Set in a future universe, humans have been waring with each other and with an alien reptilian species. Now, the humans have consolidated their powers by force and a cat and mouse cold war exists between them and the reptiles. Rafian, as a small orphaned boy, is a casualty of all this chaos. He grows up in the system, being broken down and built up time and again until he is a superb pilot and killer.
The book started off strong and promising. I really enjoyed how the foundation for Rafian’s character was laid out as it explained many of his actions later on. Also, he’s not the only one who has gone through such harshness. Rather, the author built in characters with a variety of backgrounds. This made the plot even more interesting. In addition, there is plenty of cool tech, something I always look for in scifi. Once Rafian joins up with the spy program (which happens just past the halfway mark but is noted in the book blurb so I feel no guilt mentioning it), we get some pretty cool Matrix like stuff going on. The spy program isn’t at all what Rafian was expecting. The story is told through a series of memories, so I never really feared that Rafian would end up dead. He does have some pretty close calls though, so there is some good suspense.
Rafian also has a softer side he saves for the ladies. Indeed, he has several relationships throughout this book. The first couple added to the plot and gave Rafian’s character depth. But then things got a bit repetitive (for instance, he tends to date one drama queen after another) and more and more of the book was given over to Rafian’s love life. As less and less of the book was about the plot and the scifi universe, I became less interested in the story. Plus, Rafian is never at fault in any of these relationships and all of the women are extremely jealous of him spending any time with another female. Then we get into the whole forced promiscuity thing and it read more like a playboy’s fantasy than a scifi story. Yep, in the end I was left wanting more substance and less relationship drama.
However, the book is a fun military romance science fiction story if you aren’t looking for depth. I truly appreciated that women were equals in this tale and the author didn’t feel the need to point that out. We had women at every level in the command structure and serving as equals side by side with Rafian.
I received this audiobook from the author (via the Audiobook BlastNewsletter) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Anisha Dadia has a lovely British accent that she reads the entire book in. At first, I questioned why the author picked a female narrator when the main focus of the story is a man, but after the first hour, I felt Dadia was a good fit. Plus, the story is told in 3rd person, as an outsider looking in and recording all these events. Dadia had decent voices for the men and a variety of voices for the ladies. On the technical side, there sometimes was a change in volume and occasionally there was a small thump or other extraneous noise. Neither were enough to irritate me into turning off the audiobook.