Friday, February 22, 2013

Review of Fragile Bond by Rhi Etzweilier

Sniper Sergeant Marc Staille and his trusty rifle, Mat, are on bodyguard duty at a mining operation on a backwater planet. The resource-rich valley is crawling with tawnies, the native dirt-colored predators. Huge things that hunt in packs and kill as well with tooth and claw as Marc ever has with Mat.
The rules change when a tawny uses an unexpected weapon: pheromones.
Commander Hamm Orsonna, leader of the fefa clan, is determined to chase off the invading aliens. The one he sets out to capture for intel is scrawny and hairless, not very intimidating—until it takes out his entire squad. Seasoned warriors, felled from halfway down the valley by its metal death stick.
Their sacrifice may be worth it, though. The alien male smells like he’s interested in making things right. He smells of other things too, but nobody else seems to notice. Before long, Hamm finds himself fighting off his own kind to defend the alien, who might be his people’s only hope for peace, and Hamm’s only chance for happiness.


As a fan of sci-fi I was immediately drawn to this story from page one. Human invaders plant roots on a foreign planet and immediately start destroying a humanoids way of life.  At first sharpshooter Marc thinks he's doing his honorable duty but as the story progresses he realizes the damage he's done and soon becomes more a friend than enemy to these new cat-like creatures.  He finds himself drawn to their leader Hamm and as the hormones flair between them the sexual tension amps up in a race to keep their two spaces from all-out war.

This story is action-packed with a constant sense of foreboding.  This alien world is similar to ours in many respects and with the human invasion there's a feeling of bullying and that nothing good will come out of our visit.  These feline creatures may look different than us but they're intelligent and rely on their other senses for survival.  It's these other senses that bond Hamm and Marc.  The overwhelming pheromones lock them together in endless demonstrations of hot and steamy foreplay.  These scenes are not overt but result in heavy purring for all of us and put a unique spin on the usual m/m action.

The main focus of this story is the emotional fallout of war and the actions of one man to make himself a hero.  It's the humans that end up being the bad guys and it's only through great sacrifice that true love overcomes adversity and ingrained bigotries.  Fragile Bond brings forth difficult questions with difficult answers in a vividly depicted world and is a great addition to the sci-fi family.

My rating for this is a B+

*I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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