Plot overview: After an alien abduction gone wrong, Jade finds herself on a strange planet, being told that the only way she can eventually go home is to spend a year there...married to an alien.
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book. First of all, I’m always a little leery of new-to-me authors, and even more leery of debut authors. I try to keep an open mind, but I’ve been burned WAY too many times to not be at least a little cautious. And frankly, the whole sci fi romance trend has always been a little...daunting for me as a reader. All those covers of books featuring blue, multi-handed, sometimes horned alien heroes...well, let’s just say I had some concerns. But while I might’ve started reading this book while peeking through my fingers, waiting for something horrible to leap off the page and smack me across the face, I have to say that it didn’t take more than a chapter for the author to totally win me over.
First of all, the world-building in this book is some of the best and most intricate I’ve ever seen. It kind of reminds me of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series in that every aspect of this alien world and society has been thought through. The author has thought of everything. Normally, intricate world building kind of annoys me. (It slows down the romance, you know?) But in this book, I was intrigued with pretty much every detail of how this alien society functioned. (It’s a matriarchy, y’all! Girl power!)
Jade is a decent heroine. She’s smart, strong, and independent. And even though she isn’t thrilled with the idea of staying on this alien planet and being forced into marriage, she’s smart enough to realize her options are limited, and she makes the most of her situation. (Note: for those of you worried that Jade is mistreated in any way, she isn’t. Yes, she’s being forced to marry, but the choice of who to marry is hers, and she’s pretty much treated like a queen from day one because that’s how this society functions.)
But while I liked Jade just fine, I REALLY adored Theo. He’s a gruff, grumbly, grumpy type of guy who never thought he’d be chosen as a husband (for reasons that I won’t go into here...just know his concerns are valid), but who is completely incapable of doing anything but fall head-over-heels in love with his new wife. He’s a total cinnamon roll in alphahole clothing.
I will admit that it irked me a little that Theo was so resistant for SO long to the idea that Jade might actually like him. But I forgave him. He’s too sweet not to forgive.
And on a totally shallow note...I really love the cover of this book. I might’ve read it on cover alone, frankly.
But, long-story-short, this is what I would consider a great gateway book into sci fi romance. Tremendous world building, no creepy multi-handed (or tentacled) heroes to scare away timid readers, and plenty of romance and sexy times. It’s a winner. That’s all there is to it.
Full disclosure: I received an ARC free of charge, which didn’t impact my honest review in any way.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It’s far, far, FAR from stigma-y. It’s crushing stigmas left and right.