Review: Dalí by E.M. Hamill

Dalí Tamareia has everything—a young family and a promising career as an Ambassador in the Sol Fed Diplomatic Corps. Dalí’s path as a peacemaker seems clear, but when their loved ones are killed in a terrorist attack, grief sends the genderfluid changeling into a spiral of self-destruction.

Fragile Sol Fed balances on the brink of war with a plundering alien race. Their skills with galactic relations are desperately needed to broker a protective alliance, but in mourning, Dalí no longer cares, seeking oblivion at the bottom of a bottle, in the arms of a faceless lover, or at the end of a knife.

The New Puritan Movement is rising to power within the government, preaching strict genetic counseling and galactic isolation to ensure survival of the endangered human race. Third gender citizens like Dalí don’t fit the mold of this perfect plan, and the NPM will stop at nothing to make their vision become reality. When Dalí stumbles into a plot threatening changelings like them, a shadow organization called the Penumbra recruits them for a rescue mission full of danger, sex, and intrigue, giving Dalí purpose again.

Risky liaisons with a sexy, charismatic pirate lord could be Dalí’s undoing—and the only way to prevent another deadly act of domestic terrorism.

I’m giving this review my first heart reaction rather than sitting on it and trying to analyze my feelings.

This story was a winner for me. Superb character development. Complete worldbuilding which was easy to follow; I was immersed in this intergalactic world.

The plot was well paced and didn’t appear to have any holes. I have zero complaints in terms of storyline or character development. I was completely connected to Dalí the entire time. I love them. I think they are amazing, complex, and definitely a risk taker by nature.

This story starts out sad. Dalí is grieving the loss of their Husband, Wife, and unborn child. They are on a self-destructive path with petty fighting, and anonymous sex.

It isn’t until they sleep with the brother of an anti-Third Gender activist and son to the President of Europa that Dalí almost gets the sweet oblivion of death they are seeking. Only, once they are recovering, they realise it may not be death they want, but to wade out of the loss and find purpose again.

Dalí’s grief lends an edginess to their character, without the story being too dark or depressing. The sharp pain is there, like a wave, and as a reader I was completely aware of it the entire time I was reading, but the story, while centering around Dalí’s pursuit for answers to their loss, didn’t get bogged down with the constant ache and depression.

All of the characters in this story are well plotted out. I’d say there is room for more expansion on some of the characters, and culture and customs of the difference species, but that would require a lot more time and the Glossary at the back gives a basic overview if the reader wants to refer to it while reading (or before reading if you’re that way inclined). Within the story, there is enough information to satisfy during the encounter, and some species who get more page time, are explained a little more with each encounter. I enjoyed the balance. There is no information overload in this story.

The action and suspense is done exceptionally, and I couldn’t put this book down. I was completely engaged the entire time. I wanted to know what would happen next, and how the relationships built between Dalí and other characters would work out. Lord Rhix was an especially complex situation that kept me guessing. I couldn’t tell where the story would go while Dalí and Lord Rhix were interacting.

The peculiar connection between Dalí and the Sontavians was of great interest to me, and I wish there was more information on this, but I suppose if Dalí doesn’t understand it, then the reader shouldn’t either.

Sci-Fi can be a bit hit and miss for me. It took a long time for me to get into it, and only certain stories will keep me interested without my eyes glazing over in confusion of a completely made-up world. This was expertly delivered to readers like me. It wasn’t overly complex, but it was definitely apparent that this was futuristic and Earth no longer existed. Everything was clean and direct, flowing seamlessly through the storyline.

I will be stalking this author for any future gems, and I really hope Dalí becomes the lead in a series. If not, I will have to revisit them often within the pages of this book.

Recommended for all Sci-Fi readers, this is not a romance, but an action adventure story with some conspiracy plots, and some light erotic content.

A review copy was provided for an honest review.

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