Title: Chaos Station (Chaos Station #1)
Author: Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: March 2, 2015
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Page Count: 220
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
“You’re not real. Felix Ingesson is dead.”
The war with the alien stin is over, but Felix Ingesson has given up on seeing his lover, Zander Anatolius, ever again. Zander’s military file is sealed tighter than an airlock. A former prisoner of war, Felix is attempting a much quieter life keeping his ship, the Chaos, aloft. He almost succeeds, until Zander walks on board and insists that Felix isn’t real.
A retired, broken super soldier, Zander is reeling from the aftereffects of his experimental training and wants nothing more than to disappear and wait for insanity to claim him. Then he sees footage of a friend and ally—a super soldier like him—murdering an entire security squad with her bare hands and a cold, dead look in her eyes. He never expected to find Felix, the man he’d thought dead for years, on the ship he hired to track her down.
Working with Felix to rescue his teammate is a dream come true…and a nightmare. Zander has no exit strategy that will leave Felix unscathed—or his own heart unbroken.
This book was just about spot on perfect in my humble opinion – a space opera, interesting aliens (extra points for interesting aliens!), flawed characters, good setting between the ship and space station, noteworthy world building, well thought out and executed plot, and good emotional empathy. The book pulled me in and wouldn’t let me leave – until battery on my e-reader crapped out halfway through. Darn electronics…
Chaos Station is a story about two men, friends since they were eight, lovers briefly during training, now long nine years separated by war. Felix (Flick or Fixer) was a prisoner of the Stin, abused and broken, assumed dead by most, he now fights his mental battles aboard the ship Chaos.
Zander (Zed) made promises he couldn’t keep, went covert, disobeyed orders, and is now flushed out of the military due to the enforced peace treaty but still carries the mental and physical scars of his training. He’s avoiding friends and family, ashamed at what he’s become, what he might be becoming. His reality has been altered and he’s not the man he was.
When the two meet again, they are both struggling with their emotional baggage. They both know they can’t have what they had. They both know promises can’t be kept. They know they need someone to lean on, to trust, but just can’t quite make the leap to move ahead. It’s heart-wrenching, agonizing, and spot on perfect for the characters and the book. It’s a battle of a different sort: mind vs heart, reality vs want, and unspoken promises that can’t be fulfilled.
The supporting plot to this works very well and it’s here I have one small complaint – the crew of Chaos seemed to accept Zed and his background a bit more quickly than I cared for, especially the Doctor. The Captain argued his point several times for spacing Zed, but by the end everyone considered him “family”. Going from “space him!” to “family” was a bit hasty in my opinion, but again, small complaint. It still worked.
As for the rest, Chaos Station hit all my happy buttons – a space opera with some very interesting sounding aliens and tensions. The classic transport ship that’s held together with duct tape and love. An interesting and diverse crew. Felix and Zed are just hot together and the emotional dance between the two is perfect. The authors avoided the whole tumble immediately into bed and screw like bunnies when they are reunited – Felix and Zed needed the time to wrap their heads around each other. And the wry humor sprinkled throughout the book was a nice counter point to the emotional land mines sprinkled throughout.
The ending? …Left me wanting more.
Highly recommended if you like space opera, aliens, space stations, ships that need to be kicked to work, and great character building. Heck, if you like scifi, READ THIS NOW!! Nuff said…