A desire for status has brought Ondry and Liam to a human world to trade, but dealing with humans has brought up all the old pain in Liam’s heart. Even though Ondry would do anything to protect his beloved palteia, he doesn’t know how to protect Liam from himself. Worse, Ondry isn’t sure how to shield Liam from the shifting politics on the Rownt ship where the Calti Grandmothers are nothing like the ones they left behind on the planet.
With everything in their lives changing, Ondry and Liam have only each other. If Ondry can’t find a way to defend Liam from the ghosts of the past and overcome the impossibly short life span of a human, their small family might be over long before either of them is ready to let go. Ondry has always been a dominant and possessive Rownt, and with Liam in danger, those traits are necessary as he challenges the world to protect his lover.
No images will be included in this review.
Because. I still can't envision Ondry!
The dark-haired guy on the covers makes a gorgeous Liam. The Ondry on the covers has a very human-like, muscular male torso in a purplish color and a tale, yet in this book the Rownt are described as being turtle like (maybe because they stoop with age?).
But regardless of the mystery that is Ondry's appearance, he and Liam are solid. This is very much an established couple story.
"You are so beautifully mine," Ondry whispered. "... I know of no joy that equals this."
Liam and Ondry are living on the Rownt ship in space and looking to establish trade with other species.
The Grandmothers on the ship are harder to read than the Grandmothers on Janatjanay; the eldest one is at once distant and cheeky (I'm sure Liam would have a go at me for using such vague terms, but it's what I got).
When the ship lands to meet and trade with humans, misunderstandings ensue. Liam runs into Framkie, one of his old friends from the human military base, who tries to persuade Liam to leave Ondry. Liam is wracked with insecurity and doubt, but he trusts Ondry, ONLY Ondry, especially Ondry.
"And then once in a while a palteia comes along, and that's the one person they're ever allowed to love ... A palteia is the only being a Rownt can ever love unconditionally and keep forever."
This book is sexier than the two previous books. Ondry's tale is put to (VERY) good use (every morning!), and there's finally KISSING! And it's Ondry who initiates it, and who receives as much pleasure from it as Liam does. SENSUAL. Beautiful.
This book is approximately 2,600 locations, but it reads like a denser, longer novel. That's not a bad thing, although I can't imagine extended dialogues about human psychology and lexical and conceptual semantics are everyone's cuppa.
I'm very much a geek about WORDS and linguistics, so I LOVED it, but this is definitely a slower-paced, methodical story.
The observations the Rownt make about humans are brilliant.
"I was proud of every good trade you made. How could I not feel pride when I had taught you to steal?"
Lyn Gala must be an especially insightful and observant human, because the discussions about human vs. Rownt "psychopaths," how we treat the injured and weak (does being injured make one weak?), and the treatment of children and palteia (is the mark of a culture how we treat those who are most vulnerable?) really made me think.
Does this book conclude the series? I'm not sure. I hope not, because I desperately want Ondry to trade with the Imshee for genetic information.
But Liam and Ondry have their HEA. They always did.
"I will defy the gods on the matter."
"You don't believe in the gods."
"Then they will be easy to defy," Ondry said.