Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?
Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.
Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.
Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.
As both a fan of Kelly Jensen and science fiction, I was looking forward to how well the combination of the two worked out. After listening to the wonderful audio version of To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen as narrated by TJ Clark I had a definitive answer. It was everything I could have hoped for.
A detailist in her contemporary romances, that same aspect of her writing is found here and used to great advantage when building her alien worlds, their cultures, and the sciences that enable them to exist. From farming in crevasses on a hard mining world with acid rains and methane mists to beautiful city that discards its evil and its refuse in a walled off underground city beneath it, each place, location, and world, becomes fully alive here as it’s so multidimensional in every way. From the air filtration systems such as they are, the way the underground city is lighted, methods of payment and transit. Jensen has thought it all out, and clued our minds in, whether the description is lengthy or a brief mention. Nothing here to make your mind stop and thing “wait, how would that work here” because she’s thought of it.
Then with her foundations in place, we get great characters. With a horrible past history, we have poignant, suffering man in the person of Gael, and his “complication”, lonely, gentle, and competent in the person of Bran, the man who sent for a companion. As well as other secondary characters of note on the mining world. It’s Gael we first meet and it’s quite the impression. It serves to connect us indelibly to him as it opens him up in all his suffering and compassion. We see his kindness, gentleness and inability to go on and survive in the world he is living in.
The story and action moves swiftly at first, the pace of the narrative pulling us into Gael’s life and situation. Later it will smooth out to flow with the life of a farmer/miner on the edge of the galaxy. A element I enjoyed because it felt so natural, a slower life suited to life on a farm. And that was the pace of the development of Gael’s and Bran’s relationship as well. It’s more of a slow burn as they get to know one another to see if this arrangement could actually work out, as fraught with pitfalls as it was.
I really don’t want to go into too many actual plot details here because it would venture into spoiler territory and that would be a shame. There is so much here to love. All the relationship dynamics are believable and constructed in such a way that they will grab onto your heart, but slowly, just as they are working it out between them. There is suspense, and drama, and yes, some heartbreak, however, temporary, because this is a HEA story, which I deeply love.
The narrator,TJ Clark, did a wonderful job with the story. Only his ‘girlish child’s voice’ made me stumble a bit. Then I got used to that. That is a hard one to do right, especially when it’s such an important role here. But his voice made the story a captivating one and pulled me into the drama, making it hard to stop for breaks when necessary. I will definitely be listening to more books from this narrator again.
Cover By: Garrett Leigh. Love this cover, bright and filled with the sun, an important element.
Listening Length: 9 hours and 7 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Audible.com Release Date: April 4, 2019
Language: English, English