Book 4 for the SFR Challenge

From the Ashes by Maree Anderson

4 Stars

I received this free from the publisher for review.

I enjoyed this Science Fiction Romance. It hits the high points of what I consider the necessary criteria for Sci Fi Romance.

First good world building. I could visualize the settings in which the action took place. There were two planets involved in addition to the ships. The first planet was a desert planet. The description was clear and the dangers were clearly described and pertained to the story. The populated planet where the majority of the story took place was easy to visualize. It was a hedonistic pleasure planet and the characters actions, either in accordance with the mores of the society or contrary to custom, caused them to either get along in the place or have problems. The cultural mores of the planet were clearly shown in the actions of the characters not just told to the reader.

Secondly the romance was well done. The hero and heroine spent enough time in each others presence for real emotions to form. They grew to know and depend on each other. They didn’t just hop in the sack arbitrarily. They did spend a large portion of time in the middle of the book apart but struggling to get back to each other. I would have preferred that they hadn’t been apart but that is a personal preference and doesn’t mean that that part of the story was bad or unnecessary. Just not the way I would have preferred it. But I didn’t write it did I? 🙂 The emotions seemed real and there was some pathos and sacrifice involved.

Third – Characterizations in general for all major characters where clear and well motivated. The hero and heroine both were solid characters who grew over the course of the story. The secondary characters were clearly differentiated and were true to their stated motivations. The heroine was a kick butt kind of girl. She was tech savvy and could defend herself. When things got screwed up, she came up with a plan and acted on it. He was coming from a very different place and had to grow from being a slave to learning to be his own person. He seemed very three dimensional and real.

Fourth – The plot made sense. There was a clear beginning middle and end. Actions taken had logical consequences. There was a lot going on and much of it was fun. Some of it was sad and a lot of it was tense. Not a one note book at all.

These final two thing are not common to all SFR but were pertinent here.

Alieness and sex scenes.

There were some aliens but most of the characters were human or mutated humans. Humans had come from Earth so long ago that Earth was considered a silly legend and those who believed in it were scorned. Our heroine was unmutated and was a believer in Earth. The hero was from a planet of mutated beings who had been designed as sex slaves and they had a second set of genitalia. Only a man was described though so I don’t know what the women from that planet might have had. He was well written and the whole Phoenix aspect was new and interesting and really had a lot to do with the plot.

The sex scenes were not gratuitous. There were maybe 3 or 4 and only one that was completed as it were. Since he was born as a sex slave, that aspect of the story was pertinent but most of it was about what that meant to them in their personal relationship. I will say however that it didn’t seem really necessary that he have two penises. I guess it just illustrated that he was mutated to be a sex slave. An outward symbol of the inner purpose of his race. It did seem like it might be a little tedious to have to do both ‘ahem’ entrances every time you wanted a little nooky.

The writing in general was good. The sentences flowed and I didn’t notice any annoying word choices etc. There were some good quotes (example below) and it was very readable overall.

“If he found Calista hurt or damaged in any way, Asher would go after Nate and make him regret the day his father fucked his mother and inflicted their son upon the universe.”


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