Author: Lyn Gala
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Publisher & Buy Link: Loose Id
Genre: M/M S/F Romance / Adventure
Length: Long Novel
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: While inspired by the low IQ high muscle tone character type Jayne from ‘Firefly’, Jacqs is very much his own man and stars in a fabulous fighting and sexing space epic with real heart.
Blurb: Corporal Jacqs Glebov is a simple soldier who wants a bunk, decent food and the company of other battle-hardened men and women who understand the realities of fighting. Instead he’s stuck patrolling a remote corner of the border with cadets straight out of boot camp. They don’t understand him, and he sure doesn’t have an ounce of respect for them.
After a field promotion, Earth sends Commander Zeke Waters to the Candiru for some practical experience in a leadership role. Instead, Zeke falls in lust with the adamantly heterosexual Jacqs. The way Jacqs fights and the way he sees the world draws Zeke closer, even if common sense tells him to walk away.
Even if they can find a way to find to reconcile their sexual differences, they are both still soldiers. The war will eventually take them away from each other unless they can find a way to escape the rules that have defined their lives.
The dedication at the beginning of this book explains where the inspiration for the story came from. Indeed, the first three chapters are part of the Goodreads M/M Romance group’s amazing ‘ Love Has No Boundaries ‘ anthology. The prompt for this particular outstanding story was....’….space opera treatment of someone like Jayne’s self realisation… ‘. Jayne is a character from Josh Whedon’s amazing cult television S/F series Firefly. Although he eventually develops nicely from being Thug 1, Jayne is not the hero. In comparison Lyn Gala’s Jacqs is the gorgeous and misunderstood main man. We are lucky enough to get to know Jacqs’ beautifully imagined and developed personality very well. There is an intimate depth to this affectionate portrait of a man who behaves unexpectedly and against his perceived type. This wrong footing is always very enjoyable.
Usually in trouble with authority, regarded by the inexperienced crew on the run down space ship as a man of big muscles and little brain, Jacqs’ bar fight meeting with Zeke dramatically changes the status quo. Zeke is an experienced and scarred fighter in the weary long standing human against ‘bats’ space war but new to being an officer. His very physical attraction to enthusiastically heterosexual Jacqs is developed gradually with humour, violence and other surprising qualities including tenderness. Jacqs’ internal voice as he responds to this is endearingly entertaining. His confused thoughts with their own distinct style dominated the book.
Many of Jacqs’ problems are the result of a harsh childhood, he has never learnt about the intricacies of personal interaction and is socially ignorant. He is tone deaf to a social nuance. This gives him particular problems with his position in a small claustrophobic group. In this society people not only register their sexuality to avoid misunderstandings, but it is defined far more expansively. There are twenty two sexual definitions described in the glossary at the back of the book for easy reference. Given that Jacqs does not really grasp these meanings, when horny he has managed to vigorously offend people on a regular basis. The bored space ship crew seem to spend a lot of time contemplating their and everyone else’s sexuality, which while revealing the importance of this concept in their society, reminded me adversely of young adults madly changing their relationship status’ on Facebook. Zeke’s efforts to remotivate and strengthen the struggling crew added to our growing familiarity with the group and the problems they will face in battle. We also see them very much in relation to Jacqs’ straightforward values – how hard do they work and how well do they fight.
I really loved that the first part of the book set up the relationship- one heavy on fighting and fucking – but that later on, the conflict came from outside action and not overwrought internal emotional manipulations. They are standing together in battle against the real threats posed by the circumstances of a hellish war. Much of the excellent space empire building detail comes out as a by product of military explanation.The action elements of the story are vivid, very effective visually and emotionally. For all that this could be described as a space opera there is loss and hurt. The scale of our guy’s involvement felt very realistic. There is outstanding heroism by both main characters but the form it takes is always in character and never felt unreal or thoughtless. What they risk is very much part of the emotional resonance of the book. I believed in these characters. The ending which completely surprised me reinforces Jacqs’ personality in a peculiarly tough yet satisfying way. A book I didn’t want to leave.