Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Tasked to watch over a young man in suspended animation, Phae, a clone, spends his life alone on an empty spaceship, focused only on the protection of his ward. Prince isn’t scheduled to wake for another twenty years, but an attack on the ship starts the automatic awakening procedure. Prince relieves Phae’s loneliness and teaches him the meaning of love. However, the mission becomes more complicated than either man was led to believe—and far more dangerous. Their destination is a world held hostage, where clones are disposable and Phae is scheduled for “recycling” when his duty is done.
I love sci-fi, and this one had an excellent premise and the potential to be a five star read for me. Very intriguing concept with some interesting and unique elements.
I enjoyed and was hooked into both of the characters. Prince/Kian’s backstory made me fully invested in him but I wish it had been more complete. I found some elements and motivations left a bit vague, but it was intriguing nonetheless. I felt Phae’s loneliness/emptiness very poignantly, to have been left alone at just nine and also, poor Blasius to have lived nearly all his years alone. At least he did have Phae for his last nine. I adored Phae’s innocence, gentleness and single-minded dedication to his duty and his Prince very sweet. But the way he thought of himself as a “just a stupid clone” or “poor stupid clone” over and over got to me. I couldn’t fathom why he thought of himself that way since he’d been born on the Ship rather than on Earth around humans who would have treated him in a manner to have caused him to think of himself that way. And he’d been raised by another clone. Had Blasius whom he thought of as a father and cared for taught him that? It wouldn’t seem likely based on other things he’d shared about Blasius’s words to him.
The story is written in present tense (not my favorite) and is in dual first person POVs, which threw me a bit as I’m used to dual POVs being in third person. And it has insta-love, which works for me in some cases and not in others. In this case, I could understand their attraction and attachment based on who they were, their past, and their circumstances… but I’d have loved it if a bit more foundation to the relationship based on more than sex and gratitude to have been laid before jumping into the years of waiting that came later on both of their sides. I mean, they were together a few short hours, then apart for many years, then together again just for a brief few minutes, then apart again for many years. It seems so very little to base all those years of dedicated love on.
The way they progressed to sex so very quickly, right after Prince had just struggled to waken from a ninety plus year cyrosleep, and while in such dire circumstance of having been hiding from aliens, and considering Prince indicated he’d not cared for clones before, been afraid of them even. A slower development of the relationship, of trust and understanding and the physical as well, would have given more depth to the story for me.
Despite all this, I still did very much enjoy this story. I feel it could have been longer, even twice as long (I love long, well-developed sci-fi stories!) as there was so much more of this world and these two amazing guys that I would have loved to have explored.
Overall, a very moving and touching story that had me close to tears at parts. Even though it covers a timespan of many years, the pacing is quick and satisfying. If you enjoy sci-fi and insta-love, then I can highly recommend this story.
Cover art by Anne Cain
ebook, 172 pages
Published October 8th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632162784 (ISBN13: 9781632162786)