4 out of 4 stars
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"Bring light where there is darkness, hope where reigns despair, peace where discord rules, love where evil festers."
As Lady of the Light, Ki Linnayen Genara's duty is to lead the union of four planets and pursue peace with planet Earth. A proposed political marriage may be the solution to the problem, and Linnayen is willing to do whatever it takes to bring about the peace that her dying father so desired.
But there is profit in war, and enemies from both sides will stop at nothing to destroy Linnayen's hope to bring harmony to the feuding planets. Even Linnayen's own heart threatens to ruin her marriage to the Earthan man, Kevor Jax, as her secret desires for another man cause a rift in their union.
Stubborn pride, deception, and sensuous affairs set the scene for a thrilling sci-fi romance in Penn Adams' new novel, The Malign Alliance. I loved the complexity of the story contained within the book's roughly 563 pages. Ms. Adams created a dynamic cast of well-developed characters and a vast galaxy filled with exotic humanoid aliens, each with their own cultures and traditions. It was interesting to see the variations of the character viewpoints and the tension created by the arrogance of both the Earthans and the Altanis as they worked to establish peace. I also loved how well-developed the antagonists were because they constructed a network of resistance throughout the story. I was never sure what dastardly thing they were going to attempt next, and the science geek in me was awed by the technology and weapons they employed.
The author also did an excellent job with the details of each scene. I was intrigued by the level of thought that went into working out the futuristic technologies and even the natural developments of the physical worlds throughout the story. Ms. Adams' writing flowed smooth and clean between each scene, and the vivid prose never left me confused or unsure about what happened in each sequence of events. Her writing's clarity made each major event hit its emotional mark as the story progressed, and I found myself eager to find out how things would work out in the end.
The only thing I disliked about the book was erotica in some of the sex scenes. I prefer a fade to black or simple allusions to making love, so the nature of some of these scenes made me uncomfortable. Some scenes get rather sensuous and specific, but these scenes do not take away from the writing quality or the story, so I felt no need to reduce the rating.
The book was exceptionally well-edited, and I found only a few minor typos. Therefore, I give a rating of 4 out of 4 to The Malign Alliance. If you are looking for a contemporary romance, you may not enjoy the science-fiction elements or threats of interplanetary war. There are a few gruesome depictions of some weapons' effects on their intended victims and a few instances of mild swearing. As I mentioned before, there is heavy sexual content within the story, though these scenes are infrequent and spread out. As a final trigger warning, the book contains a male character who forces himself on an unconscious female character and an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister. Fans of adult science-fiction should find action, drama, and a satisfying conclusion in book one of the Malign Universe and can look forward to the release of book two in December 2020.
The Malign Alliance
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