breeding age and go make happy little Rathkari babies. Either they do that through a mating bond or there are breeding facilities where women can go and just keep having babies. Women who are too old to breed are used as slave labor on Earth to produce food for the Rathkari fleets and people.
In the very intense first chapter, we meet Era. She has lost her father and brother, and her brother’s fiancee is now one of the women having Rathkari babies. Era literally has no one left on the face of the Earth. She’s of prime child-bearing years, but instead, she’s laboring in the rice paddies, planting, harvesting, and hauling huge bags of rice around. She’s hiding and trying to make it look like she’s older than she is. The fact that the Rathkari don’t treat their slaves well or feed them all that particularly well makes it even easier to sell her masquerade. But, when the overseer sees her period blood on her leg one day, he decides that she’s broken and is going to take her to the recycler, which will let her be used to nourish the fields.
That’s when Karlo shows up. He’s the superior officer in charge of the particular quadrant that Earth is in. He just happens to be doing an inspection of the fields that day and sees Era struggling with the overseer. She wants to live, so she’s trying to get him to let her go. Karlo recognizes that she’s probably of childbearing years, so he goes to save her. Era suddenly changes her mind and decides that nope, the overseer can just go toss her in the recycler if that means that she doesn’t have to go with Karlo. She quite literally would rather die than to have him save her life. But since he’s bigger than she is and much healthier, she doesn’t have a lot of choice. He takes her, straps her into the shuttle, and takes her back to his ship and his quarters. He’s planning on taking her as his mate, but first he has to get her healthy, and it turns out that she’s going to keep fighting him the whole time.
OK, it’s that time. Era hates the Rathkari, and I gotta say that I can’t blame her for that at all. If I were in her place, I would probably hate them as well. But, it also sounds like the occupation may have been mismanaged, so if things had gone better, would that have changed her feelings? I dunno. I often play what if… with books, but I don’t think this is one that I’m going to do that with. The fact is, she hates the Rathkari in general, and quite often, Karlo in particular. He doesn’t do a whole lot to endear himself to her either. Of course, they both have very different POVs so there are a lot of misunderstandings, but he doesn’t really try to get where she’s coming from. I liked Karlo, but there are times that I was really furious at him. I will say that there are times when I’m mad at Era too. Just as he doesn’t really try to get her POV, I don’t think that Era really tries to put herself in his shoes. There are just huge chasms between the two of them that are almost impossible to bridge at times. The book made me feel happy, sad, angry, stressed, and joyful, sometimes all at once. I totally loved it.
The rope work that Karlo does is pretty damn awesome, and I would totally love that. Not entirely sure that I’d want the first punishment he does with it, though.
I was really mad at Karlo during the whole explanation that Era couldn’t get pregnant and his reaction. Of course she’s going to be angry about the whole thing, but anger is a secondary emotion, and it’s always easier to be scared than it is to be afraid or to be vulnerable or to tell him that she has some kind of feelings for him. It’s not like I expected him to read her mind, but I did expect something better out of him.
So, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!