The revelation of Eros’ parentage in Beyond the Red (2016) leads to political intrigues and a change in his relationship with Kora.
Half-human, half-Sepharon Eros, the son and heir to the Sira, is less concerned with the Sepharon than taking care of his 13-year-old human nephew, Mal, who struggles with partial blindness from the earlier attempted nanite genocide. Eros decides to take Mal to the Sepharon city Asheron to beg for medical treatment. In chapters that alternate in Kora’s voice, it’s revealed that to abort that genocide, all nanites were disabled, severely setting back Sepharon technology and destabilizing their civilization. Now an Emergency Council has been called to decide a new Sira, and Kora needs Eros to return and fight for his place. Her holding pattern is finally disrupted by charismatic Deimos, and the two go to find Eros—who has found human rebels who want him to become Sira, help take down the government, and bring equality to the two species. Padded exposition, endless cast introductions (including similarly named characters), and Sepharon words draw out the first act. The fun starts once Eros makes a play for the throne in earnest, a plotline with surprises. While the romance between him and Kora fizzles, he gains a new one that grows out of a friendship—and Kora gains a storyline separate from him. Most characters of either species are brown-skinned, and there’s positive LGBTQ representation. The ending sets up the trilogy closer.
Distracting alien language and languid first act aside, an improvement on the first outing. (Science fiction. 13-17)