I have been on a sci-fi kick lately and was intrigued when I stumbled across this shorter story that is part of the Solitary Travelers collection. I think the biggest surprise was that the hero is asexual. I've read books with secondary characters who are asexual, but this was the first mc for me. I found the story a delight for the ability to build a world, a setting, a situation, and characters with the beginnings of a relationship all in the short amount of page time this book had.
The story opens with Kara, a young woman living on a backwater mining planet where the the conditions and life are hard. Most people grub their lives away and barely exist with no hope for anything different. Kara works at a dive bar fending off disgusting men and trying to support her demanding, abusive mother on the meager earnings, but she dreams of somehow getting off world and seeing what is out there.
Into Kara's bleak life comes one of the unsettling and alien looking hybrid humans from Haven another world. Sarit has come to fix something for the mining company. People think of Sarit's kind as less than human and treat him with suspicion and hostility. Kara just sees a kind, gentle man who has lived the life amongst the stars she dreams about, but just by acknowledging, being a friend, and helping Sarit, she stirs the ire of those around her.
Circumstances become dire for both Sarit and Kara and she has a choice to make.
Alright, this was a well-written story for all that it's very short. I enjoyed Kara's narrative voice and being there with her as she shows her toughness, but also her unique acceptance for someone different. And it is only in a painful, innocent moment that she learns just how different. Sarit's physical traits and alien culture are easy for her to accept and value. But it goes beyond that. She connected with him immediately and he makes her feel things that no one else has. Their friendship deepens, but she would like more. Can Kara accept and have a relationship with someone who doesn't feel or want sexual need?
Yes, that is the surprise twist. This is where I would have loved to see this story expanded and go beyond where the story ended open in a happy for now. Sarit is lonely, but that is not entirely by his own choice. His race makes him hated and reviled among 'normal' humans, but his sexual orientation makes most people including his own move on and find someone else. He is happy, content, and whole just as he is. Sarit doesn't feel like he is missing out and it bothers him that others see him as broken and needing fixing or needing a sexual relationship to validate him. Kara has never encountered anyone like Sarit so she has natural learning moments. She has never stopped to think if a person can truly love and be loved without physical intimacy. Again, I do wish that this could have been expanded to explore that with Kara and Sarit.
Sarit is a techie and is hired by private corporations to travel the galaxy and do his work. He likes his vagabond life, but yearns for a companion to share this life with him. He is gentle, caring, and protective and just what Kara needs after the rough, abusive handling she got from her mother and the men of her world. He sees Kara's strengths and potential and not just a low-educated hick. And again, I find myself wishing to explore further adventures with Sarit and Kara.
So, this was a fast read, but it was written well and offered a solid story, setting, and engaging characters. The romance will not be for everyone as it is obviously non-traditional, but I loved experiencing it and would recommend it for those who are open to exploring a romance with an asexual character or those who already appreciate these hard to find stories.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2101 KB
- Print Length: 53 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01D1P5HXA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,161,871 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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