Today, the talented Annie Nicholas is paying a return visit to my site with the first book in her new Known Universe sci-fi series entitled, No Refuge. Keep reading to get a glimpse of this exciting book, along with my impressions of it, as well as learning the true definition of a space opera courtesy of Ms. Nicholas. Make sure to fill out the form for the chance to win a $50 bookstore GC too!
When I first heard the term space opera I pictured a futuristic movie with singing. Like a cross between Star Wars and Sound of Music, but the term has no relation to music. It is instead a play on the term "soap opera".
Drama, drama, drama…
Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that often emphasizes a romantic element. The stories are set mainly or entirely in outer space and usually involve advanced abilities, weapons and other technology. Often the stories come with a large dose of melodramatic adventure.
So when I say Space Opera think of TV shows like:
For books, here are my favorites:
-Alliance-Union Universe CJ Cherryh
-Foreigner series CJ Cherryh
-Dragons of Pern Anne Mccaffrey (yep, science fiction AND dragons)
-Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card
-Dune Frank Herbert
All these authors and shows influence me in my science fiction ideas. Most of my back list is paranormal romance but sci-fi has always been my first love. I have many stories filed away but hadn’t the nerve to publish them until now. (They’re my babies after all.)
No Refuge is what I’d call a cross between Firefly and Babylon 5. It’s not shiny like Star Trek. I believe the future will be filled with rust buckets and rough pioneers. I also think we’ll be out classed by the aliens we’ll meet and show that in this series.
I believe humans are tough critters and we’ll persevere.
Hunted to near extinction by an alien race called the Ko, my people have run from Earth and drifted so far among the stars we can’t remember the way back. We live everywhere, but call nowhere home. The Ko want us erased from existence and memory. They don’t even want our DNA in the space dust. Humans disguise themselves as other alien species and hide in plain sight. It’s the only way we can survive.
I believe in the myth of Earth. I’ve even discovered a bona fide book written in the dead language of my people. My man, Brody, dreams of a secret human colony. He’s searched for years, hunting any rumor we’ve run across, and finally he’s made contact. Usually, he’s the one grounding me to station and keeping my head out of the atmosphere. Time for me to return the favor…that is, if I can ditch the Ko who’ve discovered me, thanks to my incessant artifact-hunting. If we don’t make our rendezvous, and the Ko don’t kill me, Brody just might…
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
As a fan of sci-fi I was immediately caught up in this fast-paced story that laid intriguing groundwork for all future installments. With its gripping action, sensual romance, and life or death circumstances that keep you on the edge of your seat I couldn't turn the pages fast enough as we raced towards a richly deserved HEA.
As this story opens humans have become virtually extinct due to the Ko, an alien race who came to Earth to kill humans and send them scattering across the universe trying to stay hidden and live yet another day. With humans having learned to disguise themselves as other alien races we're introduced to Lucy and Brody who have been a couple since he discovered her stowed away on the ship he was working on. They're intensely devoted to each other but are scared to fully commit their bodies to each other as they don't want to bring a child into the chaos. The Ko's threat has kept them from truly living as they do nothing but work and dream of a haven talked about in whispers. Lucy's drawn to all things human, and on the day she buys a children's book life will never be the same again as she and Brody are now on the run from certain death. Fate intervenes though to give them a chance at their deepest desires if they're brave enough, and lucky enough, to grasp it.
Lucy and Brody are extremely strong-willed and immensely likable and would gladly sacrifice themselves to keep the other safe. The love between them is obvious in their subtle touches along with every look and deed and it had me rooting for them every step of the way. Brody is truly heroic in his constant care of Lucy with a deep seriousness to him that leaves you treasuring his rare smiles. Lucy is sweet and tries to see the bright side of things but carries immense guilt as everyone who's protected her has died. Their love is deeply profound and inspiring and kept me completely immersed in their outcome. Ms. Nicholas has crafted an alien world full of colorful species where it's difficult to determine friend from foe. The Ko's oppression leaves a underlying sense of rebellion in the air as the various races subtly banded together to save the protagonists and it gives hope to the future. The action-packed scenes easily draw you in as your heart pounds praying for Lucy's and Brody's escape and ultimately introduces us to a ragtag space crew looking for humans to take to safety. The leader, Captain Shay, is immensely appealing with his roguish charm and I hope to see more of him in future installments. From start to finish this story keeps you fully immersed in a gritty world where being human means death. From its pulse-pounding action sequences to sensual romance you can't help but be caught up in the outcome as the characters draw you in to their individual plights. This story may be short in length but it's strong in its premise and execution and has me clamoring for more installments in anticipation of the rebellion and the rise of humanity once again!
My rating for this is an A-
*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Annie Nicholas writes paranormal romance with a twist. She has courted vampires, hunted with shifters, and slain a dragon’s ego all with the might of her pen. Riding the wind of her imagination, she travels beyond the restraints of reality and shares them with anyone wanting to read her stories. Mother, daughter, and wife are some of the other hats she wears while hiking through the hills and dales of her adopted state of Vermont.
Annie writes for Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, and Lyrical Press.
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