Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

23346218Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.

Kora is the first female queen in generations. Both her people and those around her feel that she is not fit for the throne, and that her violent young brother should take her place. Kora knows that her brother would not be good for her people or the land, Elja, so despite assassination attempts and riots, Kora is determined to hold onto the throne. When Eros –
a ‘half-blood’, hated by both humans and Sepharon alike – is forced into Kora’s service as a personal body guard, the two of them are framed for the assassination attempt on Kora’s betrothed, and Kora flees into the endless desert, but that’s not the biggest threat.

I really enjoyed Kora, and her determination to keep a firm grip on the throne. She can be a bit of a push-over at times, but she has a good, kind heart. She feels insecure in her position as Queen, but is determined to keep her tyrannical brother Dima off the throne. It is this determination that I deeply admired Kora, and her development throughout the novel. I enjoyed Eros’ narrative and his resolve to be more than what people saw him. Separately, these two characters were fantastic, but together as they seemed forced and spontaneous. There were several instances of fierce attraction that didn’t fit the scene – i.e. they just killed three people. However, this is really my only complaint, but it did stop be from giving this more than 4 stars.

There was a strong sci-fi element, but also a blend of fantasy and sci-fi, with castles, royalty and courtly politics, but also nanites and motorcycles. I really enjoyed this blend, but some might not feel this way. The world-building was fantastic and felt very
authentic.

Beyond the Red is an excellent science fiction – it’s gritty and exciting, with a fast pace and strong plot.

RATING: ★★★★☆

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