Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Costa McQuillen has escaped from Earth, where being para-human—a Pariah—with tech empathic abilities is illegal, and marks him for extermination. Arrogant and standoffish, Costa is unable to trust anyone but is willing to risk everyone’s safety in his desperate effort to reach the planet Omoikane. His best solution, gaining passage on board the Santa Claus.
Arbor Kittering is the crew’s newest coding tech. Having spent a short time in prison for data hacking and falsifying government files, the Santa Claus is his last chance at a new start—if he can decipher the strange malfunctions plaguing the ship.
Eugene “Priest” Jones, the Santa Claus’s Head Pilot, is a bit of a scoundrel. Perpetually single, Priest is attracted to Costa and Arbor. In truth, he’d like to have both, but it’s clear even his grifting and gambling skills can’t make that happen.
Now as they all travel together, it appears Priest needs to make a choice before it’s too late as each of their lives intertwine with potentially dangerous and deadly consequences.
I didn’t realize “Priest & Pariahs” is actually part three of a series before I began reading it. It works perfectly fine as a standalone, though.
After reading the blurb, I’d hoped for a good SciFi story with potentially a MMM dynamic. Those were the completely wrong expectations. This book is mostly porn, with a whole lot of romance drama, and a bit of SciFi to spice things up. Needless to say, I was rather disappointed by that.
The setting baffled me. The Santa Claus seems to be a sex cruise, essentially. Only gay men are allowed, be it staff or passengers. And everybody’s having sex with everyone, pretty much, which is very much encouraged by the Captain. That seems a bit unrealistic, sexual and romantic relationships inevitably lead to conflicts and when you’re stuck on a spaceship for weeks on end, that really doesn’t seem like a good way to keep a ship running.
Costa was the most interesting of the three MCs. Sadly, he also got the least on-page time. He remained pretty flat and a lot of questions about his past were left unanswered.
Arbor was a bit annoying. I get that he was feeling very insecure, given his past. But it seemed over the top.
Priest was boring and horribly insensitive. I could have done without him. The book would probably have been much more interesting, had it been about Arbor and Costa.
The romance was quite rushed. I never really felt the spark between Arbor and Priest. Especially Priest gave me whiplash with his change of attraction. There’s a ton of relationship drama that frankly got old fast. I don’t have patience for this stuff.
What really bothered me were the very demeaning reactions to Arbor. I can see how he would draw a lot of attention in a world where disabilities are essentially non-existent. But calling somebody “dwarf” or “midget” is just not okay and it’s not funny either.
There was no world building to speak of. Maybe there was a bit more ground work in the previous books, but “Priest & Pariahs” was pretty much a porny romance drama set on a spaceship, with some other SciFi elements thrown in for the heck of it.
Overall, “Priest & Pariahs” just wasn’t for me. I’m still not a traditional romance reader and I need more than sex scenes and relationship woes to keep me engaged. As it is, the book left me cold and kinda “meh”.
The cover by Natasha Snow is a bit boring. The blue is pretty but I’m not a fan of covers with some random guy and nothing else.
ebook, Second Edition
Published September 24th 2018 by NineStar Press (first published July 29th 2016)
Series Centauri Survivors Second Chance Chronicles #3, Ship Logs of the Santa Claus #3