Release Date: May 10, 2016
Mark Denaltieri is an ex-soldier who has a history with the Empress of the Outlier planet. When she asks him to rescue his first love Princess Alessandra from kidnappers, he finds himself unable to deny her request. Alessandra’s grandmother told her that Mark was dead so when he appears in the home where she’s held is under attack, she’s not sure if the person trying to trick her is worse than what waits outside. While running from a man that wants to use Alessandra to land a throne, the duo finds themselves entrusted with a strange gift that takes them to another world where Alessandra is mistaken for the legendary Lady of the Star Wind. Can they find a way to survive together and if they do, will they ever be able to bear being apart?
The author, Veronica Scott, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
Readers of this blog will know that Veronica Scott is one of my favorite authors. Her historical and science fiction novels are well thought out and executed, taking us to specifically set worlds with a directed path from the first page. Lady of the Star Wind is a very different kind of novel. Readers are thrust into the vastness of the universe without any real idea of where the story will end. Lets be real, this is a romance, so we have a pretty good idea of what will happen with Mark and Sandy. But where they land is in limbo? Lady of the Star Wind is a combination of historical feel with science fiction characters and set and I love it.
That Mark and Sandy had a steamy romance and then a 20-year absence from each others lives, adds a level of complexity that, and it breaks my heart to say this, at time weighs the story down. They are ponderous and remind me of the shows “Reign,” for example. Bash played by Torrence Coombs spends 90% of the dialogue in his scenes recapping what has come before back to the time of Christ—an exaggeration, of course, but not by much, where the characters constantly over explained. History between the characters is infused in every line. Mark assumes he knows Sandy and vice versa when they have been apart from the lifetime of a legal adult and then some. Sandy has a bag that she won’t leave behind and Mark doesn’t question; rather he assumes she’s a feel-good abuser when she pulls some pain blockers out of her hat to help him through a tough time. They simply don’t have that base, which is fine in the context of a story, but becomes the opportunity for an information dump.
The characters in Lady of the Star Wind are, as usual, beautifully drawn. Sandy is thrust into a situation in which she is a temporary damsel in distress but that role is very temporary. She is not a shrinking violet. Scott writes powerful women and while Sandy may not be the most She-Ra of the bunch, she is wonderfully able to hold her own.
Mark is Scott’s shining star in Lady of the Star Wind. The start of her novel reads like the best of Barry Eisler’s John Rain as he stalks the location in which Sandy is held and plans her rescue. When circumstances up the timetable, he shows us perhaps more than any other character in Scott’s pantheon of male goodness that he is a practiced professional, able to think on his feet. The action in Lady of the Star Wind is fast paced and perfectly balanced with the fantasy aspects of the story. The grand quest aspect needs a character as hard edged as Mark with the counterpoint faith of the people for whom they seek to accomplish the grand goal.
There’s a lot going on in Lady of the Star Wind. Scott’s crossover of worlds leads this reader to believe that we will be going back. Scott always puts a lot of work into her worlds but this one is just too good for a one-shot. There’s some magic in the novels that could be fodder for endless future works of fiction.
Lady of the Star Wind is a wonderful read. If you’re looking for something fast and fun, pick it up today.
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For more information Veronica Scott and her work, visit her website. You can connect with her on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @VScotttheauthor.
Series readers can track “The Sectors” and “Gods of Egypt” series on FictFact.