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* Release Day & Review * The Mercenary (The Araloka Chronicles, #1) by Petra Landon

Release day, Book review, The Mercenary, Petra Landon, The War Chronicles
In a far corner of the galaxy, a deadly war rages on. The Budheya people are one of the worst affected. Once the most advanced civilization in the quadrant, they now struggle under the cruel yoke of Ketaari occupation.

Saakshi, a Budheya girl imprisoned by the Ketaari Imperial Forces, is sent to a distant space station to work as a server girl in an alehouse. For a girl who has known only hardship in her short life, things could be worse. Until an old foe from the past walks into the alehouse. Alone, friendless and far from home, desperation forces her to turn to an unlikely source for assistance. Zoran is Hadari’Kor, notorious across star systems for their prowess in battle. Their reputation as nomadic mercenaries who owe allegiance to none and only fight for hire make people wary of tangling with them.

The fallout from this improbable alliance between a Budheya rebel and the Hadari’Kor mercenary reverberates across space. Old assumptions are broken and new partnerships between unlikely allies forged. Through the minefield of shifting alliances, Zoran must fight to protect Saakshi from a relentless enemy. When passion flames amidst the embers of a smoldering war, will one warrior’s quest for justice being a mighty Empire to it’s knees …
The Mercenary (The Araloka Chronicles, #1) by Petra Landon

Source: I received a free copy of this book with the option of leaving an honest review.
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Romance
Format: eBook
Publication Date: August 25, 2017
Series: The Araloka Chronicles (formerly "The War Chronicles")


Imprisoned for rebelling against the Ketaari forces occupying her home world, Saakshi's contract was bought by an opportunistic alehouse owner who put her to work as a server girl. Even though most of the servers at the alehouse are slaves, the alehouse owner treats them well and protects them from the alehouse's more rowdy patrons.

During one of her shifts, a Ketaari officer who was a member of the occupying forces on her homeworld recognizes Saakshi and threatens to revoke her contract, unless she provides "special" services to him during his stay. Even though Saakshi's boss is influential on the space station she calls home, he cannot protect her from the Ketaari and suggests that she propose an alliance with a frequent customer who has taken an interest in her, a mercenary named "Zoran." Having no other choice, Saakshi approaches Zoran with a proposition that he finds appealing and repugnant.

The power of this unlikely alliance between Saakshi and Zoran will not only change them, but it also has the potential to change the balance of power in the galaxy.

Be prepared to embark on a breathtaking journey to a distant galaxy that you won't want to return from!

Every aspect of The Mercenary by Petra Landon is captivating! I felt like I had been transported to a completely different place in the universe because the details are expertly described and stunning. The rich history of this particular corner of the universe is organized, well thought out, and explained impeccably.

I was transfixed by the relationship between Saakshi and Zoran, they come from different worlds with social norms and ethics that are polar opposites; however, they are united by love and several shared beliefs. I always enjoy watching characters evolve in stories, and I really enjoyed how the relationship changed their perspectives. I particularly liked how Zoran realized that the people from his world should have stepped in earlier to help the people on Saakshi's homeworld.

Science fiction generally has a ton of social commentary in it, and I was thrilled to see that Landon included it in this plot. If the romance between Saakshi and Zoran doesn't ooze social commentary, then Zoran admitting that the people of his world should have offered assistance to Saakshi's world does.

I think Landon did a wonderful job of artfully balancing the romance in the plot with space opera intrigue and action. I would like to recommend it to hard-core space opera fans because it is just so fantastic, but I can't. I think that hard-core space opera fans may be put off by the romantic plot; however, I think this book will appeal to readers like me who enjoy a mix of genres in a book with different plot lines.

For my followers who are generally inclined to read "clean" books, there is one explicit love scene in the book. I wouldn't mention it because it's not kinky or perverted, it is just descriptive, but I did promise to disclose detailed love scenes in my reviews on the blog. Honestly, if you prefer clean reads, I recommend buying the book anyway and skipping the love scene because the plot is just too awesome to overlook because of one scene that might make you blush.

About Petra Landon

Petra has always possessed a very active imagination. One inherited from her father. Or so she believes. As a child, her father would regale her with fantastic tales of creatures and beasts that lived amidst them. While invisible to her, they were in regular communication with her father. Or so she was told. He built an imaginary world for her that she reveled in for most of her early childhood. He also helped inculcate a love of books in her. As she grew older, her reading list broadened to include anything and everything she could lay her hands on. Her first apartment after college was carefully selected on the basis of its proximity to book shops and the local library. Over the years, no matter how busy life got, Petra would always have a stack of books by her bedside, to be read during moments snatched from her studies, her job and other activities of life. She has a secondary passion that she built a career on. For years, she would imagine stories and tales in her head, sometimes sketching out detailed characters and events. Inspiration would come from traveling, reading a great book, watching a fun movie or TV show or even just a conversation. Occasionally, if she felt let down by the ending of a promising book, she would imagine an alternative and more satisfactory ending for herself.

Then a few years ago, she started jotting down little snippets of stories every now and then, mainly to stop obsessing over them. Eventually, encouraged by her husband, she embarked on a mission – to write a short story. Though she worked long and hard at it, the short story never did get completed. Once she started writing in earnest, even a few stolen hours a week, the stories kept pouring out of her. She found that the labor and discipline of putting her thoughts down on paper could not keep up with her active imagination. Before long, she had compiled a list of novels in various stages of completion, but none complete. What she needed, she told herself, was discipline. It took her another year to complete her first book, The Mercenary, primarily because she could never quite banish the other story ideas that seemed to pop up in her head at regular intervals. The book, a tale set in a world far away, belongs to the Science Fiction genre. Her husband, encouraging as always, advised her to complete her half-written Urban Fantasy novel and publish that first, suggesting that the genre of Urban Fantasy might enjoy a wider audience.

For Petra, it has been a long journey and a dream decades in the making to come to this point. She’s very excited and a tad anxious to finally publish her first book. She very much hopes that people love her quirky characters and vivid stories as much as she loved putting them down on paper.

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