In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.
Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.
When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.
But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for . . .
I didn’t know space opera romance was a thing I needed in my life until I read this book. And what a fun blend of the two genres this is!
The main reason I loved this book is because they’re characters I can get behind, especially Ada. She’s a space princess, sure, but she never really comes off as spoilt royalty. She’s tough as nails due to her upbringing in the Consortium, where the ruling families play their brutal political games vying for power. Having left her old life behind and been on the run for a couple of years, trying to avoid a political marriage, she’s grown tough in other ways too.
Marcus Loch, on the other hand, is a somewhat typical alpha male (if you read a lot of romances, you know the type). But, the thing I love about Marcus is that he falls hard and fast for Ada. Sure he is a tough guy, and he also acts like a tough guy, but he really has a vulnerable side. He falls first! I love it when the guy falls first.
The relationship between Ada and Marcus was a fun ride. Usually the guy is the one that doesn’t want to admit their feelings, so it was refreshing to see Ada taking on this role, and it makes total sense within her character. She’s built a wall around herself due to past issues with relationships, of course she’s going to be cautious. I did roll my eyes a bit at their one major blow up, but then after that they sit down and say how important communication is in relationships and I was like ‘THANK YOU’.
Okay, so aside from the romance, this book was fun for other reasons too! Like I said, Ada is awesome. She’s smart and savvy and courageous. She doesn’t want to kill people even if they’re trying to kill her–it’s always a last resort and she mourns each life she takes. When Ada discovers the reason behind her wannabe fiance trying to force the issue of marriage, which leads to a greater problem within house politics, she sets about figuring out a plan on how to bring things to the best possible conclusion for most parties involved. She could be a master chess player with all these moves she’s making. I love stories with lots of political maneuvering, so this was quite fun for me.
This also has a lot of action in it! Right from the beginning we’re thrown into a scenario where tensions are high and action is imminent. I thought the action sequences were well done and helped keep the pace from getting bogged down. It’s a pretty fast moving book overall but there are definitely spaces where things could have gotten too slow if not for the action. And although I really loved the action keeping things going I also did appreciate the moments of respite in between.
I thought the side characters were good too, if not a little generic in some cases. Rhys felt pretty typical, but I loved Veronica. I think the author’s strength is definitely her female characters. The villains felt just a tad….villainy, but they had clear motivations behind their actions, which I loved. There’s a reason they’re acting they way they are and it makes sense, so no mustache twirling here. If I had one one other small complaint it’s that in a ‘romance’ there’s always a need to pair off all the characters and that wasn’t really avoided here, but really that’s a minor niggle of a personal preference and not a mark against the writing, per se.
Overall, I had a really fun time with this book and read it in a couple of days. I’m very much looking forward to the next book in the series! 4/5 stars.