Rating: 4 stars out of 5
When technomancer Quillian Defote crash-lands on remote planet Marutuk, he has limited time to repair his ship and get off world. If he fails, he’ll forfeit his position as professor of mechanical transmutation at the prestigious Ivy Arcanarium and ruin his employment prospects in yet another sector.
Hunter, a cyborg guarding a junkyard that holds what Quill needs, is charmed by the wayward mage and wants to help him. But Hunter is bound by honor to dutifully guard his mistress and her possessions, no matter how cruelly she treats him.
Together Quill and Hunter stand a chance of starting a new life together if carnivorous wildlife, a violent necromancer, and stubborn pride don’t keep them apart.
For the first bit, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this story. It took me a while to get into it and begin to care about the characters and fully understand all that was going on. However, that changed for me at the thirty percent or so mark.
Really excellent world-building especially for such a short novella. It’s actually science fiction, but for some reason it almost reads like outer space steampunk sorta. This world is intricate and has a TON of potential, and I wish this story had been longer in order to explore more and really do it justice.
However, even in this short length, we get lots of interesting creatures, magic, computer tech, cyborgs, just all sorts of fun stuff. There was a ton of potential, but I couldn’t quite give it five stars because I felt it ended too soon and could have been filled out a lot more. There are so many ideas, so much going on in this, it could easily have been twice as long I think. As it was, it felt rather rushed due to the length. I found myself longing for more sensuousness, more feels, more UST maybe. But that is just me, a personal taste thing maybe.
Quill is a great character. I enjoyed the type of mage he is… junk mage is a great title. I enjoyed Quill’s rather laid-back attitude. He is nothing like your typical hero. In fact, it seems he’s been rather a screw up in the past due to his attitude. I like how he cared about everyone else even when he was in danger of losing his job and maybe even his life on that strange planet. Despite his predicament, he cared about the dangerous little narl… and the dangerous cyborg with the gun… and even the evil mage who tried to kill them.
Hunter the cyborg was also a great character, and I wanted to know more about him than we were given. Adored how touched he was by the gift of the ereader, his love for books resonated with me. And then when he immediately found the m/m erotica, that was great!
Although there could easily have been a lot of angst in this, there was very little. This didn’t come across as a sweet, flowery romance, neither was it a smoking hot erotic read–there was actually no sex. It was more an imaginative, action-packed story of two men with good hearts finding each other… and then your imagination has to take it from there. Unless there ends up being sequel. Which would be good, because I could totally see this taking off as a series. Plenty of potential.
And I must mention the hideous narls (bone sucking creatures!). Junior was great. I rather wondered what was going on with him though, like why was he different that the others? Why did he need Quill’s help at one point from a gang of other narls and then turn and face a gang of them to save another smaller narl later on? What had changed? Regardless, the narls were cool. And the thing with the eyes and the goggles, oh my. Loved that.
The cover is nice but I think it may be part of why this read as steampunk to me even though it’s sci-fi. The cover rather screams steampunk for me.
ebook, 49 pages
Published July 4th 2016 by NineStar Press