Title: Whispers from Exile (Corwint Central Agent Files #2)
Author: CE Kilgore
Genre: Space opera/scifi romance
Publisher: Tracing the Stars
Available: Amazon $0.00 (Kindle) 292 pages
A love forbidden, and some would say impossible, forged between two friends as one struggles for the freedom of his people, and the other struggles for freedom from the confining construct of his mechanical existence.
The Ruisks were once a fierce and proud race with courageous spirits, but after over a century of being held captive under the oppressive leash of the Xen'dari Empire, they have become defeated, hollow shells that bow their heads in submission. Larx fights to help his people find their courage again as he seeks the courage to be true to the callings of his heart.
Torque has been a Central Agent for over one hundred and thirty years. Each day is defined by the protocols embedded into the subroutines of his Mechatronic mind. Orders are followed without question and his personal life is never put before the directives of the agency. After learning a groundbreaking truth, he fights to hold on to Larx and a bond that threatens to change his directive-driven world forever.
In Book 2, the rippling effects caused by Orynn's existence continue to move through the universe in unforeseen and unpredictable ways. Whispers of her aura linger, and the lives she touched continue to move the story of the universe forward. Follow the stories of the Central Agents as they continue to search for the truths about their universe and about themselves.
*This book is intended for mature readers and contains mild violence, coarse language and romantic scenes of intimacy.
What I liked:
As always, a well-paced, emotional story, this time with several romances of varying gender and/or species pairings threaded through it (there is something for everyone!) while also going back to the main story for Ethan and Orynn. It progresses the overall series arc, while also focusing on intertwining characters with their own stories. I've developed a sudden obsession with bad boy Merik, because here we see hints that there's more to him under that twisted, murderous exterior.
What I didn't like:
This book didn't gel so well for me. While I bought this as part of the Corwint series rather than as a m/m SciFi romance, the latter is what I expected from the focus of the blurb and the excerpt on the author's website. Instead it was straight back to Orynn and Ethan. While I adore them and was very happy to get back to them after the two side stories between books one and two, it felt like I'd picked up the wrong book to begin with! It took until the end of chapter four to get my bearings when it became the story in the blurb, but it then took several more chapters for it all to come together. I also found the head hopping during the m/m sex scenes very confusing. I almost wonder if it might have been better to have Larx and Torque's romance as a separate story in its own right. There were just too many characters to keep track of and maybe, just maybe, too many romances happening at once.
A great continuation of the series, full of heart-wrenching romances and tension, though somewhat confusing with the dual main storylines and numerous character POVs. If you like m/m romances, and especially non-human with human or android interactions, this is for you but you need to have at least read book one (the side stories aren't required reading though). As always, Kilgore writes the emotional turmoils of her characters with real impact - if you don't cry at least once you are as heartless as the Xen'dari make out the Mechas to be! Debating whether to go straight to book three or read the side stories first.