Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review: Beyond the Red

Beyond the Red by Ava JaeAbout the Book: 
Title: Beyond the Red
Author: Ava Jae
Pub. Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Pages: 360
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

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.

I had a very difficult time rating (and reviewing) this novel because on one hand I did like it. It wasn't a book I was completely over the moon about or anything, but still...not bad. But on the other hand, there was A LOT I didn't like. And in some ways those things outweighed the good. I think the thing that bothers me the most is the fact that this is only one book (at least as of right now). To my knowledge, there is no sequel being published, and this is something that really irritates me, but I'll get to that later on in this review.

As I said, there were several elements of this book that I enjoyed. The setting and the world-building in general were great. I actually thought everything was well explained, and I got a good sense of what the world was. The Sepharon culture is extremely well-described. They're cruelty toward humans, while terrible, was very believable and well done. I could feel the hatred leaking off the page as I was reading. I also liked the Sepharon species in general. The direction Ava Jae took with the alien species was unique and creative. Add all of this to the fact that the book actually did keep me interested/hooked to the very might be saying, Why are you only giving this 2.5 stars?? Well, let's move onto what I didn't like about the book.

First, I had several problems with the actual characters in this book. Originally, I didn't mind Kora, but as the book progressed, I became more and more frustrated with her. She is the queen, but she certainly doesn't act like it. It almost felt like in Kora's mind, she was this kick-butt, take charge queen, but in reality...she wasn't in the slightest. Her brother walks all over her, and I can't even begin to count the number of times he orders her to do something and she just does it, no questions asked. I kept waiting and waiting for her to stand up and become this awesome leader, but it never really happened. She remained very meek. On top of this Eros, who is one of the love interests (yes, there is unfortunately a love triangle), just never wowed me. I didn't necessarily feel indifferent to him, but I also wasn't in love with him. I thought he deserved much better than Kora, and I didn't get his attraction to Kora. 

The insta-love in this novel was extremely odd to me, and felt borderline unbelievable. No, I'm not a fan of insta-love, but I can get over it. However, in this novel, it was just bizarre. Kora literally orders the murder of Eros' family hours before, and he goes from seething hatred to lovey-dovey, stars-in-his-eyes love for her. It just didn't make any sense whatsoever. I get that Kora's orders were taken out of context, but still. On top of this, they become very close, very quickly. Then, there was the introduction of Serik, her betrothed. Now I actually liked Serik a great deal, but again, I felt that he deserved much better than Kora. Nevertheless, he too fell in love with her within hours of meeting her. I mean, I think these characters should really at least take the day to fall in love with someone (I know, I know...I'm crazy for thinking that). Granted, this love triangle is resolved by the end, but it wasn't that well done either.

My biggest problem with this book though was the ending. There is literally no resolution to anything except the love triangle. As I said before, as far as I know there is no sequel to this novel. And as a reader, I feel like there should have been some sort of resolution if a sequel was still up-in-the-air. While reading this book (even when I was 85-90% done with it), I kept reassuring myself that there was plenty of time for some things to be resolved. But they never were. I just wanted more. On top of this, even though the love triangle is resolved, the actual romance between the two characters isn't. They have no clue where they stand by the end of the book, and they aren't even talking to each other when it's all over. This made me so frustrated because again...some sort of conclusion, even if it was just a slight smile or hand graze or something would have made me happy. But there was literally nothing. 

Overall, I can't say that I would recommend this book simply because of this last point. If this ends up being a series, this would change my mind and I would say go ahead and check it out. But as of right now, it's probably not worth it, which is really unfortunate because this book had a lot of potential. 

Happy reading :)


1 comment:

  1. I get what you mean on liking a book, but then having a hard time reviewing it because of what you ddn't like. Too bad you didn't like parts of this one :( I've heard good things about the characters and the romance, but instalove really isn't my thing. Hope your next read is better!

    - Eli @ The Silver Words