Beyond the Red by Ava Jae
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After a few months of following Ava Jae on Twitter, I've decided, like with Elliot Wake, that it was about time I read her book. Like with Wake's books, I had to special order this one from another library - of course mine wouldn't have this one.
That is a massive, crying shame.
Beyond the Red deftly blends YA fantasy with space opera like no other Game of Star Wars, Star Thrones mashup since Red Rising. It's set in a rich, lovely Arab-esque world (the local language sounded a lot like Arabic in my head - or, even better, Maltese, especially with the way the letter "j" was pronounced like "y") with more than a trace of Vulcan (desert setting, one of the heroes being a half-human hybrid with strange-colored blood compared to humans).
The story's propelled by the relationship between a young queen and a rebel taken as her slave. It starts out adversarial, but the sparks fly thick and fast. And you thought it wasn't fast-paced enough...but this is one of the best, most shippable romances I've seen in quite some time.
I mean, damn. Science fantasy never looked so good.
I can't wait to read the next two books - but I really, really hope my library gets copies of this series ASAP. :D
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