Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
An attempted assassination left Princess Shalira blind as a child and, now that she’s of marriageable age, her prospects are not good because of her disability. She’s resigned herself to an arranged marriage rather than face life under the thumb of her cold stepmother. But then she meets Mike Varone, a Sectors Special Forces officer sent to Mahjundar by the intergalactic government to retrieve a ship lost in her planet’s mountains. After Mike saves Shalira from another assassination attempt, she arranges for him to escort her across the planet to her future husband. She’s already falling hard for the deadly offworlder and knows she should deny herself the temptation he represents, but taking Mike along to protect her is the only way she’ll live long enough to escape her ruthless stepmother.
Mike, for his part, resists his growing attraction to the princess; he has a mission on this planet and rescuing the vulnerable but brave princess isn’t it. No matter how much he wishes it could be.
But what should have been an easy trek through Mahjundar’s peaceful lands swiftly turns into an ambush with danger around every turn. Shalira’s marriage begins to seem less like an arranged union and more like yet another planned assassination. The more they work together to survive, the harder it becomes to stop themselves from falling in love. Caught in a race against time, can they escape the hostile forces hunting them and make it off the planet?
Before I started this book I had read two short stories by this author that I enjoyed and I was eager to give one of her full length works a try. I picked this book up when it was discounted and as I was in a sci-fi mood I decided to start this one. Sadly I have to say this one missed the mark for me. The story didn’t quite work for me. This is mostly because of me having wrong expectations about this book and I was unable to really care about the characters or get caught up in the story.
Mission to Mahjundar is a sci-fi romance, but at the same time I feel that doesn’t really describe the feel or genre of this book well. Yes the male main character is a Marine from the Sectors and does missions to other world, but 95% of this book takes place on Majundar. A backwater planet with basically no technology and the male main character and his cousin only use some blasters and some minor tech. It almost would fit better to describe this book as a fantasy or even military romance, even though neither of those is quite right either as it does have a small sci-if aspect and there is a bigger world out there. I had expected a sci-fi romance and sadly this book didn’t have as much sci-fi as I had hoped and therefore didn’t fit my mood as well as I had expected.
It’s not a bad book, but it just didn’t quite work for me. There were parts that I did enjoy and it was a nice read. The story did flow nicely and the pace was pretty well done for the most part. The book is pretty story driven but at the same time could feel a bit slow at times or maybe that’s because I didn’t quite care about the events that were happening.
Beside the book not fitting my expectations I has some trouble with the story. The story didn’t quite keep my attention and I wasn’t fully happy the direction the story took at times. I also am discovering a new pet peeve of mine, books were there is too much trouble. It felt like in this book the characters went from one bad situation to another. Or they were right before or after a bad situation. It just got tiring and I wanted them to have a few more moments of peace and quiet to enjoy each others company or were we could get to know the characters better. There was a nice scene at the start were they had a bit of a sort of quiet temporary moment which was nice, but it was very short lasting.
Besides there being few moments of peace, I had a hard time caring about the story. It felt like little details or bit of information were missing here and there that could’ve made the plot feel more complete. Only about 60% in the book we finally find out a few basics of the “mission” Mike and Johnny were on and even then it’s hard to grab the relevance of this mission. We get a few details later, but it’s too little too late. The new information just makes me have more question about the information and the things that happened before this book. I guess I would’ve liked to get a bit more information about this mission. And there are also some parts of the story I would’ve liked to get more details about. How this planet and culture worked and the tribes and why the special agents weren’t aware of certain things going in. A few things just seemed a bit too convenient, usually for the bad guys, and other parts just didn’t fully make sense or come alive.
So what did I enjoy about this book? For the most part it was well written and I liked the writing style. Even though I struggled though it at times, it also had some scenes and parts that I did enjoy and some chapters that I easily read through. I also liked the set-up for this book, a military guy who on a mission to a planet falls in love with a local blind princess. With how they are both from such different words, but find common ground. I also thought it was nice to see a less advanced planet in a galaxy that also has more advanced planets, I just would’ve liked to see more of this contradiction. How the sectors people experienced this people or how foreign the technology was to the people there. I would’ve liked to get to know the customs of this planet a bit better.
While I liked the idea of the romance, sadly I didn’t quite feel the romance in this book. It seemed their feelings for each other developed quite quickly and while they spent some time together I would’ve liked to see more scenes where they really connected or got to know each other. Sadly the romance didn’t really work for me. I was happy how there was no miscommunication or other big issues in the romance as the more gently style seemed to fit the book.
The characters were nice enough, but I had a hard time really caring about them. I did enjoy reading the story, but at the same time had a hard time really connecting with or feeling like I got to know the characters. I would’ve liked to get the characters a bit better as I think that would’ve made me more invested in the story. I thought the princess had an interesting backstory, I was just a bit disappointed with how something surrounding her was handled later in the book. And I would’ve liked to know what really happened to her those years ago, I had hoped we would’ve gotten to know that in the end.
Concerning the world building, there was very little of that, but at the same time it is obvious there is more in this universe. With what we did get to know it was obvious there was a whole galaxy and more stories out there and I did like that feeling of how the author build a whole world even though we only get to see a little piece. I just wished we would’ve gotten more than a glimpse of the rest of the galaxy in this book. But that’s probably also because I was in the mod for sci-fi and this book very light on the sci-fi aspects.
To summarize: this book didn’t quite work for me. There were parts I enjoyed and parts that didn’t work for me. I ended up rounding up my rating as I do feel that it’s not a bad book, but I just went in with wrong expectations (wish I had read a few reviews first) and I didn’t really care for the story. The book was story driven, but at the same time it could feel a bit slow and like these tiny pieces of information were missing that would’ve made the book read smoother. The characters were in a lot of trouble and bad situations in this book and I would’ve liked some more quieter and happier moments to break up all the bad things. I didn’t care for the direction the story took at times, but I was happy with the ending. There were a few questions left unanswered that I had hoped to see answered. The book is very light on the sci-fi aspects and reads more like a fantasy or military romance at times. I didn’t feel the romance in this book and didn’t care for the characters. But I did like the set-up for the romance and how they both came from different worlds. I also liked the feel the author created of there being a whole galaxy out there and the world seemed thought out even though we only got to see a very small piece of it.