Rating: 3 🌈
It’s been a while since I read M.A. Church’s series , The Harvest Taken (2014), but I do remember liking those stories.
Which I why , aside from the terrific cover , I picked up The Harvest Young: Bound by Fate (The Next Generation Book 1) by M.A. Church.
I’m not sure that I either enjoyed this as much or remembered the other very well. Because I found I had quite a few issues with it.
Most of the universe, various species, political setups, can all be found in the previous series. You need to be familiar with those stories or you’ll be completely lost here.
There’s no attempt to fill in a new reader and frankly, there’s probably no way to convey the complicated backgrounds and histories of all the people and worlds involved.
But my issues started with the characters. The twins, who I met in the other series, are now grown. And one, Szin , is unlike his brother in looks and feels extremely insecure. He’s about to be claimed by his fated mate, who he feels inadequate to. Unlike his brother, Szin looks more like his human father than his Tah’Narian other parent.
That’s the basics. But he’s grown up with and actually loves Takeo, his childhood friend and soon to be mate. Takeo has adored and listened to him all his life. But instead of talking to him about the problems he’s feeling, this character is whining and running.
Honestly, he’s royalty. He’s surrounded by people who listen to him , constantly. Not , imo, the most relatable.
Then there’s the sex scenes. When the couple finally decide to mate, one barely a virgin and one is. It’s instantly a bondage D/s pain scene.
Ok. They’ve barely decided they’re going to be mates but let’s dive right into a D/s relationship?
Yeah that’s believable. Not that they aren’t cute together but can there at least be some semblance of time to make that reasonable?
Then while they are strolling about Takeo’s home world I came across a scene that pulls me out of the story completely.
Here’s the issue.
One thing I’m very disappointed to see in a futuristic story is that continuation of stale non environmental ideals. Here are our main characters on a hot, arid planet with highly specialized flora and fauna that they take note of. But this is what their species built.
“They continued walking but didn’t speak until they reached a several-storied, light-gray-colored building with huge windows. A lush, well-manicured green lawn surrounded it. “This is the Sa-Ka.” “Wow. Of all the things I expected, this beauty in such an arid place wasn’t in it.” “There is a sprinkler system here, that’s why it’s so green. If you like that, you’ll really like this.” Takeo led Szin down a path that led to a garden.”
— The Harvest Young: Bound by Fate (The Next Generation Book 1) by M.A. Church
Green lawns, that need a sprinkler system. I was absolutely cringing. They aren’t even human. But the author’s choices were. Outdated , environmentally destructive even in our times, but now making an appearance in a sci-fy romance novel on a desert planet far in the future.
This is so disheartening. To see water wastage (with burbling fountains) made a thing to be appreciated. American lawns, sprinkler systems. What? No mow patterns?
For me, I look to science fiction for something fresh, and if it’s a repetition of old history, then it’s because there’s a lesson to be learned. Not held up as something wonderful in the future when we should have discarded it as a tired old element that should have been eliminated then because we learned our lesson about water preservation now.
Did I finish the book? Yes. But I was looking at everything differently. How much was outdated in terms of philosophy? I was now second guessing every choice the author was making with the narrative.
So would I recommend this? Honestly I’m not sure. I guess if you’re a fan of the author, or if you want to know where the series characters go next, then sure.
But for everyone else, you can decide for yourself.
There’s other books in this series but I’m stopping here.
Half human and half Tah’Narian, Szin doesn’t fit with either race. His appearance is mainly human, but he’s able to have a young. Unfortunately, that’s his only Tah’Narian characteristic. He’s smaller and weaker than other young. Szin’s eighteenth birthday has passed and time’s running out. He has to stop his childhood friend, Takeo, from making the worst mistake of his life: claiming Szin as a mate. Takeo deserves an equal who’s as fierce as he is, something Szin most certainly is not. Since before Takeo was born, he’s known Szin was his. Nothing and no one, not even Szin, is going to stand in the way of claiming his mate. He understands Szin feels he isn’t good enough, and he’ll do anything to convince Szin otherwise. Including taking drastic measures to ensure his mate listens. Takeo is the ultimate blend of human, Tah’Narian, and Onfrevian DNA. He’s pure predator, and his sights are set on his mate.