Book Reviews

Skip Trace by Kelly Jensen and Jenn Burke

Skip Trace by Kelly Jensen and Jenn BurkeSkip Trace by Jenn Burke (Chaos Station #3)
Published: Carina Press on 2015, eBook, 225 pages
Genres: Fiction, Sci-fi, Romance
Add to: Goodreads

Zander Anatolius has been revived from the fatal effects of the super-soldier program, but now he has to face his estranged family and tell a story few would believe. With his lover and the crew of the Chaos at his side, Zander returns home to a media frenzy, threats from the military and pressure to join the family business.
Felix Ingesson still struggles with the horror of believing Zander dead. And no matter how strong their emotional connection is, Felix feels out of place in the glittery world of Zander's rich family. His lover would be better off without a broken, low-class ship's engineer holding him back.
When the crew receives word that another of Zander’s former teammates needs rescue, Felix travels with the Chaos...setting Zander free. But when Zander is arrested for treason, the men realize they need each other as much as ever—not only to survive, but to make their lives worth living.

This is the 3rd Chaos Station book! I haven’t reviewed the first two here, but I enjoyed them and obviously kept reading the series. The first book is a second-chance lovers romance, with scifi thriller stuff! There’s super soldiers, a government conspiracy, outer space shenanigans, aliens, secrets, and kissing. And the second book builds off various plot-related repercussions in the first book– thriller and romance both– while expanding on the relationship between the two leads, Zander and Felix.
This third book, while continuing on the major plot points from the previous two books, ramps everything up by, like, ten. It does this great plot thing where terrible events happen that force the characters into making (usually bad) decisions, which in turn leads to Drama, which in turn leads to character development, relationship evolution, and an ultimately satisfying story. The bad things don’t just happen because the authors want their characters to suffer: the characters must suffer because it will ultimately lead them into becoming better people, they become more honest with each other, and new avenues for story development open up. In a series where each book is focused on the same couple, a story where nothing happens can be very boring. Much better for something to happen, even if it hurts, if it leads to a deeper relationship. I think it’s why this was my favorite book of the series so far, actually.
It totally helps that all the characters are completely wonderful, and that they all have wonderful relationships with each other. Zander and Felix are an adorable, if sometimes painfully awkward, couple and they have wonderful friends. Possibly those friends need some time in the narrative spotlight in order to flesh out their stories, as sometimes they get sucked into the Zander and Felix show so much that they never seem to have any narrative arcs of their own. But I love them, and they all make for a great space!family.
I also just want to point out again that there are aliens, with actually alien cultures and technology! The worldbuiling in the Chaos Station books is so much fun, and I especially appreciate the time taken to expand it beyond the human-centric world found in so many other scifi stories. I feel like any scifi without aliens is really a missed opportunity, and ones with human-like!aliens is somehow even worse. I would hardcore love more books with super-alien!aliens in them.
Incoming sidenote complaint: I feel like there aren’t enough aliens in scifi romances, especially ones that aren’t just humans-with-antennas. And I definitely don’t know of many scifi romances where the leads are two aliens, or even an alien and a human. However, my very favorite alien!romance is Lyn Gala’s Claimings series; I definitely recommend it if you, like me, are wanting more alien romances.
Anyway, if you want to buy the first book in this series, it’s $0.99 right now on Amazon and other ebook retailers!
Read: September 29-30, 2016

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