Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Lieutenant Addison Hunt is proud to serve the Confederation even if he still feels like he’s on the outside looking in. Addison was illegally genetically modified as a child, leaving him burdened with a sense of shame. Emotionally isolated from his fellow crewmen and recovering from injuries from his last job, Addison is happy to have light duty transporting an esteemed diplomat to a peace conference.
Deveral is one of the Sacred Kin, possessing a psychic ability that his people consider a spark of the divine. Like all the Sacred Kin, he’s led a sheltered life as a temple priest, but his heightened empathic ability makes him the perfect diplomat. Nervous to leave his home, he’s curious about his new companion, Lieutenant Hunt.
Not everyone wants the diplomatic mission to succeed, and a rebel faction poses a real threat to Addison and Deveral. Finding themselves cast adrift on a “lost” colony, they’ll have to fight to stay alive.
Jana Denardo’s new LGBT science fiction novella, Modified and Sacred, is a enjoyable, imaginative story. The author has filled the novella full of fascinating elements like stolen or sold children that were then modified illegally for use by trades, businesses like mining because it was cheaper than building machines. Also aliens that, due to their ancient past as prey, have evolved skins full of chromatophores that allow bursts of color or camouflage as was needed in the past. So many things about both main characters that just grab your attention and fill your mind with questions, along with the storyline.
The plot is fast moving, along with the immediate attention to detail on the action at hand. I loved how the relationship developed between Addison and Deveral, especially after the events that happened on the ship. No spoilers here.
But what keeps this story from a higher rating is that I felt it wrapped up too quickly for as complicated a plot it it was made out to be. Far too many loose ends floating around that mission and answers we never got behind the rescue or the finalization of Deveral’s peace initiative. I also wished for more background, world building on Deveral’s species, and things that were merely hinted at. There was enough here to fill a series! A novella? Felt a little thin for all the tantalizing information and bits thrown about.
I did appreciate the HFN as that is clearly the only way this could end for this couple given the time frame. I do hope that the author can be coaxed into revisiting them and this universe in the future. There’s a story I would be first in line to read.
As for Modified and Sacred by Jana Denardo? There is still so much here to be investigated and thoroughly enjoyed by science fiction, suspense and action, and romance lovers alike. I recommend it to you all.
Cover art: Natasha Snow. While that cover is pretty and all glowy I’m not sure that it’s all that pertinent to the storyline. No globe worshipping going on here. No blobs.
Published April 29th 2019 by NineStar Press
Edition Language English