BEYOND THE RED by Ava Jae.
Summary: 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.
Title: Beyond the Red
Author: Ava Jae
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016
Thank you to the publisher for the ARC!
Yep, I have finally found a 2016 debut that, sadly, I don't like. It's never easy DNF-ing a book, especially one such as this. In 2015, my biggest problem was trying to slog through books that I didn't like, forcing myself to get to the end. In 2016, if I read a book that I don't like at all by page 100, I will DNF. It's hard, but I need to do it.
BEYOND THE RED, unfortunately, was not my cup of tea at all. I did break my own rules and try to read this twice, but I simply couldn't get into it either time or enjoy it. I strongly disliked Kora, the heroine, and simply could not connect with her or feel anything for her. The same with Eros.
The beginning started out wobbly, then it just didn't recover in my eyes. Despite desperately trying not to, I kept finding little things wrong after that and I couldn't overlook them by the time I reached page 100. Incredibly disappointed that one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 has fallen flat. I feel like I was expecting something vastly different because of the scintillating summary, then saw next to none of it.
Ava has great writing potential, I will say that. Truly hoping that she writes other books, because she could very easily knock the ball out of the park with her vast imagination.
So, with the heaviest of hearts, BEYOND THE RED is a DNF.