Review: In Enemy Hands by M.A. Church

Two very different civilizations—one bathed in bright sunlight, and the other veiled in shadow.

Bad decisions, declining resources, and a king on the brink of madness force Prince Varo Kutchif, third son of the royal family and a starship captain, to attempt the impossible: barter for Black Phospolrock, an energy source the mysterious Helkan kingdom has in abundance. Varo opens a line of communication with Adlar, an intriguing Helkan who seems to reciprocate Varo’s interest. He hopes so, because if negotiations collapse, Varo has orders to attack.

The Helkans preside over a planet shrouded in perpetual darkness. Several species have tried to exploit its natural resources through trade with them, but all have failed. Adlar Mondur is the older brother to the Helkan ruler. An assassin of the highest order, he’ll do anything to protect his king and his people—including tracking down the Yesri prince who crash-lands on their planet, leaving an ugly scar across its untouched beauty.

Thus begins a journey where two men from disparate civilizations grow from enemies to lovers.

I was really looking forward to this sc-fi romance. I love the cover and the blurb sounded promising. But it just... didn't quite hit the mark.

When Prince Varo crash landed on the Helkan planet, he was immediately taken captive by Adlar, an assassin for the king. They had spoken prior to the crash and (of course) had immediately felt an attraction to each other. So when Adlar captured Varo he thought that would just naturally progress into more? After he slaps a collar on his neck and tells Varo he can never leave? Apparently so.

I wish there was a little more resistance from Varo. I am all for a good slave/capture romance, but I felt like Varo's resistance was half-hearted, at best. If you're gonna fight it, then fight it! He was too unsure of himself and "damsel in distress" for me. I was almost embarrassed for him.

There were major differences between the characters and the planets they were both from. I found the stark differences so extreme they were almost comical. Dark/light, day/night, industrial/natural... it was too much. Couldn't there have been a little more creativity here? They had to (very literally) be exact opposites?

I almost liked the story, but it felt too simplistic. Like there was something missing. That little something extra to make the story special. The writing left something to be desired in both the characters and the plot.

Overall, In Enemy Hands did not work for me and I didn't jive with this author's of writing style. I know there are a lot of M.A. Church fans out there, so maybe it's just me.

I mean, there was some sexy alien sex happening. So there's that.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads or Dreamspinner Press! 

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