Lumen is a woman from Earth (England I believe), but she has a huge problem. She's been kidnapped! By aliens no less! As the story opens, the reader is immediately thrust into Lumen's dire circumstances. So far, this hasn't been a romantic romp among the stars. Nope. Lumen's kidnapping has been horrifying and things have been very bad for her. She's been hurt and she's terrified of what will happen next. Turns out she has good reason to be afraid, her captors have come to the conclusion that she's useless and have a plan to get rid of her while being entertained at the same time. She's to be tossed to the slaves and her captors plan to get a show out of watching the slaves fight for a female. This is how Lumen meets Venomous.
Venomous isn't your typical romance story alien who's only difference is an oddly shaped tattoo or body marking. He's alien through and through and I really liked that the author was bold enough to make an alien an alien. After a "difficult" first encounter, Lumen and Venomous must learn to adjust to one another, their differences, and to the slave world on which they are captives. Venomous must struggle with how to protect Lumen from the other slaves who would steal and harm her. While the story starts on the slave planet, it becomes so much more. Several story arc emerge and I found myself thoroughly engaged.
The Good:The world building, Venomous, and last but not least Beowyn ThunderClaw!!! This author describes the smell, texture, color, and culture of these alien worlds beautifully. I was transported to galaxies far away and for me that's the fun of these types of books. The author has a free license to create, and I love it when the author does just that.
Venomous. Yes he was an alien, and at first I wasn't quite sure how the author would make him romance hero material in my eyes. Yet she did. I loved Venomous and I loved how he loved his Lumen. I was also quite pleased at the development of their feelings for one another. It wasn't love at first sight at all. Lumen feared then needed Venomous. Venomous felt a sense of duty toward Lumen. Out of this grew affection and then love. Very well done indeed!
I was also overjoyed that Lumen was a black woman. We aren't represented very often in science fiction so this was worth one star all by itself!
As far as the character Beowyn ThunderClaw, I'll just say keep an eye out for that name. You'll love this character and fortunately the next book in the series is all about him!
The Bad: Although the story was always engaging, it wasn't always in a good way. There were some things that genuinely bothered me and kept the story from being as great as it should. Because I loved how believably strong Lumen came across in the beginning of the story, I hated how silly she became as the story progressed. I think some people confuse strength and determination with being stubborn and reckless. This character slipped far to easily into the latter category. Her actions from the middle to the end were often annoying and silly.
I'm also not a big fan of female characters that every male falls in love with after only a few seconds of her time. As alien as she is to the males in this book, she has an amazing affect on them that is so not believable. Be forewarned that this ultimately turns into a F/M/M/M romance. Not that I totally dislike books with multiple partners. They aren't my favorite, but if well written and the affection seems genuine then I can get on board with it. Buttttt... the additional male partners in this book felt gratuitous to me. Especially by the time we make it to partner number three. I'm down with Venomous and the relationship between the two was more than enough for me. They were the primary and believable couple and I honestly felt Lumen could have done without the other two herself.
My Final Thoughts: Venomous was a very well written space opera. It was a great adventure with a fair share of drama. I loved that the aliens were actually alien and the author wasn't afraid to use her creative license to the fullest. Although I wish this had just been about Lumen and Venomous (and Lumen occasionally worked my nerves), I was overall very pleased with the story and the pace that it kept. I'm eagerly awaiting book #2 and I'm giving Venomous a 4 out of 5 rating.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Published: December 24, 2014