Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review: Beyond The Red

Beyond The Red by Ava Jae
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: March 1st, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 2/28/16 to 3/4/16
360 pages
Rating: 1/2


Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.


I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I went into Beyond the Red expecting science fiction, similar to Red Rising. Unfortunately, what I got was a hell more romance than I expected. Like what. This is not the book for me! No no no no!

Sorry about that. But I don't want to write it off completely! Beyond the Red started out strong, with an opening of Eros being kidnapped, to rushing back and defending his family, and later to the reveal of his lineage, half-Sepharon half-human. Yet, after his capture, everyone sort of went downhill for me. You see, Kora is struggling to rule the throne as queen. She doesn't trust anyone, which is why she took on Eros as a bodyguard in the first place, because he really has no allegiance to anyone. His friends were all killed, neither human nor Sepharon likes him because he wasn't even supposed to exist. It's kind of sad when you think about it really.

I guess here is where I ran into a couple of problems, which I'll just list out below.

The first is that, there is a lot of romance. And a lot of talk about appearances and exposed skin and I'm just sitting here like "Ok.....this is kinda awkward for me." I think this was the first YA I have read that mentioned it a lot, and I just felt extremely uncomfortable with it. I feel bad for saying that the attraction (and love I suppose) between Eros and Kora seemed to only be based off of physical appearance, only because I didn't connect with the characters at all and probably missed something because of that.


Second, I didn't really understand much of the world, or why things were the way they were. There was a lot to take in, such as new terms and names of this new planet, which isn't Mars apparently. However besides that, I could not wrap my head around why Kora's kingdom was in disarray. Or why she had to marry at all. What was marriage going to do? She still could be assassinated and have the crown taken away from her.

Speaking of said marriage, I have no idea why Serik, the neighboring prince offering to marry Kora, even saw in Kora. Okay, this may be a lie in that I think I have a sense, but he mentioned the "L" word so, so easily. Like where did that come from? It's been maybe, two days at the most? Not even?


Third, the synopsis ruins the entire book, basically. I mean, Kora doesn't get framed for the assassination until 60% into the book, and that is in the synopsis. I thought that was going to happen within the first 10 or 15%! Imagine my surprise when it's still about Eros being handed over to Kora.

The more I think about it, the more I didn't like Beyond the Red, which is a shame because I felt that it just wasn't a me book. It had a ton of romance, which is not something I was expecting at all. Yet it wasn't all that horrible. I at least tolerated it, plus there was a decent amount of action when Eros and Kora were not thinking about how they can't have one another because of class/race/etc. I'm sure that 50% of the book were just their thoughts, it was a little frustrating to read the same thing over and over again. Like yes, I get that your relationship is forbidden or frowned upon or whatever. Get on with it!