3 out of 4 stars
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In a galaxy far far away (but not too far away, evidently, since Earth can be reached in a matter of days), the worlds of Kadan and Polaris are on the verge of war. Following their eventful trip to Earth, that almost cost them more than their lives, the royal children and their soul mates are trying to find balance and to gather strength for the future. At least now they are home, and they are together - Syira and Kadeem, Shiray and Bryan, and their family and friends. But this piece won't last long, for fate has other plans for them...
Okay, just let me get one thing out of my system first - I hate the cover. I assure you all, that this didn't influence my final rating of the book. However I still find it horrible and it did influence my decision to pick it up. I've seen Sonar the Cyclone before - few months ago, during a blog hop, a cover reveal or something of the sort. When I read the blurb I thought: "Oh, it sounds nice. I could use a romance space opera. It's been a while since I've read something like this and with Star Wars coming I would just love me some space stuff." Then I looked at the cover and it was so... mushy. Annoying. Yes, I know this really isn't the proper word to describe a cover. It just gives me such a terrible feeling. I contemplated back then on whether or not to buy the book, but in the end it was the cover that turned me off.
However, the annotation did leave me with a lasting impression and this is why I decided to give it a try when I got the chance here on the site. It wasn't as epic as I hoped it to be, but still I'm not sorry for taking my time and reading it.
Sonar the Cyclone is the middle book in the Sonar trilogy. While it bears some of the marks of a second-in-a-series book, it still can be safely read as a stand-alone, especially when it comes to understanding the story line. This volume focuses mostly on two of the royal couples - Syira and Kadeem and Bryan and Shi. I would say that the characters and their relationship were one of the strongest points of the book. First of all, we deal with already formed couples. Second - they are interacting very calmly, they are all soft and understanding with each other (at times, almost unnaturally so!). Their inner conflicts are decided promptly and without too much drama, and the reader can focus more on the other turmoils awaiting them - and all the characters do have their fair share of this. I felt very comfortable with them, and was able to relax in their company. It was really nice, and just what I needed, instead of getting mad with the characters - something I often have to deal with when reading romance fiction. Speaking of turmoils, there is a lot of action in this book, with some interesting battles and powers to observe. Those two sides of the novel - romance and action - were a nice complement of one another.
The story line in this book is tightly related to the events of the first. All you need to know, however, is covered very neatly, including backstory, so I had no problem getting it. I was able to seamlessly fall in the story. I had bit more trouble with the setting and the atmosphere. In the grand scale, I really liked the background idea. It is a classic conflict between two fighting planets, but there are many big details to make it intriguing - like the cyclones and the powers of the people of these worlds.There were also some cute small details - their "enhancers", some fish species, some other nature curiosities - that helped the world come to life. In the same time, there were others tids and bits, comments here and there, that ruined the alien feeling for me.
Now, I am absolutely sure the author got a nice explanation for all the similarities between Earth and those worlds, and that they are actually fascinating. Such things were mentioned very briefly here, but I guess this subject was vastly covered in the first book .So while not being completely satisfied, I tried not to hold it against the book for such things as speaking openly English (and it would seem to be the same form of English that is common on nowadays Earth) or relations to ancient Greece or Rome. But comparisons to Picasso, or saying something is "Victorian" in style, coming from a native of the planet really annoyed me. Even if there is a perfectly good explanation for why this was said so ( as a Picasso painting really impressing the character in question) I felt as this robbed us of the chance to get more hidden glimpses of the history and the culture of those people.
However, there was one thing that I didn't like and I couldn't blame it solely on the fact that I skipped the first part - style. In terms of word choice, construction and dialogue, it was all just too plain for my liking. Dialogue was boring and repetitive, and mostly small talk. And I usually adore small talk - when it is funny, and let us know the characters better. But here it was indeed just small talk - they weren't discussing the whether, but they were close enough. Overall the narrative was plainer than what I expected. I admit of being a fan of the rich, polished style, but I will go for a lighter one, if I see it fitting. But it just didn't have this feeling of royalty I was hoping to find, the epic feeling I get when I think of space. For example:
"King Julius laid down the law. "I want you guys to come up with the best plan possible, if I am going to allow this mission and put so many at risk."
So this is the king, talking to his children, sending them on a dangerous mission. The "guys", I mean. In one moment, the characters were at the best of their manners, but more often they were talking like teenagers, going all "lol" (yes, they were "lol"-ing while mind texting).
In the end, I weighted carefully all my thought of the book. I didn't bring the rating down for any details that may have been explained in the first book, because that wouldn't be fair. However, in terms of atmosphere and style, I really wished the novel would be more eloquent and with more original details (on top of what we already had), instead of bringing it down to Earth. I give Sonar the Cyclone 2.7 stars and round it up - so total of 3 out of 4 stars. I had a nice time with the characters and the story, even if the style was boring me slightly.
I would recommend this book to romance lovers in search of a light read - one that won't overwhelm them in terms of style, nor in terms of character relationships. If you are fans of the paranormal romance, you will find here a world that is original and closer to the paranormal than to the sci-fi. Those readers who are here for the romance and the action, can safely read this novel without the first one. However, if you are in search of a space adventure, and crave a deeper understanding of the world, my advice is to start form the beginning and check if a sample is available, to get a feel of the style.
Sonar The Cyclone
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