In this sequel, a college student in a love triangle with two aliens faces a difficult decision.
The first book in Daigle’s (Alawahea, 2015) sci-fi/romance series focused on Denver college student Tamara Dorvath Carrington, 21. Her mother’s death and the arrival of exchange students from the planet Azelle triggered an “unusual, explosive Awakening” of Tamara’s “psi abilities” that exposed her secret heritage as half-Azellian through her biological mother. Another result was an unusual love triangle among Tamara and two Azellians, fellow student Alarin “Alari” Raderth and ambassador Merran Corina, a link that forces all three “to share emotions, thoughts, and physical pleasure.” An empath, Merran knows that Tamara is in love with Alari. But Merran is dedicated to his busy job, and his bond will fade if it isn’t renewed, a prospect he faces without resentment, instead focusing on negotiating a deal with the Dorbin, noncorporeal beings whose psi-active medicinal plants are desired by Azelle’s Healers. The triangle is still a worrisome issue for Tamara, who tends to fret. Just as things seem to be settling down, a big surprise unsettles her life, one that brings her, Alari, and Merran to Azelle, where readers discover more about the Temple and the experiences to be had there. Tamara learns the truth of Kyarinal, the Azellian concept that “all that was possible had indeed become possible.” Daigle weaves an intricate story that includes romance, politics, culture, and spirituality. Merran’s negotiating work is genuinely absorbing (and becomes interestingly sexual), for example, and the Azellian section is rich and intriguing, as are other glimpses readers get of that culture. A prologue recapping Book 1 would have been helpful, since there’s little to characterize Alari and it’s unclear why Tamara, who often seems immature, should be so compelling; Merran’s character is much more developed. The pace is also slowed by overused action beats (so much blinking and rubbing of eyes) and unnecessary descriptions (an intercom voice “only slightly altered by the electronic media that filtered it”).
While it lacks a swift pace, this sci-fi tale offers complex, imaginative liaisons and worldbuilding.