Title: Treacherous Sun
Author: Jade Archer
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M Sci-Fi/Futuristic, Space Travel
Length: Short Novel (35k words)
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Cole
Review Summary: This first book of a new series by Jade Archer about two races, Aenjels and Deamons, forced to cooperate by traveling through space to save their races from extinction was a good story, but lost me in several places by it’s execution.
Book one in The Nu Hayven Chronicles Series
Mykel hates Lusaffar. Lusaffar hates Mykel. Which is as it should be. The way it’s always been between Aenjels and Deamonds. So why can’t they keep their hands off one another?
When Orison’s sun mysteriously began to decay, the Intergalactic Council built a habitat ark to rescue the survivors. But it came at a price. Now Aenjels and Deamonds not only have to learn to live together aboard The Nu Hayven, they have to form the first Intergalactic Emergency Response and Peacekeeping Force. The only trouble is the two species have been at each other’s throats for centuries!
Mykel leads what’s left of the Aenjel population. He’s homesick and heartbroken. He’s also going to kick some serious Deamond hindquarters if they threaten his people! Unfortunately, the biggest threat to Mykel’s sanity is the Deamond’s gorgeous leader, Lusaffar!
Lusaffar has his own personal issues with Aenjels, but he’s not above relieving a little tension with their leader, Mykel. If only the great pretentious pigeon wasn’t burrowing under his skin and stirring up all sorts of disturbing things…like feelings!
But even if these two stubborn males can overcome their prejudices, can the two most unlikely lovers in the universe survive a murderous saboteur in their midst?
The Nu Hayven is a command and transport ship currently ferrying two races, Aenjels and Deamonds, to their new home of Morn after their home planet was destroyed by a supernova. The races have been opposed for hundreds of years, sometimes with outright hostility and other times by forcing their races to isolate themselves so as not to provoke unnecessary tensions. Aside from the outright hostility bred into each of their races for the other, the forced separation has bred ignorance as to each race’s way of life. All they seem to know of each other are the masks they wear to antagonize their enemies. Needless to say, both groups being forced into co-habitation for the duration of their stay is causing no end of grief to each race’s commander, Mykel (Aenjels) and Lusaffar (Deamons). This is their last chance at survival, however, and they need to do everything they can to assimilate their people in order to stay in the good graces of the Intergalactic Council, the governmental organization that has allowed them passage in order to save their races from extinction.
Mykel and Lusaffar know that they must find a way to work together in order to set an example for their respective groups, but it is very difficult. Besides the unease of being attracted to another of the race they despise, they are both unwavering alphas (though IMO Mykel is more of a beta that wears alpha stripes), though they might show it differently (Lusaffar with aggression and Mykel with cunning). Still, they must come to some sort of reconciliation, because there is more than one person on the ship who has laid a trap for them, and whether they mean them harm or are trying to manipulate them, the only way the races will make it to their new home without killing one another will be to band together.
I will admit that I had a difficult time at the start of this book. I was thrown by the names (and I’m sure you can see the connection) — Mykel, Yoeseph, and Gayebreel for the Aenjels, and Lusaffar, Azrayle, and Baylelle (Belial) for the Deamons. They are somewhat loosely based on the actual angels, but since those characterizations vary even within canon, they seemed to be influenced more by the creation of these groups of people from an alien planet. Still, in my mind I kept wondering what these races actually had to do with the various religious mythologies of ours. Or, considering that we’re going by these as fact, how these are two different races if they are supposed to come from the same race of beings. We never do get the history of the races and how they came to be enemies, so I let it go and tried to see it as a tool the author used to show the distance between the Aenjels and Deamons.
After that point, I did enjoy the story. I liked Mykel and Lusaffar as characters. The opposites attract theory is here in abundance, which isn’t a favorite of mine. Still, it works for a story because their relationship is an example of the intermingling of their races. There is a surprisingly little amount of sex in this book for a story that involves a demon with a frisky tail (at least in my reading experience!), but it was replaced with quite a bit of building sexual tension, which I liked. This tension is the way that Mykel shows Lusaffar that he needs to be taken seriously, as a co-commander and a partner (no matter how many times Lusaffar calls him “Pigeon” to get a rise out of him), and I admired Mykel for not being a weakling when not in public display.
This is the first of a series, with more couples to come (I can already spot two), so there might be quite a bit more world-building in the future to satisfy me. I hope so, because I wanted to understand these races better, and through them the characters. I had one other difficulty with the book, which might be of my own opinion, but I’ll share it since it might bother others as well. There were several instances when a particular detail, object, or piece of culture popped up and the action or dialogue would pause for exposition. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Not only am I pulled out of the text, but I wonder why, if this information is important or the author knows I’m going to read it at a later date, there isn’t a previous mention dropped in earlier? Unfortunately that happened several times by my count and, as a result it made the details seem less important than they should be.
I have read one other Jade Archer book previously (Sandpipers’ Secrets), and I must say that I enjoyed that book more. It could be a matter of sub-genre. However, I would still recommend this book. If you’re a fan of the author, love angel/demon stories, or happen to really be interested in the space setting, I’d give this a try. Otherwise, this book probably isn’t for you.