Title: Mechanics of Survival (part of Terms for Surrender, Corwint Central Agent Files)
Author: CE Kilgore
Genre: Space Opera
Publisher: Tracing the Stars
Available: Amazon $2.99 as part of Terms for Surrender (Kindle) 24 pages
A free short included in Terms for Surrender.
Stranded on an uninhabited planet, an ambassador for the Xen’dari Empire and a Mechatronic Central Agent must overcome their differences and accept their similarities if they hope to survive.
What I liked:
I adore Kilgore's Mechatronic Automatons and her universe, and even though the heroine was one of the hated Xen'dari, I loved Veira's character and how she learned to unbend and think beyond the strictures of her upbringing. This was great in terms of character growth and development.
What I didn't like:
While I love the enemies to lovers/forbidden love tropes, this one just did not work for me as a short. As a novella/novel, it might have. But the Xen'dari are supposedly not only xenophobic and obsessed with racial purity as well as their superiority to all other sentient races, they also regard the Mechatronic Automatons as not even living beings. They are things. So for Veira to fall so quickly and completely for something her race considers little better than a kitchen appliance, even if it did save her life in extreme circumstances, just didn't work in such a short piece for me.
An enjoyable, quick and sweet scifi romance short, but much as I love Kilgore's work and her universe, this went outside my believeability limits. Well worth reading as part of the Corwint Central Agency Files, but not the best play on the enemies to lovers/forbidden love trope for me. A good introduction to the Corwint universe if you've not read her work before.