(Listening Length: 9 hours and 7 minutes.)
Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?
Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.
Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle. Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.
So here's the thing...
I absolutely loved this book and while I have to admit there are a lot of books that I can say this about for many reasons. I mean let's face it, I'm probably not the hardest sell around when it comes to books. So chances are...if you give me characters that I can truly love or even hate with a passion, good dialogue, settings that are richly described, a story that holds my interest...well, chances are your books are going to be in the 'I loved it' category and if it's an audio book add in a well delivered narration and that makes you golden in my world.
Before I begin I'd also just like to ask that you please forgive any spelling mistakes I may make as this is the one downside of audio books you can't check your spelling on words specific to a story.
Much to my surprise and delight "To See the Sun" has fallen very solidly into the 'I love it' category for me. Kelly Jensen has given us a complex and interesting world first in the planet Zimosen, a planet where much of the population lives below the surface never able to see the sun, just to dream of it as they struggle to survive. We first meet Gael as he in caught in a situation that no matter how it ends...won't end well for him and could possibly be even more disastrous than he's able to anticipate and when things go sideways Gael does what any reasonably intelligent person would do...he runs and he runs for his life.
It's as these events transpire and we are following Gael on his flight through the lower levels of Zimosen that the author also creates the world Gael survives in. Things are frantic and terrifying for Gael as he struggles to stay ahead of the law and find a way out. It's during this struggle to survive that Gael is offered the chance to escape to another planet via what is essentially a mail-order-bride program and with little to no hesitation he takes the opportunity and this is how he meets Abraham (Bram) Bauer and finds himself on an journey to an outer colony on the planet Alkirak to become Bram's companion.
I loved Gael and Bram together. They so easily filled the spaces in each other that had been empty, although this was not done without some hesitation, effort and a bit of miscommunication on the part of both men and I honestly would have been surprised if there'd been none considering they started out literally thousands and then some miles apart. These men weren't different worlds, they were from worlds that were vastly different.
While there were a number of secondary characters that we saw glimpses of. There were really only 4 other characters who played prominent roles in this story and they were Price who turned out to be a better friend than Gael had realized, Aavi a sweet and precocious young girl with secrets that could be dangerous for everyone, Maia who a close friend of Bram's and ultimately Gael's as well and Maia's brother Orfeo, mayor of Alkirak and Bram's use to be friend with benefits. While I really enjoyed the depth and extra that other characters added to this story it was these four who helped to support the foundation of events that transpired and to keep things flowing at an enjoyable pace.
As for the steam and sex in this one it was slow burn that felt right and worked well with both the character of these two men and the circumstances of their meeting and coming together.
TJ Clark was the narrator for this story and while he's not quite a new to me author this was only my second audio book narrated by him and so far TJ's a definite win for me. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him as he took me on this amazing adventure with Gael, Bram and their friends.
Putting this one off like I did was definitely not one of my better ideas but finally getting down to it has proven to be a decision that I'm really glad I made. I'm planning a return trip to Zimosen and Alkirak in the near future because as with any good story...this one's worth enjoying again and possibly again. Definitely recommended.
*************************An audio book of "To See the Sun" was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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