A determined aristocrat pursues a young rocket scientist caught up in political intrigue in this sci-fi romance.
On an Earthlike planet called Home, in the demesne of Hillvale, 20-year-old commoner Reiki is at a crossroads. Her application to join the Academy of the Stars’ first moon mission has been rejected, and when her boyfriend, Jude Tavenern, unexpectedly proposes, she realizes she doesn’t want a future with him. Before she can figure out her next step, she accidentally sees something that puts her in danger concerning the powerful Lord Välenus and his daughter, Iliara. Desperate to save herself, Reiki uses her psychic abilities to lock away her memories. But now she has no idea who she is, only that someone wants her dead. Luckily, playboy oil baron Arthur Galenden, who’s been attracted to Reiki since first catching sight of her, helps her escape to his faraway homeland, Ged. Refusing to take advantage of her amnesia, Arthur sets out to woo her. Can the two of them build a foundation of love and trust across class boundaries, or will political schemes prove deadly? Will Reiki ever reclaim her past and, with it, her dream of becoming the first woman to land on the moon? It’s clear from the first page that Hippolite (I, Kwan, 2014, etc.) has a firm grasp of her world, which feels fully realized and natural—no awkward passages of exposition here. In fact, she may err on the side of too little exposition, because there’s a lot of ground to cover: society, commerce, fashion, even Home’s own version of chess. Numerous subplots—Arthur’s attempts to better the life of a harp-playing sex worker; Reiki’s immense success at selling a light-up purse she invented; the heroine’s prior connection to Kajo, Hillvale’s leader—hamper the narrative’s progress. And Arthur and Reiki’s power imbalance—he knows secrets of her previous life but conceals them from her—makes their romance ring a bit hollow.
Strong worldbuilding but an uneven plot involving love and a lunar mission.