Reasons for Inclusion: Keene and Lexa-Blue are both bi. M/M romance. Ships and AIs use ey/em/es. Racial diversity.
Spacers Keene and Lexa-Blue, along with their sentient ship the Maverick Heart (known as Vrick to es friends) are summoned to help Keene’s lover Daevin, and land in the middle of a civil war.
As Technarch of the Brighter Light corporation, Daevin has inherited the conflict between the company’s colony state and the psychic Sotari, a people forever changed by genetic experimentation. Terrorist factions from both sides will stop at nothing to destroy each other, and the Sotari group Deathmind and company group SCI don’t care who gets in the way. Even Daevin’s symbolic marriage to the Sotari leader Elai might not be enough.
I especially loved the politics of the conflict. The leaders of both sides want peace, but their efforts are thwarted at every turn by the brutal attacks.
This book is more a techno-thriller than a romance, and I’m not complaining. There’s action and intrigue, traitors and terrorists, hackers and heroes, and all of it is full of emotion. And not just human emotion- AIs are important characters too.
The normalized diversity is just another win for this book. AIs and living ships like Vrick and are referred to with ey/em/es. Among humans, race seems to be a non-issue, as does sexuality. There’s still prejudice, but there are also people working hard to end it.
The use of slang brings you right into the story, especially in the opening scene. And even in the quiet moments, the plot keeps going, the tension rising as schemes intersect and soon Keene, Lexa-Blue, and Elai are struggling to keep the planet from all-out war.
I do wish that Vrick had gotten more screentime, but as this is the first in a series, we’ll probably get more of em in the future.
Anyone looking for an exciting, human, and diverse science fiction story should pick up Soul’s Blood as soon as possible.