We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Sci Fi
Review: Confuzzled. Me.
After finishing "Boundary Conditions", I'm a little lost in this mixed bag.
First time author Alex D Opal's science fiction...action-ish, gay erotica stars a bodyguard/assignment pairing. The bodyguard, Leviss, is a little bitter. He nearly died, his lover left him (years ago? many space units ago? or cycles, I dunno) and a (psychic?) alien told him to face something he hates to better himself(?) So he takes an assignment for a space ambassador named Najee. Leviss hates ambassadors because his lover left him for one.
Leviss takes out his anger on the ever-staring Najee. Najee is a quasi-enhanced human who can read minds but for some reason he tolerates Leviss. Leviss is curt and kind of a dick to him but Najee smiles knowingly and befriends him. But the staring and smiling gets to Leviss and he snaps...with his penis inside a certain ambassador after a few days (or space units). They go on an important job of ambassador-ing. There are aliens out to get Najee. And the bitter Leviss starts to claim Najee without realizing it. An assassination attempt makes Leviss realize a few things.
The confusing start is rough to muddle through. The intent seemed to be one of those stories that slowly doles out clues until the entire picture is painted. But it's not clear enough.
Also, I like science fiction but I don't speak cyber-kinetics or space-brilliance-robotics or whatever the terms are. A little explanation on different types of aliens/enhanced humans/military or contract killers would have went a long way. The explanation, if given, came too late for me. The author knew all the answers. But as the reader, I barely understood what was going on. I nearly DNF'd twice and the story took longer to read because I had to keep going back to figure out what was going on. Rough start.
Sea Guard? Leviss is a Sea Guard (bodyguard) and I only figured out his job did not mean he was traveling in sea on a planet about halfway or so in the book. Hell, I didn't even know they were in space until the zero-gravity sex scene and Leviss witnessed floating semen droplets when Najee came.
The sex? I got that LOUD and CLEAR. It wasn't the best kinky (breath play) or rough sex scenes I ever read, but the desperation in the act was nice. The frantic throwing against the wall in zero gravity, holding onto something stationary, quickly fingering to not "bleed" your partner when you thrust your cock inside because you need it NOW? Because that fucker has been making you harder than rock and you're going to give it to him because you NEED it?
Semi-public handjobs, almost cruel blowjobs?
The rest? It was chore at a good number of times to get through.
And pardon me, I mean no offense but the zi/zir - gender neutral pronouns used for Leviss' lover, it was a little confusing/jarring in the beginning while reading. At one point it looked like was the partner's name. I thought it was forgotten capitalization until around 75% when I figured what the author meant. And then I internet searched and saw the spelling was zie. So I'm unsure who's in the wrong. Something to look out/into.
A suggestion: if the story was longer, the elaborate world building might make an impact.
The world building was decent. The ideas were decent. The execution fell through. I love reticent curmudgeons who barely open up to anyone because their heart's broken. And I love know-it-all main characters that don't dish out all their secrets. I think those type of pairings make for great stories but this was flat, even rocking sex can't revive a dead fish.
Leviss is brokenhearted (even though he admits to cheating on his partner while on assignments, so his angst made no sense to me) - it showed attempted depth. Najee seemed to be depressed and submissive toward the end...another attempt. But too little, too late.
I might read this author again because there was some parts that weren't as rough and could have worked.