Do you enjoy a spirited romance set on another world but cringe when an excess of technobabble interferes with the romance? Then you may want to check out Lionhearted’s new e-book The Alliance.
Reuel (pronounced Rule, and believe me he is aptly named) Shatar, Governor of the planet Pyrali, has a bit of a problem. It is his duty to produce a son who will follow in his footsteps and become the next leader of the Alliance. But, for some vague reason that is never satisfactorily explained, he is unable to father a child with a woman of his own species (he’s not human by the way, but he looks just like one) after being bitten by an insect. His advisor, a wise old guy named Minlin, does some research and finds an alien woman with the ability to bear his child. Reule balks when he realizes the woman is one of those outspoken, disobedient Earthlings but quickly acquiesces because his allegiance to the Alliance comes first. Being the arrogant male that he is he assumes he’ll tame her with little trouble anyway.
You can see where this is going, right?
Christa Kirklan, an earthling who is tired of the prejudice against her race, demands that her people be given a seat on the ruling council. While stating her case she gets a bit overheated, insults the mucky-mucks and ends up imprisoned and facing a charge of treason for her trouble. When handsome Governor Reuel makes a personal visit to speak with her she knows she’s in over her head. When he demands that she marry him or spend the rest of her life exiled on an asteroid she’s left with little choice and reluctantly agrees.
Thus the stage is set for a twisted marriage of convenience tale. Reuel personifies everything that Christa despises in her world. Reuel, raised in a society that believes women are born to obey men and aren’t allowed to speak unless spoken to, finds himself baffled by Christa’s continued defiance to his commands. Even more bewildering is his intense attraction to her. His species mate to produce a child, not for pleasure of it. But for some odd reason he can’t get her out of his mind and begins to miss her razor sharp tongue when he’s not around her.
The basis of the plot conflict is a bit hard to swallow. How convenient is it for the overbearing hero to be physically compatible with the only outspoken female on the planet? And why, oh why, does an insect bite affect one’s sterility? Much to my frustration, no scientific explanations were offered to answer these intriguing questions. Also, if you are looking for some descriptive world building you won’t find it here.
What you will find is pretty entertaining, though – if you don’t mind reading another “I hate you but I want you” courtship. I normally despise these types of relationships but these characters weren’t abrasive and had enough personality to entertain me. The hero is a big old stubborn Neanderthal but at least he has something most alpha male’s lack – an excuse for his behavior. He was raised in a society where women are submissive and silent and he knows of nothing else. The heroine is spirited, outspoken, stubborn, emotional, and overall a very human and likable character. The pair sizzle and their dialogue is heated with an underlying sexual spark missing from all too many romances. Their argumentative relationship does get repetitive towards the end, and rather than having the couple communicate and work through their differences the author disappointingly separates them for the last few chapters and adds in an action/danger thread to bring them together.
If you enjoy the style of the futuristic romances being printed today give this one a try. It’s light on science, heavy on relationship, has a snappy pace and despite it’s flaws, it’s better than many of the futuristic romances being published these days.