Title: My Name is A'yen
Author: Rachel Leigh Smith
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Publisher: Rachel Leigh Smith
Available: Kobo, B&N, Amazon (351 pages $0.00)
They've taken everything from him. Except his name.
The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant.
Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted.
Hidden rooms, information caches and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeder's Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.
What I liked:
I adore tortured heroes, and A'yen is probably the most tortured soul I've ever encountered. Just when you feel thing can't get any worse and you see a glimmer of hope, Rachel Leigh Smith has A'yen's plight tear out your heart again. Beautifully descriptive writing and a real emotional rollercoaster. Good romantic tension, and plenty of action, mystery and intrigue. The word building was multi-layered and interesting.
What I didn't like:
For me, the action/tension toward the end dropped off a bit. Considering how hard A'yen had to fight throughout the story to be seen as an individual rather than a thing and how his inability to control his life as a slave was abused, I felt some of the conflict/danger aspect from at least one individual could have been stronger.
This was an excellent debut and a promising start to a hero-centric, potentially epic scifi romance series. Looking forward to the rest of the books!