Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ARC Review: Beyond the Red

Title: Beyond the Red
Author: Ava Jae
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Source: ARC from Sky Pony
Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

My Review

Beyond the Red by debut novelist Ava Jae is a book that I've wanted to read for a while now. I'd heard and seen nothing but amazing blurbs and reviews, so when the time came for me to finally read it, I was beyond excited. Unfortunately that excitement was short-lived, and this book became my first DNF of 2016.

So why didn't Beyond the Red work for me? For the most part, I found that I wasn't really interested in the plot. I understand that this book is about an alien queen named Kora, her twin brother, and a half-blood, but what seemed like a book about a foreign alien court just turned into a violent mess that I wasn't that prepared for. 

Another thing that didn't work for me was the characters. I wasn't connecting with either of the main characters - Eros and Kora. For me, not connecting with characters is a big problem. It's just hard to like a book when you don't connect with characters or if they don't reach through to you with their narration, and that was the case for me with Beyond the Red. 

Even though I was enjoying Jae's quick-paced writing style, the slow plot development, plot, and non-connection I felt to the characters played a major role in my decision to DNF this novel. I originally thought about DNFing it after one chapter, but I wanted to try to get to know the world and the characters before making a final call. I DNFed the book at 16%. I might revisit this book in the future because of Jae's writing, but for now, I'm closing the covers on it.

Ava Jae is a writer, reader, and Photoshopper. She writes YA and NA science fiction and fantasy novels. Her debut novel, Beyond the Red, is being published by Sky Pony Press on March 1, 2016.

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