Dalí Tamareia has everything—a young family and a promising career as an Ambassador in the Sol Fed Diplomatic Corps. Dalí’s path as a peacemaker seems clear, but when their loved ones are killed in a terrorist attack, grief sends the genderfluid changeling into a spiral of self-destruction.
Fragile Sol Fed balances on the brink of war with a plundering alien race. Their skills with galactic relations are desperately needed to broker a protective alliance, but in mourning, Dalí no longer cares, seeking oblivion at the bottom of a bottle, in the arms of a faceless lover, or at the end of a knife.
The New Puritan Movement is rising to power within the government, preaching strict genetic counseling and galactic isolation to ensure survival of the endangered human race. Third gender citizens like Dalí don’t fit the mold of this perfect plan, and the NPM will stop at nothing to make their vision become reality. When Dalí stumbles into a plot threatening changelings like them, a shadow organization called the Penumbra recruits them for a rescue mission full of danger, sex, and intrigue, giving Dalí purpose again.
Risky liaisons with a sexy, charismatic pirate lord could be Dalí’s undoing—and the only way to prevent another deadly act of domestic terrorism.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
This book. Wow.
Y'all know by now that I am picky AF about reading. I work hard at my craft (both the writing part and the editing part) so when I want to stand on top of a rooftop and jump up and down shouting BUY THIS BOOK!?
You know it really impressed me.
1st. Genderfluid & third gender Main Character(MC). Can I just say I want to be like Dalí and leave it at that? No? Well. I adore how Dalí could just be their neutral self or more male presenting or more female depending on need or desire. It's just fantastic and handled so beautifully that it speaks to me on my deepest non-binary levels. It's so gorgeous. I needed this book and didn't know I needed it until I read it.
2nd. Princess Bride references. Anyone who loves one of my fav movies this much is worth reading. Anything else is inconceivable. I laughed so hard at some of the references. The author made it believable within the story line of a futuristic space opera too.
3rd. Pacing. I think maybe four books have kept me up past my bedtime in 2017. This is number four and ugh, I dropped my tablet on my face so many times I actually lost count. I really am going to break my nose (again) one of these days.
4th. Bisexual Representation!!! On PAGE. And it's not a story of angst or acceptance or of finding oneself. Those are great stories, but Dalí is Bi, already, and it's normal and beautiful and perfect. I adore it.
5th. Worldbuilding and awesome characters. I really loved the different alien races, and bemoaned the fact that I can't draw well enough to capture them all so I can do fan-art. (I really wish I could draw) the world is believably futuristic and could so easily come out of where we are now.
6th. Dalí is mixed-race. I'm mixed race, I've rarely seen it in fiction (I can count on the fingers of one hand things I've read that aren't my own writing with mixed-race characters.) I did kinda cringe at the one use of 'almond-eyed' but it's commonly used and it didn't ruin the experience for me.
Basically, just go buy this book and read it. I loved it so much and I really hope there's more to come with these characters.
Readability: 5/5 I stayed up until 5am when I had to work the next day. I kept saying to myself... just get to a stopping place, then stop for the night. EVERY time I thought I'd gotten to a stopping place, another plot twist smacked me in the face and I HAD TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED! Arcs: 5/5 I did feel a little sad about how things went between Dalí and their later relationship in the story, but it works so perfectly for the book that there's really no other way it could've gone. The character arcs, friendship (you so rarely see friendship!) and story arcs are all well done.
Craft: 5/5 (I need more stars) I caught three errors through the whole book. One doubled word, two typos. Two instances of passive voice that I think were intentional for cadence. It's freaking excellent and one of those books I'm so happy to read because I can JUST READ. My editor brain stayed asleep. It's such a gift to have that these days.
Go, buy, do the thing.
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