Cover Design: Nastasha Snow
Length: 65,000 words approx.
The galaxy's a dangerous place. Best not to travel it alone.
It's been over a century since the AIs rose up and attacked, driving humans from Earth and leaving them scattered across the galaxy. Humanity survives, but always fearful of the technology that allows them travel among the stars, never knowing when it may turn against them once more.
An interstellar fugitive.
For Jaime Bashir, born with the ability to communicate telepathically with computers, his gifts are more of a curse. They also make him a target. On the run, he finds himself among a starship crew, one transporting a mysterious cargo. Even more intriguing is Rylan, the muscled guard watching his every move. Jaime has no reason to trust him, but nowhere else to turn.
A disgraced ex-soldier.
Rylan Slate is looking to leave his past behind. Joining a crew of smugglers is one way to do it. But capturing Jaime is both an opportunity and a danger. He starts out as a prisoner, but then becomes something more, testing loyalties in ways Rylan never expected. Will regaining his honor mean betraying Jaime?
This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and it will surely not be the last. For this story, think Firefly mixed with a bit of Terminator, with the added bonus of M/M romance woven in. With a space crew of smugglers in a world holding itself together after the artificial intelligence (AI) in all its machines took over and annihilated most of the human population, this book immediately dragged me right in—and I certainly did not want to put this one down. I really liked the concept behind the story with Jaime’s abilities and thought it gave a fresh look at the genre (at least for me, I don’t get to read sci-fi too often).
There’s a lot about the crew and their ship that very closely aligns with Firefly, but is not a copy. Especially when you throw in the fact that Jaime can communicate with and to a large extent control AI and anything computer-ish. The fact that he can do this makes him an abomination to many, though I interpret it more as people being afraid of him—after all, he can do what he does to the very technology that almost wiped humans from existence…and that makes him powerful. Rylan, the ex-soldier and crew member who found Jaime, has his secrets—ones he certainly feels guilty holding on to. I thought his character went through the most growth in this story, some of which can be attributed to Jaime’s effect on him.
This book was a wild ride all the way through, with no shortage of action and suspense. There’s a good dose of humor as well, thanks in large part to the ship’s captain. There’s more to what’s going on than meets the eye, and you’ll find more than one twist along the way. Just when you think things might slow down, they’re turned on their head again. And the romance part? Things between Rylan and Jaime aren’t rushed, and once things between them get physical the heat index really spikes. I’ll tease you too by saying Jaime’s abilities get used there in a most interesting way ;-)
I really enjoyed the world the author created here, and there’s certainly an abundance of room for many more stories in this setting. I definitely am hoping there’s a lot more to come—more of Rylan and Jaime, but also just more in this world in general no matter who the main characters might be. Machine Metal Magic gets the full 5 stars from me (hey, it even prompted me to break out my Firefly DVDs for a rewatch session), and if you’re a fan of science fiction romance that tells an exciting story without getting too outrageous, you’ve found it here. The fact that the author could balance the constant action and suspense with the relationship development while still taking me on such a great adventure speaks volumes of her writing ability.
This story gives readers excitement, action, intrigue and has Rylan and Jaime getting hot and steamy, all in the midst of a creative sci-fi plot that will have you glued to the pages. This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.
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