14 August 2014

Flux Orbit by Emily Veinglory

 Kell is a high-priced male courtesan sent to spend a month with Jorihn Parr, captain of an old space station orbiting a flux planet. He quickly finds himself facing perils on every side. A business baron who operates outside the law wants to take over the station, and when they won’t surrender he is ready to attack with state of the art battleships. The planet below hosts alien life forms who put Kell in a new body and force him to act as their spy. The lives of hundreds of innocent people, men women and children, hang in the balance.

And in the middle of the maelstrom, for the very first time, Kell finds he is falling in love.

Flux Orbit has to be one of the most interesting sci-fi romances I’ve read in a long time, particularly from the science fiction aspect of it. This review will contain some things that may be spoilerish for some readers, but I don’t really consider them spoilers because the blurb informs potential readers that “alien life forms put Kell in a new body” and this is the sci-fi aspect I found so intriguing. The idea that what humans consider a fuel source are actually sentient beings capable of far more than humans realize (things that won’t be discussed because they ARE spoilers) was utterly fascinating to me. That they were able to take Kell, who was near death, revive and reform him, and comingle with him was so intriguing.

When we first meet Kell, he is an extremely attractive courtesan that was contracted by the ship’s crew for the captain’s enjoyment – a captain who was quite entertainingly NOT pleased with the arrangement. As Kell attempted to win the captain over to his way of thinking, he began feeling things for the captain he had not experienced the entire time in his professional career and found it to be quite disturbing. I enjoyed the way in which Ms. Veinglory began to develop the relationship between Kell and Johrin, and the way in which it was so abruptly interrupted. Kell’s reappearance as Rally was a HUGE adjustment for him as his new body lacked the attractiveness of his previous form and his social skills relied largely upon his appearance. As he and the Coil work together to save the planet and Kell tries to convince the Coil that Johrin and his people are their best bet, Kell must learn how to navigate a new world.

Ms. Veinglory has written a sci-fi romance that beautifully balances the romance between two men and science fiction that is intelligent without alienating the reader by being too scientific – a hard balance in itself to strike. The relationship between Kell and Johrin and then later Rally and Johrin is touching, especially when Johrin explains to Rally why he was able to believe that Rally was indeed Kell. Flux Orbit is one of those rare books where I wish I could mark a half star and give it a 4.5, only because I’m not sure if it quite makes my re-read list (the requirement for a 5-star rating for me); but should I decide to pick it up again, I’ll give it that fifth star. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Veinglory’s writing, and would really love to see this turned into a series so that I could find out what happens to the Coil and the crew of the Apteryx.


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