Sunday, September 24, 2017
Book Review: 'Zuran' by Ashley L. Hunt
Colorado author Ashley L Hunt earned her degree in Philosophy at The University of Colorado. She lives in Denver where she creates stories with heroes with great strengths, physical and mental, and pairs them with strong heroines who test their limits, in the end finding deep, passionate love. Science fiction is an acquired taste – and that taste seems to have infused the entire globe as books and television shows and games and movies all fight for top place in this genre. Ashley has her hand solidly in this realm, having published four series of books that deal with aliens peppered with erotica. She continues her new series – ALBATERRA MATES – and presents ZURAN as the sixth episode in the series.
Ashley knows how to relate a series about life on another planet that includes a visit from an earthborn creature whose presence creates the change in atmosphere the new planet poses (the new planet is of course Albaterra). She opens the stage for her main characters with some preparatory background so that when the new soon to be lovers meet we are aware of what they bring to the encounter.
The synopsis is concise but a fine map as to where the story will take us, ‘He’s forced to revisit the past he left behind, and she’s coming along for the ride. As a nurse, Phoebe has spent her career helping people. She knows it’s her calling and throws herself into tending to her patients heart and soul. In the city of Ka-lik’et, she is considered one of the best attendants amongst those in the human colony. When she loses the most important patient she’s ever had, though, a fuse is ignited that sends her spiraling into a course of events she never could have imagined. Zuran is the Interplanetary Affairs Officer for the Albaterran kingdom of Dhal’at. He is also a reformed criminal, but he walked away from that life in pursuit of something better. When he meets the curvaceous and intelligent Phoebe, it’s in the midst of a crisis, and he realizes he has never met someone so genuinely good. He soon discovers walking the straight-and-narrow is not the only unexpected change in himself as he finds himself captivated by the compassionate, beautiful human. Albaterra has been playing host to a colony of Novai for many months, but they are suddenly stricken with a mysterious disease neither A’li-uud nor humans have seen before. Suddenly, Zuran and Phoebe are thrown into the race against time to cure the disease before it kills the Novai colonists or spreads to the other beings who call Albaterra home. After she is unable to save an Elder, Phoebe battles her inner demons to fight for the ailing Novai. Meanwhile, Zuran is forced to battle demons of another kind when his brother is imprisoned for the Elder’s death. They unite in hopes of achieving their goals, and they discover sides to themselves they never knew existed. Phoebe realizes how far she is willing to go for someone she cares about, and the ever-independent Zuran finds out just how much he needs her after all. Can a bad boy alien and a selfless nurse save the world? Can they even save themselves?’
Few authors can match Ashley’s manipulation of alien romance with the sophistication she manages to mold her worlds and strange exotic creatures. Steamy, yes, erotic, yes, but always original and with a fine ending. Grady Harp, August 17
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