Friday, March 4, 2016

{Tour Stop} BOOK REVIEW: Beyond the Red by Ava Jae + Giveaway

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Title: Beyond the Red
Series: None
Author: Ava Jae
Pages: 360
Pub Date: March 01, 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse Publishing
Book Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars



**POSSIBLE SPOILERS**


Synopsis: Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

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Let me preface this review by saying: There is no way anything I write in this review will sufficiently convey to you the epic story of Beyond the RedNothing. It is so masterfully written and so intricately woven that I will never be able to touch on just how amazing it truly is. You have to read it to understand.

And so, I will try to put my thoughts into words...

1.) The world. The WORLD. I can't even! It's gorgeous, and it's gorgeous because the author knows how to write that it is gorgeous. Safara is a planet full of deserts both red and white. It is unforgiving and it is magical. It's all powdery red sand, bone-white palaces, and technology coming from every nook and cranny. On the other hand, it's hot red suns blazing with nomad tents scattered across the desert. The alien city is described beautifully with its grand palace and sparkling white trees. The nomad settlements are described brutally in their grit and simplicity.

2.) The characters. The aliens, first of all—Sepharon. They are described as tall, tan-skinned, with scrolling black markings on their bodies—tattoo like, and differing from person to person, including queen Kora herself. Then you have the nomads. They are sometimes brutish, dirty, and thoroughly human. Then there's Eros, who represents a mixture of the two. Half-bloods are considered trash. Mixing of the races is strictly forbidden, and half-breeds are supposed to be killed immediately upon birth. Of course, they occasionally slip through the cracks, and Eros is one such case. He's hidden within a nomad camp with a human family (adoptive, of course) and little to no knowledge of his true parents. He's hard, yet soft at the same time. He is caring to a fault. He is captured by a Sepharon raiding party and brought to the royal city. This is where he meets Kora, upon her saving his life. Kora, oh Kora! She is a fierce queen, but brings a gentility to the throne that only a woman can. She is warrior, but innocent and naive in other ways. The two of them make up quite the pair.

3.) The plot and genre-bending. Yes, this book is a mish-mash of genres. It's mostly science fiction, but elements of dystopia and epic fantasy are woven into the story. I love it! It brings all of my favorite genres together into one book! The plot is this: aliens kill humans and enslave others. Humans fight back. War breaks out. Kora's place on the throne is threatened by her brother—who wants it for himself. Love blooms between our two narrators (Kora and Eros), yet Kora is also keenly aware that she and Eros can never be. So, enter Serek. Tall, dark, handsome prince. He is the second-most powerful alien on the planet. He sweeps her off her feet in a different way, creating a love triangle of sorts, but not the typical one. It is very well done and surprised me in the end. Simultaneously, Eros has a secret that could (and does) trigger one of the biggest wars to ever grace the Sepharon court. IT IS INTENSE.

4.) The romance itself. It is subtle, yet all-encompassing. I was excited for it. The most impossible love match there could be: An alien queen, and a lowly half-blood slave. Kora fights herself, and so does Eros, but in the end they both fail at trying to deny what is happening between them. This book is sexy! Almost more than what you might normally see in YA novel. I loved it. The triangular part of this romance, Serek, is also intense, but in a completely different way. Serek is intense in his romance and sincerity. I actually think he is going to be the more rooted-for love interest, and I don't disagree. He is perfect in every way. He's handsome, rich, powerful, yet sweet, romantic, and fiercely faithful. Kora has a tough decision ahead of her (provided that there is a sequel!)

5.) Beyond the Red, although a science fiction/fantasy, touches on issues anyone could relate to. Love, war, segregation, racism, homosexuality, sex, loss. I admired times a hundred that this plot was so relatable in so many ways regardless of it not being a contemporary novel. This is awesome and I love this author. 

6.) ACTION & ENDING: Oh, sweet Jesus. This book was full of action from cover to cover. LET ME TELL YOU! Edge-of-your-seat all the way. And that ending. THAT ENDING. Cliffhanger, yes, but not too much. It's enough to keep you salivating for a second book, but not to drive you absolutely mad. Gah. 

Overall, I just have nothing negative to say about this book. I just do not. It is packed with amazing characters, both good, evil, and in between. It touches on a wide range of subjects but keeps it all in-line with the plot. It's action-packed and romantic, but not overly so. The world-building is perfection. You'll love the characters and narration. You'll love the science fiction elements as well as the fantastical ones. You'll love the plot and you'll love the ending. The twists and turns the book takes will make your head spin, and in the end, you'll only want more. It is probably going to be my top book of this year (yes, I am confident saying this even when it is only Feb/March)! 

I need a sequel, and I need it now.

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About the author




Ava Jae is a writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram,

WEBSITE • GOODREADSFACEBOOKTWITTER


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Giveaway

* 10 winners will receive a finished copy of Beyond the Red
* US shipping only
a Rafflecopter giveaway