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The Starfarer (The Araloka Chronicles Book 2) by Petra Landon

Book review of THE STARFARER (THE ARALOKA CHRONICLES BOOK 2) by Petra Landon

A feisty gatherer with a dangerous heritage and a mysterious starfarer from a mighty race engage in a delicate dance of love, faith, longing and survival, while the sector burns around them!
On a sleepy agrarian planet, Sila Gatherer hides a deadly secret. Until an accidental encounter with a mysterious alien starship changes her life forever. Star Captain Zh’hir Mu’raat is Ur’quay — renowned across the galaxy as warriors and explorers. Thrown together, the starfarer and his accidental captive forge an unlikely bond. One that is tested, time and again, when Sila finds herself threatened, exiled and adrift.

In a dangerous sector of space where powerful factions battle for control, Sila and the Star Captain must fight for a future together as her ability, Ur’quay tradition and a complicated legacy test their faith. When a powerful foe threatens Sila, they race against time to unravel a centuries-old secret. With the fate of Sector Araloka and the Ur’quay at stake, can the starfarer follow his heart or will history repeat itself again …
Source: I received a free copy of this book and opted to post a review. Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Space Opera
Pub. Date: November 16, 2018
Series: The Araloka Chronicles

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Review

Just to clarify, The Starfarer is a futuristic romance with elements from the science fiction/space opera genre. The plot itself revolves around the relationship between a resourceful-but-vulnerable-female and an honorable-but-emotionally-distant-male. While this description is apt, it really doesn't do the plot justice as the circumstances of how the two met, the challenges they face in their developing relationship, and the characters are unique.

The Ur'quay are legendary warriors, literally; they have not made their presence in the galaxy known for generations. As a species, they are dying because their planet doesn't have the resources necessary to sustain their long-term isolation from the rest of the galaxy. They decide to visit the Araloka Sector in search of much-needed resources, but they want to remain detached from the ongoing battle fight against the resource-grubbing, war-mongering Ketaari. When an Ur'quay vessel that is sampling resources from an agricultural planet accidentally captures Sila Gatherer, she finds herself homeless and in danger. The second-in-command of the Ur-quay vessel, Zh’hir Mu’raat, vows to make amends and the two form a bond.

What really elevates this novel from being a run-of-the-mill romance are its main characters, setting, and the intergalactic politics. The backstories of the main characters are as interesting as they are diverse, and they provide a different perspective on the war that is being waged against the Ketaari. The setting provides a panoramic view of the Araloka Sector, its inhabitants, and the various spacecraft and space stations. The intergalactic politics provide intrigue and plenty of action that complement the interspecies romance between the main characters; a romance that is a bold move on Landon's part as one species is similar to contemporary humans while the other species is humanoid with reptilian attributes.

I don't think hard-core fans of the science fiction or romance genres are going to find this book intriguing because the plot is a balance of the two. However, I think readers who enjoy light science fiction or light romance will find the combination appealing. It is most definitely not a book for bigots; if you had issues with the "Mass Effect" games because they discussed interspecies relationships, you don't want to read this book. As for me, even though I'm not a huge romance fan, I enjoyed The Starfarer and I'm looking forward to reading more of "The Araloka Chronicles" in the future.

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About Petra Landon

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Petra Landon, author. Courtesy of Goodreads.
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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