We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre:M/M Sci Fi
If you have read the Brimstone series, and I hope you have, you know Shax is a demon prince who had to leave his home with his childhood friend, Verin. This prequel is their first adventure as a cargo ship. Since Shax is involved and he accepts the first shipment offered, they then learn politics and turf wars are in play where he knows nothing of the players, so of course nothing goes as planned, they barely make it out alive, but he does get a chance to have a bit of fun! If you have not read Brimstone and decide to read this, I hope you will read the rest of the series, since it is a favorite of mine.
The story is told from Shax’s point of view.
I would love to spend at least a day inside Angel Martinez’s head – she would likely disagree with this wish, but I do mean it. To have such an imagination and muse to be able to move from dramatic stories like Restoration, the fantasy series Aura she has written with Bellora Quinn to greek mythology themed books of the Brandywine Investigations to paranormal of the Endangered Fae series to this – paranormal fantasy? Paranormal with the demons, sci fi for it being set in space? Amazing, especially since all of them, are so well written with great characters!
The book opens with Shax trying to read the manual of the ship they are on since they seem to have no control and he does know that if they don’t figure it out, the life systems will be shut off one by one and their escape will have been for nothing! After an argument between Shax and Verin, they figure out how to change the registration, list Shax as captain, Verin as pilot and connect with the ships artificial intelligence. She is a character herself, Ivana, who does appear in the other stories – love her! She does get them going and proves to be an essential part of their crew!
Shax is a charmer of a demon, incredibly likable and loyal, even if, when necessary, he can be quite deadly (don’t mess with those he cares about). Verin, who has been around Shax for as long as he can remember, is the closest person to him, now his pilot and as the ship AI points out to him, he could just refer to him as his friend – although he is probably closer to being a bestfriend! Verin did not really question following Shax out of hell and although he loses his temper with him, they always have each other’s backs.
What does get them into trouble quite often, and it is definitely the case here, is Shax’s curiosity and attraction to shiny, pretty things – namely, the cargo they have agreed to move. The person who did the deal was very nervous, definitely not named Smith and then the three crates they get to move are not overly large but are incredibly secured. Naturally, Shax decides to open them – Verin is not surprised, but what they initially think is a cargo of unusually colored potatoes does begin the balance of their adventure.
Since this story takes place prior to Shax meeting Ness, while they are in New Bangkok and decide they should find out more about what is going on and who might want this cargo they have, Shax meets Julian at a bar. Julian turns out to know more than Shax first thought, but surprisingly and thankfully, because I liked Julian, their hookup is not the last you see of Julian.
Surprise is definitely the name of the game as well as the story, so I do not want to give too much away (not even Ivana’s last name!), but I do recommend this for fantasy fans, if you liked the Firefly series, think of Brimstone as being in a similar vein, only Mal is a demon rather than Nathan Fillion! Great pace, as already mentioned, Angel Martinez seems to have an endless imagination for locations, situations, characters and gadgets and while I only used to read some of the books under this heading, this author is always an auto-buy for me.