Beyond the Red

Ava Jae. Skyhorse/Sky Pony, $17.99 (360p) ISBN 978-1-63450-644-1
Set on an unforgiving desert planet, Jae's debut starts from a familiar premise—as a "half-blood," Eros is both distrusted by humans and considered an abomination by the ruling Sepharon species. Meanwhile, the Sepharon queen, Kora, struggles to rule a territory where many would prefer her brother take the throne. When Eros becomes Kora's personal slave and bodyguard, a forbidden attraction develops between them—an attraction that's hard to believe, considering that Kora is responsible for the death of Eros's family. Despite the clichéd setup, Jae's smooth worldbuilding and solid pacing make this a highly readable SF romance. Furthermore, Kora and Eros, though opposites in background, share a fierce loyalty to their respective peoples and to each other. As the court intrigue ramps up and the stakes get higher, Jae engages with the brutality of her setting and doesn't spare the central characters, who suffer terrible losses. Many mysteries remain unresolved by the ending, and the future of the Kora's and Eros's romance is unclear as Jae sets up a potential sequel. Ages 14–up. Agent: Louise Fury, Bent Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 360 pages - 978-1-63450-645-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-5436-0591-4
Paperback - 380 pages - 978-1-5107-2240-8
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