The Queen's Gambit The Queen's Gambit by
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on November 20, 2017
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four-stars

When the Quint Confederacy and the Kos Empire went to war—again—young Queen Samara wisely kept her Rogue Coalition out of the conflict. But staying neutral in a galactic war doesn’t pay the bills, not when both sides refuse to trade with neutral sectors.

With her people on the brink of starvation, Samara hatches a daring plan to snatch the kidnapped Kos Emperor from the Quint mercenaries holding him. The Kos Empire will pay a fortune for their emperor’s return, enough to feed the Coalition’s citizens while they wait for the return to a begrudging peace.

But when her plan goes sideways, Samara finds herself evading Quint mercenaries with the very man she intends to capture. And the more time she spends with Valentin Kos, the more she realizes that he’s not the coldly indifferent villain she imagined. Torn between duty and desire, Samara must decide if saving her people is worth giving up the one thing she’s always wanted.

After I read the Sci Fi Romance Polaris Rising, I dove right back in and read it again. I wanted more! Not just of that world, but of that author’s writing. Luckily Jessie Mihalik has another book out. It’s a novella that she serialized on her website, but is now complete. I really like this author’s voice and style. I expect great things from her.

It starts out with a wild rescue mission that quickly turns to an escape mission. However the man she rescues is the emperor of a very rich people. Her people are the refugees of the war going on, and they are starving. Her idea is that she can ransom him back to his people and use that money to feed her people. But things don’t go that easily. And the emperor is no easy target.

But the two of them build up a fragile trust, and during this, a mutual enemy attacks. They each get to see what the other is made of, and I feel it helps cement their relationship. She’s a fighter, and she’s protecting him for a good portion of it! But he’s no slouch either, oh no. This guy can take care of business. And when they work together, you can see how good they’ll be.

I loved that they got to know each other over a longer period of time than just the escape/rescue/ransom part. They may be attracted to each other from the first, but this is no insta-lust story. They spent weeks speaking daily and it’s adorable. They become friends and I loved it.

I also loved that ending, but hate that I have to wait for more. That’s the problem with a debut author, you know? No extensive backlist! Even if you don’t typically read Sci Fi Romance, or Space Opera, I think you’ll enjoy this author. If she’s good enough that even I want more? Then you know she’s good!

 

four-stars