Hey guys! I'll be reviewing this book as part of Nori's SST. So, I received this book in exchange for an honest review, which doesn't impact my review in any way.
Beyond the Red by Ava Jae
Rating: 3.5 stars
Published: March 1st 2016
Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.
Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves into the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.
First of all, thank you Nori for hosting the Sunday Street Team and giving us an opportunity to review Beyond the Red!
Beyond the Red reads like a space-opera of star crossed lovers. There's blood (a whole lot of it), romance (a whole lot of that, too), and enough tension (sexual or otherwise) within this book.
In this otherworldly dystopia, Kora is the queen of an alien race that considers themselves superior to humans. As a result, humans live as nomads while aliens rule the planet. Interbreeding is taboo, but Eros, a rebel nomad, is found to be a half-human. While the rest of his tribe is slaughtered by Kora's soldiers, he's sent to her palace to work as her bodyguard.
The background/setting and creation of the world of the Sepharons (the aliens) on a distant planet was a nice, unique touch. I was trying to picture them often on Mars, because of the red cover of the book. I enjoyed learning about the Sepharons and their culture. It's usually us humans who are written as superior in books, but it's a change of pace to see the sides reversed. The brutality of it all, the enslavement and discrimination of humans, was shocking but fitting for the tone of the book.
My favorite character - the voice of reason - was Serek. The guy has to deal with a warmongering brother and assassination attempts and the torment of the dreaded love triangle. Despite it all, he remained likable and sane.
The same cannot be said of Kora and Eros. While on their own, they are badass characters who are able to fend for themselves, their romance just didn't appeal to me. It wasn't realistic, it was an insta-love. Why would anyone fall for the person who was in charge of slaughtering your entire family, your life, and making you their slave? Why would you fall for someone who is considered by the rest of your race inferior and weak right off the bat? I question this.
Sans the romance, the story was intriguing, as Kora weaved her way through political turmoil, and realizing that not everything was perfect in her kingdom. It certainly was full of deception.
My only other complaint was that there wasn't really much of a resolution with the ending. While it was a cliff-hanger of sorts, nothing was really solved. Are people just going to take Eros, this stranger, as the next ruler of Safara? What will happen to Kora and Eros now? I would like to see these answered in the sequel, hopefully.
About the Author:
Ava Jae is a writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog (http://avajae.blogspot.com/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/Ava_Jae), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AvaJae), tumblr (http://avajae.tumblr.com/), Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9011987.Ava_Jae), Instagram (https://instagram.com/ava_jae/), or YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/bookishpixie).