by Tracy St. John
Series: Warriors of Risnar #3
Also in this series: Worlds Apart
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: October 29, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Engineer Velia Farrah always wanted to see an alien up close. Now that she’s assigned to study the top secret portal linking Earth to other worlds, she’ll get her chance. But when a fierce, gold-skinned alien from Risnar leaps from the portal and whisks her back to his home planet, “up close” takes on a whole new meaning.
Believing Earthlings had killed his fellow warriors, Jape Bolep is determined to destroy Earth’s access to Risnar once and for all. Grabbing a curvy handful of a human wasn’t part of the plan, but he has no intention of letting her distract him from his need for vengeance—no matter how much he aches to make her his.
Both are ready to do battle over right and wrong and good and evil, and their combustible relationship burns hotter than the sun’s surface. But distrust and treachery from all sides leave Velia and Jape in a fight against their own people to keep each other alive—and to ultimately save both Earth and Risnar from total destruction.
I’ve very much enjoyed the previous two books in the Warriors of Risnar series, and this one took a unique turn. I would not recommend picking this up without having read at least the previous one, as much of the plot builds on past events.
Velia has finally got her dream job – working with alien technology at a secret military base. She’s basking in her luck in front of the alien portal, when suddenly it opens and a striped alien appears. Jape is the head of security for the village of Cas, and protecting his village – and Risnar in general – is his driving force. So when the village elder, Ehar, sends him on a mission to destroy the local portal to Earth with a bomb, he agrees readily. What he wasn’t expecting was for someone to be on the other side, and in the resulting confrontation between him and the American military forces, he kidnaps Velia – for her own protection, of course. Jape is suspicious of any Earthling, especially one that apparently works so closely with the technology the Monsudans have given them. Plus, unlike Anneliese, the heroine of the last novel who Jape reluctantly admires, Velia’s weak and not a warrior. Velia’s naturally annoyed (ok, well, somewhat excited to see all of this alien technology), and even so annoyed at Jape’s attitude that she calls him Mr. Grumpy Stripes (Risnarish have tiger-like stripes on their bodies). However, under their bickering there’s a grudging respect and definite attraction. But with war with the Monsuda looming and Earth’s place in the conflict, is what they have enough?
“Jape found too much to like about her, and it worried him. Her intelligence and vibrancy. He’d had fun with her the night before, playing the game and talking. He’d found her moments of shyness adorable when talk drifted to intimate matters. […]
Jape caught himself smiling at the memory. Irritation replaced the momentary pleasure. He couldn’t think of her in such terms. Maybe she wasn’t part of the immediate problem of the Earthling military, but she was fiercely loyal to them. To those who had thrown their lot in with the Monsuda.
He could not see her as anything more than that. He would not.”
As mentioned before, this book picks up where Anneliese’s book left off. Jape is still grieving his comrades who were lost when the Monsudans tried to overtake the hives – a battled that was witnessed and perhaps facilitated by the American military. Raised by a strict military father, Velia has been brought up to trust them completely, and in fact the military base she works at is run by one of her father’s friends, General Thomas. When the Risnarish reveal that their alien benefactors are instead intent on subjugating Earth, Velia is desperate to find proof that the Monsuda are double-crossing the American military and bring it back to General Thomas. Jape, on the other hand, has been swayed by Ehar’s determination to avoid further “contamination” by the Earthlings and holds them partially responsible for the deaths of his friends. So when Jape and Velia finally give in to their attraction, they have, well, not exactly angry sex, but definitely “I’m having confusing emotions” sex. I liked watching them grow to respect each other, and then gradually love each other, but I wasn’t as sold on the romance as some of the other books.
“Of course. I will personally ensure that.”
“I insist that you do, or there will be a new head enforcer to replace you.”
With that, Ehar glided past him, the other three elders drifting in her wake. They left Jape without the customary salute of hand to chest, of wishing him well in his endeavors. They left him with Ehar’s unbelievable words ringing in his ears.
Ehar had threatened his place in life. The reason Spirit had created him, to protect and fight for his people. She’d done so in her melodic but unfeeling voice, as if robbing him of his two hearts’ reason to beat was no great matter.
It was interesting that the on-page enemy of this book wasn’t the Monsuda, but Ehar, the head village elder (who most people will remember from Anneliese’s book). The Monsuda definitely had their part in sowing discord between the two species, however, so they’ve managed to turn them against each other instead of them joining forces against the Monsuda. It’s also an interesting discussion about loyalty. Does Jape’s guild over the loss of his comrades justify his loyalty to Ehar, even if what she orders is against his conscience? What about Velia’s loyalty to her father and the military he worshipped? So, as the book ends, we’ve got more information on how the Monsuda intend to enslave Earth, and only about a year left before that happens. I’m very interested to see where this series goes next, and, honestly, I’m hoping for a book for Salno, the female Risnarian scientist!