Ren grew up listening to his mother tell stories about the Star Hosts – a mythical group of people possessed by the power of the stars. The stories were the most exciting part of Ren’s life, and he often dreamed about leaving his backwater planet and finding his place among the neighboring drifts. When Ren is captured by soldiers and taken from his home, he must remain inconspicuous while plotting his escape. It’s a challenge since the general of the Baron’s army is convinced Ren is something out of one of his mother’s stories.
He finds companionship in the occupant of the cell next to his, a drifter named Asher. A member of the Phoenix Corps, Asher is mysterious, charming, and exactly the person Ren needs to anchor him as his sudden technopathic ability threatens to consume him. Ren doesn’t mean to become attached, but after a daring escape, a trek across the planet, and an eventful ride on a merchant ship, Asher is the only thing that reminds Ren of home. Together, they must warn the drifts of the Baron’s plans, master Ren’s growing power, and try to save their friends while navigating the growing attraction between them.
This story was amazing. The world building Ms. Lukens does is effortless. You dive right into this society with places and conflict and amazing things you can see and feel.I loved the adventure and this completely different world and political system. The journey Ren and Asher embark on seems to be stacked against them and they’re doomed from the start. But these two show an amazing strength of will and persevere no matter the obstacles they face.
Ren is completely fascinating. From his roots as an idiot duster (read the book to see how it’s used as both an endearment and a curse) to how he connects with Asher, you feel for Ren and what he goes through. He’s a wonderfully written character. The way his powers work and how he thinks in feels in regards to them is described to a detail where it’s like you’re a part of the story. He grows throughout the story as well and you kind of hate to see him lose his innocence the way he does. But he becomes this man that’s a tiny bit jaded but also retains the sweetness that’s core for him.
Asher is wonderful. I love the way he supports Ren. He seemingly does it naturally without much thought. He also grows as they go on their adventure to stop the bad guy. He goes from complacent captive to active rebeller. He’s actually kind of sexy to watch transform like that.
The romance is a total slow burn and I love how they don’t even realize it’s headed there at first. Ren pretty much accepts that he doesn’t care what gender the person is he has feelings for. Yet his surprise when he realizes his feelings are deeper than friendship is lovely. They’re at a solid happy for now at the end of the story and have plans to be together. I really want a sequel, or more than that even, for this book because the characters are engaging, the world is immersive and the plot lines are intriguing. I’ve got some questions left in my head after reading. They’re not major and definitely don’t detract from the story. If Ms. Lukens opts not to write more in this world again, I will definitely be reading other stories by her in the future.
Four and a half
Ren stops by today to talk about fears. We’ve all got them but Ren’s are pretty big. He has just reasons for his fears though. Definitely take the time to check out what he’s got to say. Read and enjoy!
Hello, my name is Ren. I’m a duster from the planet Erden and I grew up in a small village by the lake. The past few months have been hectic to say the least. I’ve been taken from my home, escaped a citadel, discovered that I am a star host, and ran away on a spaceship. At least, I’ve made a few friends along the way. I have Asher and his sister, Rowan, and the crew of her ship. They’re drifters, but we get along in spite of it. Without them, especially Asher, I wouldn’t have made it very far.
Anyway, I’m supposed to tell you what my biggest fears are. Number one right now is that I’m going to lose my grip on humanity and turn against my friends. I know, it sounds a little dramatic, but in all the legends of the star hosts, the power drives those who wield it insane. Technopaths especially, which is what I am. I have to be careful because if I’m not I’ll merge with the machines and forget that I’m human. I really don’t want to do that because I don’t want to endanger anyone.
My other biggest fear is that I won’t see my family again. The last time I saw my brother was right before I was taken and captured from my home. I haven’t seen him since. I hope he escaped, but I don’t know. I also miss my mother and my stepfather. I tried to send them a message through a friend, but I don’t know if it ever arrived.
Lastly, I’m scared of being a prisoner. I escaped the citadel with Asher, but there are others who want to harness the power of the star hosts. And unfortunately, I’m on their radar too. I wanted to leave my planet and be among the drifts for so long, and I don’t want to give that up now that I’m out here. I’ve already lost my family. I don’t want to lose my freedom too.
Once at the hangar, Ren broke away from the two guards and entered the lancer, walking up the stairs, irritation a heavy feeling in his chest.
“Reporting for work,” Ren said, his tone heavily laced with annoyance.
Janus popped up from a console she had been working under, goggles on her face, gray hair sticking up everywhere. “You!” she snapped. “I told you not to come back.”
Ren rolled his eyes. “It’s not my choice. I don’t want to be here anymore than you want me here.”
“Where are your guards? I told the dumb one not to bring you back, Abiathar’s orders be damned. I don’t want your kind working on these ships.”
She poked a finger hard into Ren’s chest and he staggered back, and rubbed his hand over the spot.
“What the stars do you mean by my kind?”
Her eyes grew comically large behind the goggles. “You don’t know?” She laughed, bordering on hysterical. “You’re more dangerous than I thought. You can’t try to control it if you don’t even know what you are.”
Ren frowned. His tolerance for the cryptic nonsense everyone had spouted since he arrived was gone. He took a step toward the hull and Janus stiffened.
“Don’t,” she barked.
“Don’t what? Touch it? What will happen, huh?”
Her face paled and her chest heaved with panicked breaths. “You don’t know what you’re capable of.”
Ren laughed. “I’m capable of nothing. I’m a duster, planet-born with very limited experience with tech. You have no reason to be frightened of me.”
He moved closer to the hull, hand outstretched, fingers splayed.
She whimpered. “Please, don’t.”
Ren slammed his hand against the hull, his fingertips leaving greasy marks on the shiny surface. As he predicted, nothing happened.
He turned back to Janus. “See? Nothing–”
His word tangled in his throat, cut off, because suddenly, Ren was consumed with power, rushing from his toes to his fingertips. A blue tint clouded his vision, and his body suffused with golden warmth. And then he was floating amongst the wires, connected to the ship, to the energy source, to everything. The lancer pulsed under his skin, tangling in his veins, its systems integrated with his senses.
It was freeing and frightening.
His consciousness raced along the circuits and he could fix it. He could fix everything. He found the tangle of wires in the artificial gravity system and bypassed it. He found the broken circuits in the air recyclers and with a pulse of power, refurbished them. He saw the static in the com system, a physical entity, and he cleared it away with a brush of his metaphysical hand.
The longer Ren floated through the ship, the less connected he was to his physical body. And if he thought about it, he didn’t need his body. Why would he need his body? He was free here. He moved around with ease, the wires and the systems his route, and the more he pushed, the more he felt the other ships too. They were nearby, on the edge of his perception, and he could go to those, he could jump to the other ones and repair them too.
F.T. wrote her first short story when she was in third grade and her love of writing continued from there. After placing in the top five out of ten thousand entries in a writing contest, she knew it was time to dive in and try her hand at writing a novel.
A wife and mother of three, F.T. holds degrees in psychology and English literature, and is a long-time member of her college’s science-fiction club. F.T. has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and science-fiction novels—especially anything by Douglas Adams.
3-Mar: Hearts on Fire, Happily Ever Chapter, Kirsty Loves Books, Velvet Panic
4-Mar: Full Moon Dreaming, Havan Fellows, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
7-Mar: Jessie G. Books, Divine Magazine, Boys on the Brink Reviews
8-Mar: V’s Reads, Butterfly-O-Meter, Love Bytes
9-Mar: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Nephy Hart, KathyMac Reviews
10-Mar: Bonkers About Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Prism Book Alliance, Attention is Arbitrary
11-Mar: A.M. Leibowitz, The Novel Approach
14-Mar: Man2ManTastic, Anna Butler Fiction
15-Mar: Molly Lolly, Bayou Book Junkie
16-Mar: BFD Book Blog, My Fiction Nook
a Rafflecopter giveaway