Parallel Attraction by Deidre Knight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I haven't read very much science fiction romance, but this is a good one to read to get into the genre. It was a bit slow in parts, but a very good story all the same.
I fell in love with Jared early on in this book, when he was fourteen years old, in fact. He is everything a king should be: noble, good-hearted, self-sacrificing, strong, intelligent, and of iron-willed. Yet there is also a gentleness to him, a very kind nature. It is very evident why his people and the soldiers in his regiment are so devoted to him. To me he was a worthy leader who inspired the admiration of his people. I love heroes that can be loving and kind without feeling that this destroys their ability to be a tough, strong man. That is why I adore beta heroes so much. Jared isn't a beta hero exactly. He's more of a mix of an alpha and beta, which is a great combination. He is in touch with his feelings, but also a proven warrior. Sigh! Not only that, but he is very tall, strapping, but lean, with black hair and black eyes. I like that Jared has the looks of a Southern Asiatic/Northern African, or a Native American, with deep copper-colored skin, high-cheekbones, and almond-shaped eyes. He sounded totally yummy to me (fanning myself). Ah, I just loved this guy.
Kelsey was also a great heroine. She wasn't one of those, I'll fight my love for the hero because I can't fall in love, it would make me vulnerable types. She gives Jared her heart completely, and even though he doesn't reveal everything at once, she allows her love and trust for him to lead the way. It's refreshing to see a heroine who can be womanly and loving, without having to be prickly and rigid in her sense of self-protection. And with a couple like Jared and Kelsey, it's the best union, because Jared loves her so much, he'd cut his heart out before he'd hurt her. And Kelsey would lay her life down for him, but also retains her sense of self. She had a strength to her, but also a softness, like a live oak tree, which can live for many years and endure the harsh elements, but retains its beauty. She's tall, pale-skinned, and beautiful, but natural-looking, with long, curly-red hair that Jared loved to play with. Kelsey will be a great queen, although she's bound to be confused with learning all the aspects of her husband's dual cultures. (I know I would).
I found this to be a very romantic book, even from the first pages. The love connection between Jared and Kelsey is so intense and passionate. I just sighed my way through this book. I don't think I've seen very many couples who are so in love with each other as Jared and Kelsey are. Their intimate moments were fiery and intense, and the aspects of Jared's dual nature as a King and Royal of two different races play a very important role. There a very strong fated to mated vibe in this story, so for readers who don't care for that, you might find that a turn off. As for me, I love the fated to be mated storyline, so I was a happy camper.
The path of true love doesn't run smooth, so there are some issues that need to be dealt with. Jared's people have been at war with another race bent on genocide for many years, so there is a threat to the king and his chosen lifemate that remains very evident in this story. But the main focus is on the relationship between Kelsey and Jared (which is a good thing).
The cultures introduced into this story can be a bit confusing at times, and it was a little hard to keep up with some of those aspects. But I do have to admire Ms. Knight for creating this intriguing premise, and populating it with complex characters that you become interested in. At times, I felt that the narrative ran too long, and seemed to get where it was going very slowly. It might be the fact that reading science fiction can tend to be dry for me at times. I like fantastical elements much more. It could also be the fact that Knight is a new author for me, and I have to get used to her writing style. For that reason, I couldn't give this book five stars. If the passages that were too wordy had been a little more concise, this easily could have been a five star book.
Despite the dry moments, she didn't really do the 'Star Trek' thing where the science fiction gets way too political and technical and leaves me yawning. Don't get me wrong, I am a serious science fiction movie geek and I consider myself a 'Trekkie', but I like the action to keep moving. I don't get into the sitting around and discussing political factions, philosophy of the future and the interactions between alien races, and technical stuff about how the various machines work. Just lay the foundation for the futuristic world and populate it with interesting characters, and keep the action moving, and I'm a happy sci-fi geek. I think Ms. Knight mostly succeeded with this. She had enough technical, social, and political world-building to make her world credible, but not too bogged down. Just a small issue with the long, drawn-out narratives in this book. So I am definitely signed up to continue this series. I hope to learn more about the worlds at war and their people, and to see Jared's companions, Scott, Thea, and Annika find love and to see this war end. Also I would like to see more of this great couple Jared and Kelsey, whose love story captivated me so much.
For a science fiction romance neophyte, I do recommend Parallel Attraction. I think you will enjoy it, as I did.
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