Forbidden love blooms on a planet called Safari between its queen and her half-human slave.
When a devastating attack by the Sepharon destroys the nomadic human rebels’ camp and kills half-human/half-Sepharon Eros’ adoptive parents and brother, he’s captured. Despite a standard practice of killing half-bloods, the queen, Kora, has designs to make him her personal servant and secret bodyguard, as her own guards are actually loyal to her jealous younger brother. In fact, Kora’s position is downright precarious—she’s widely disliked as a ruler because she’s a woman. Readers are frequently told that her brother would be a disastrous ruler, but, aside from her kind treatment of Eros, no evidence is given that demonstrates that Kora has any greater aptitude. Instead of allowing readers to see her govern, the narrative, which alternates between her and Eros’ first-person accounts, describes the growing physical attraction and emotional connection between the two. Only readers swept up by the chemistry and love story will be able to overlook pacing issues, plot holes, and flat secondary characters with flimsy motivations. While the storyline is marred by obvious, what-you-see-is-what-you-get–type villains with transparent plots, the writing itself is generally competent, although the sprinkling of Sephari words is distracting at times. The humans’ colonial past and subsequent enslavement are glossed over, as are many worldbuilding questions. A rushed conclusion sets up the sequel.
Deeply flawed. (Science fiction. 13-17)