Title: Iron Admiral: Conspiracy (Ptorix Empire #1)
Author: Greta van der Rol
Genre: Space Opera
Available: Amazon $0.00 (Kindle) 207 pages
Politics. Hatred. Star systems on the brink of war. A species under threat of extinction from a deadly virus.
Ex-Admiral Chaka Saahren goes undercover to discover the truth. Systems Engineer, Allysha Marten, takes one last job to rid her of debts and her cheating husband. On Tisyphor, deadly secrets about the past explode, as Allysha and the undercover agent scramble to prevent the coming holocaust and xenocide.
When the ex-Admiral’s identity is revealed, she must come to terms with her feelings for a man she thinks caused the death of innocent civilians, including her father.
In a race against time, Allysha must set aside her conflicted emotions and trust a man she barely knows. Saahren must convince the woman he loves to find the truth as he once more assumes his position as … The Iron Admiral.
What I liked:
Excellent world building, technology, and I love the non-human Ptorix - a concept underdone in the SFR I've read so far. I especially enjoyed the alien planet Tisyphor with its deadly fauna and interesting flora, and the almost poetic descriptions of Ptorix architecture, plus the complex, well-thought out politics and inevitable friction between two species (bearing in mind how difficult it is for human beings alone to get along with one another as it is). And while I didn't buy the hero's insta-love, nor that he was the notorious(?) Iron Admiral, he wasn't a jerk and he cared about her in a way that wasn't totally focused on having sex with her as soon as possible.
What I didn't like:
A bit disjointed and rough at the start, and I really didn't buy the main hero's insta-love for the heroine. I liked Allysha: a bit naive, a little bit 'helpless maiden' at times, but also a tech nerd and unassuming. I was also slightly disturbed by the hero's continued conviction that she would marry him eventually even when she was saying no. Love his conviction but found it rather stalkerish/obsessive.
A book for those who like the ST/Firefly kind of SF with a romantic element, and providing the insta-love thing doesn't prove too big an obstacle. I would read them more for the SF concepts and the action than for the slightly less than believable 'romance' - the ending is more a dubious status quo than the HEA/HFN required to be a true romance. However, as this is only book one I'm assuming there's an overall romantic arc to the series to satisfy the romance fans by the end.