Aries Ryder escapes from the only home she has ever known, the starship ‘New Dawn’. The ship is the last hope of mankind, fleeing from a dying Earth. Her destiny, like all females on board the ship, is to mate with a man chosen for her, and determined by genetic testing, in order to produce the next generation, for none of the present occupants of the ship will see the planet they’re headed for. Her chosen mate, Lieutenant Astor Barliss, holds no charms for her. She begins to question the rigid regime she's lived under all her life and decides to escape. The gravitational pull of Sahara 354 causes her pod to crash on the desert planet.
Aries encounters another human, an Outlander named Striker, one of the ‘pirates’ despised by the inhabitants of the ‘New Dawn. Together, they face the dangers of the planet, but Barliss is not about to give up his chosen mate without a fight.
One of the things I really liked about this book was that I found myself getting fond of, and empathising with not only the main characters, but the secondary characters as well, even though they had faults and issues, it was difficult not to feel a certain sympathy with the situation in which they found themselves. Even Barliss displays a glimpse of vulnerability at one stage, and Tiff is not a bad person despite her betrayal of Striker.
The action-packed adventure proceeds at a fast pace, with the occasional tender interlude between her and Striker, although Striker does not seem as smitten with Aires as she is with him. He has been betrayed by one woman and is not about to allow it to happen again. They battle several different kinds of alien monster, including the ‘sandworms’ which reminded me quite strongly of the ‘Dune’ novels.
I have to admit I thought I knew how it was all going to end up, but just when I thought I’d predicted correctly, Aubrie cleverly managed to turn things on their head and neatly tied up all the ends. As a reader I was left with the feeling that everyone got exactly what they deserved - and it wasn’t necessarily what one would have expected at the beginning of the story. Despite the trauma and dangers there is a ‘feel good’ ending and Striker and Aries are not only rewarded with being together at last, but are responsible for saving an entire species. A thoroughly enjoyable read, especially if you like your SF romance sweet rather than ‘hot’, although there is plenty of sexual tension and page turning suspense.
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8vCni_TZUA(or you can watch it at the end of this post)
Now let's hear from the Author herself, Aubrie Dionne, and her thoughts on:
Bad Guys in Sci fi and Why We Love Them
#1. Darth Vader
There are so many reasons to love and hate Darth Vader. At first we think he’s purely evil, but when we learn of the backstory in Episode three, we pity him. He has so much power, but nothing he can do can change Padme’s destiny. In the end, he does a complete one eighty and turns back to the good side. We don’t see this in every villain, and it’s hard to write in a character, but when Luke Skywalker is calling for his father’s help, and Darth Vader decides to turn good, we believe it. He is an excellent, three dimensional bad guy with reasons for his evilness.
The Borg in Star Trek the Next Generation really creeped me out. They were relentless, and the idea of losing your identity to join a collective mind is chilling. Not only do you buy into their hive mind philosophy, but you become one physically as well. Jean Luc Picard is taken by the Borg and assimilated. He still has nightmares of his time with them. They aren’t evil, they’re just another species trying to survive. They can’t make their own offspring, so they must assimilate those around them. Very scary, cool bad guys.
#3. Ra in Stargate
#4. The Body Snatchers
Who is your favorite sci fi bad guy? Have I left any great ones out?
A New Dawn Book One by Aubrie Dionne
Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage.
But Aries has other plans.
When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price.
The life of the man she loves.
His casual tone stung her composure. How could he talk of such mundane things when they’d almost been captured, when she’d touched him so tenderly?
“We’ll let them get farther away,” Striker explained, reasonable as always. “We’re going in their direction tomorrow.”
The sting of rejection grew, burning a hole in her heart. “Why?”
Her lips trembled. “Why not kiss me like you did before?”
“I can’t.” He shook his head, and the air cooled between them; so much so, Aries wondered if the desert had turned into deep space.
He’d teased her with such affection before, it was cruel to take it away. “I don’t understand,” she said, wishing she didn’t care, wishing she could stop all the emotions he’d started in her heart.
Aries caught a glimpse of pain etched in the wrinkles around his eyes. Striker turned away and started pulling supplies out of his backpack. “I can’t do this.”
Striker shook his head and Aries prompted, “Can’t kiss me, can’t trust me? What?”
“I can’t allow myself to get tangled up with someone. Not again.”
The thoughts of Striker with another woman confused her. On the New Dawn, everyone had one lifemate and that was it. “You mean you loved someone before?”
Striker’s hand tightened on the backpack. “I trusted someone a long time ago, allowed myself to love, if you will. She hurt me so much I lost my entire life and ended up here. I can’t experience that kind of pain again.”
Aries clasped her hand over her heart. “I’m so sorry.”
He waved her apology off as if it meant nothing. “It’s a tough world, Aries. And it’s dangerous to love. If I were you, I’d keep my heart well-guarded, because you never know when it will affect your decisions, when it will make you weak.”
Aries couldn’t take his advice. Watching him talk about his past made her realize she’d already given up her heart.
He had it.
Aubrie is an author and flutist in New England. Her stories have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, A Fly in Amber, and several print anthologies including Skulls and Crossbones by Minddancer Press, Rise of the Necromancers, by Pill Hill Press, Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night by Nightbird Publishing, Dragontales and Mertales by Wyvern Publications, A Yuletide Wish by Nightwolf Publications, and Aurora Rising by Aurora Wolf Publications. Her epic fantasy is published with Wyvern Publications, and several of her ebooks are published with Lyrical Press and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she’s not writing, she plays in orchestras and teaches flute at Plymouth State University and a community music school.