I knew going in this might be an off book for me, but if anything I anticipated it being more like the last book was: a fun sci-fi romance romp about starcrossed lovers in an alien environment.
Well, actually, turns out that was exactly what I got, because everything about this book is echoed from the first one. I was really excited to read a YA series that was structured as companions rather than direct sequels, but the basic plot of both books was pretty much identical, right down to the character beats between the leads.
Unfortunately for this book, also, the romance in the last book was sooooo much more believable. I didn’t really connect with Tarver and Lilac in that one (still not sure why), but I don’t think that was any fault of the authors’. Here? Yes, definitely. Tarver II and Lilac II (also known as Jubilee and Flynn) spend the whole book kidnapping each other, then betraying their own people, then getting kidnapped, then assaulting people, then being assaulted, etc. They never have a real conversation. Not once. They don’t know each other at all. I did not believe in the slightest when they started to warm towards each other, because there was no reason in the text why they should do so, other than proximity. They go from enemies to star-crossed lovers for no reason at all.
This is a shame because the story behind the romance was actually pretty interesting. (I won’t go into why I liked it, too complicated.) But even that was sort of ruined by the ridiculous ending, that was totally a Serenity rip-off, but was also ridiculously confusing and non-sensical. And CHEESY. Oh, my God, the things these characters were saying to each other. I was embarrassed for them. The entire climax of the book was spelled out, like the authors (or their editor) didn’t think the readers would be smart enough to draw connections on their own.
Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh. Jubilee and Flynn were not clones of Tarver and Lilac. They had their own character arcs that were well set out and were sufficiently different. I’m also sounding more angry than I normally would for a three star review because these authors can clearly write. They are smart ladies. That they should turn out such a sub-par story is really, really frustrating. I hope the last one is better.