Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

REVIEW: Turbulence by Lyn Gala

lg_turbulence

Corporal Jacqs Glebov is a simple soldier who wants a bunk, decent food, and the company of other battle-hardened men and women who understand the realities of fighting. Instead, he’s stuck patrolling a remote corner of the border with cadets straight out of boot camp. They don’t understand him, and he sure doesn’t have an ounce of respect for them.

After a field promotion, Commander Zeke Waters is sent to the Candiru for some practical experience in a leadership role. Instead, Zeke falls in lust with the adamantly heterosexual Jacqs. The way Jacqs fights and the way he sees the world draws Zeke closer, even if common sense tells him to walk away.

Even if they can find a way to find to reconcile their sexual differences, they are both still soldiers. The war will eventually take them away from each other unless they can find a way to escape the rules that have defined their lives.

Dear Lyn Gala,

I have read many m/m romance books which claimed to also be scifi/space operas only to discover to my dismay that they were not. So often the books are romances and the scifi/space opera aspect is just used as a window dressing for romance. Happily, this book is a real space opera – with a spaceship crew, war with aliens and enough action scenes to satisfy me. I also thought that the world building was good and had enough details to make the story enjoyable. There is a romance in this book and I think the writer mixed up the romance and the action well, but this is an “us against the world” story, once Jacqs realizes that yes, he wants Zeke, the conflicts the heroes face are mostly external.

In the foreword to the story the author says that the inspiration for the main character was a prompt from a fan who asked the question: What would happen to somebody who would share a particular character trait with Jayne from “Firefly”? I have not watched “Firefly” (I have been telling myself to do so for a while now, but something always distracts me), but I made sure to ask somebody who did watch and who read this book as well whether the worlds are in any way similar. I was told that no, mostly not and I also was told that Jacqs is not Jayne. I am telling readers this to explain that to me being inspired by a single character trait from existing character does not mean that this story is fanfiction, but I really wanted to double check first.

If you look at the blurb, you will probably think that the romance aspect of the story includes the “gay for you” trope. At least that is what I thought before I started reading the book. I would say that after I finished the story my answer would be that I am not sure whether the story deals with “gay for you” at all. In addition, the author states in the foreword to this book (and I really appreciate the note, otherwise it would have caused some confusion for me) that the sexuality in this world is more complex than just gay or straight. I mean, it is a fantasy creation of course, but for me it is an inventive and believable fantasy creation. I think in a sense this is based on the Kinsey scale (the basis for her invention I mean), but she came up with quite a few new words for people’s sexuality such as hypersexual, stenosexual and some others (I will let you read and find out what those definitions mean for the people in this book, in addition to the words familiar to us like heterosexual and homosexual. In this world people are required to declare their sexuality (not for any punitive purposes, I guess just for statistics) and they can change their sexuality any time they want.

Jacqs is a great character. He is a battle-hardened veteran, who is in the social interactions sometimes (ok, often) tends to act with his fists before he thinks, but whose heart is in the right place. I liked how he worried about his team members’ survival, even if he mostly called them idiots, and I think if I were serving in the army I definitely would have wanted Jacqs on my side. When Jacqs decides that he is attracted to Zeke, he changes his sexuality from heterosexual, but he did not then register as homosexual either. I really liked how one of the most important aspects of his characterization was woven into his decision. This man did not like introspection, but he never ran away from problems, met the challenges head on and after some thinking he realized that his sexuality was something different than he had thought it was before. I guess for me his thinking that over felt very male-like.

“Jacqs didn’t rightly like self-introspection. It never led to good things. It didn’t even lead to mediocre things, not in his estimation. But at the same time, he’d never run away from a fight in his life, not when it came to bullies in the camps, not when he’d faced off against the batfaces for the first time, and not when he had demons rolling around in his head. He battled them, and he either won or lost the fight, but he didn’t go hiding”.

I think I would have wanted Zeke on my side as well. Zeke was another veteran who was supposedly sent to lead the crew of “Candiru” in order to acquire leadership skills on a larger scale than he previously had a chance to practice. I thought Zeke managed the best he could and that he was a great officer already. Zeke and Jacqs made a great team – both in their professional and personal life.

I also really liked several other crew members of “Candiru”. The ensemble cast overall was interesting and I wanted to learn more about them. The female crew members were well done I thought – I thought that even minor characters had some flaws and felt human to me.

I do not think I am revealing major spoilers when I say that humanity in this book is at war with an alien species. I am not sure whether I was completely happy with how the alien species were portrayed (very broadly and I am not sure whether it was alien enough for me), but the story was not about them, so I shrugged and moved on.

As you can see by now, I thought that overall this was a really good book, but I was taken aback by the ending. It was unexpected (for me at least), which in some ways is a great thing, because I like it when a story takes me to the unpredictable places. However, it also left me a little depressed. But this is an issue of personal preference. The ending fit the story perfectly; it was original and to me fit the characters’ personalities. I just wished the writer had not gone there in the first place. I understand that I am being very cryptic in order not to reveal spoilers, but if somebody would like to know more details, I will be happy to give those under spoiler cuts in comments.

Grade: B.

 

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle

Sirius

Sirius started reading books when she was four and reading and discussing books is still her favorite hobby. One of her very favorite gay romances is Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. In fact, she loves every book written by Tamara Allen. Amongst her other favorite romance writers are Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Josephine Myles, Taylor V. Donovan and many others. Sirius’ other favorite genres are scifi, mystery and Russian classics. Sirius also loves travelling, watching movies and long slow walks.

15 Comments

  1. cleo
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 11:32:40

    Ok, I’m intrigued but I want more details about this ending that depressed you.

    I’ve read two books by Lyn Gala – Claimings, Tails and Alien Artifacts, which I just loved, and something else, the title escapes me, but it really didn’t work for me at all. So I’m interested but cautious.

    Speaking of mm space opera – have you read Incursion by Aleksandr Voinov?

    ReplyReply

  2. Jenny P
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 13:37:18

    I agree! I truly enjoyed reading this book (the characters are great!), but felt a little let down by the very end. Not that the ending was terrible; it didn’t *ruin* my reading experience, or anything …, but I admit to “re-imagining” the ending a bit. It wasn’t quite … enough for me.

    ReplyReply

  3. SusanS
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 14:59:24

    Spoiler request – or at least whether there is a HFN ending. Thanks.

    ReplyReply

  4. Sirius
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 15:07:59

    Hey guys I am on my phone so I cannot do spoiler tags now – will do it later tonight or early tomorrow, but there is definitely a happy ending as far as two main characters being together. I have not doubted the strength of their love and that they would want to be together for a long time at all. My unhappiness was about external circumstances they found themselves in at the end of the book. I do not know if this is what Jenny meant when she said it was not enough for her , but for me that definitely was not happy enough. It did not ruin the story for me or anything, and on one hand I applaud the writer for doing it – I felt it was original, etc. However I wanted more for the characters and that’s all I can say without spoilers. :)

    ReplyReply

  5. Jenny P
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 17:25:05

    @Sirius: That’s exactly what I meant! I had every confidence in their relationship and was happy with that aspect. Like you, I even felt that their final external circumstances fit their natures, in some respects, but I wanted something … more? better? for them in terms of their lives from there on out. I liked them too much to be happy with where they ended up, even as I believed that relationship-wise they were more than happy together regardless of their circumstances.

    I would recommend the book regardless of the ending. It’s worth reading–if the description in the review intrigues you, go for it! It will likely be a re-read for me at some future date because it was just that enjoyable seeing how the characters interact.

    ReplyReply

  6. Katie P
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 19:43:23

    It’s really awesome to see Lyn Gala reviewed here so positively. I’ve been reading her work since she was publishing fiction for free on her blog, before she got a contract. She’s improved a lot since then, and the criticism about the alien species here really surprises me because in her other work (Blowback and Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts specifically), I’ve thought one of her strong suits was portraying complex, convincingly non-human creatures. I guess she decided to focus on other things this time.

    ReplyReply

  7. Sirius
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 22:20:35

    Hi Katie, I have read a lot of what she wrote as well and the books mostly worked for me. Oh, I absolutely agree that in Claimings and Tails she built a convincingly non-human culture and the other guy felt alien to me, but in that book alien culture was front and center. I did not feel that this book was about an alien culture if that makes sense and they are mostly talked about, rather than shown. I mean, I guess in those aliens that were shown briefly some attempt was made, but it was not enough for me, however because I felt that the story was mostly not about them, it did not bother me that much. I had to make the observation, because well, I thought it added to my review, but it was an observation mostly, I did not think it took away from the story much.

    ReplyReply

  8. Sirius
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 22:43:51

    Here is the spoiler for the ending – like really detailed spoiler, open at your own risk guys.

    [spoiler] At the end of the story peace treaty with the alien species is finally done and as a result alliance lets them have some planets of their system and the aliens do the same thing, I think. So, one of the planets has human miners and they and their families need to be evacuated. Another ship was too scared of aliens to come, so the ship with our guys is the only one who came and of course there is not enough space , so they stay on this planet and let some of the kids take their place. Anyway, when the aliens come to take the ownership of the planet, they make them continue to work in the mine and the guys join the miners as well. They become the slaves – they are not abused, or anything, they are paid for their labor, but they are undoubtedly slaves. Jaqs ever the pragmatist accepts it, Zeke less so, but they do not have much choice, they can never go home, etc, and while they are deeply in love, them being slaves was not what I wished for these guys, at all. [/spoiler]

    ReplyReply

  9. Lyn Gala
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 22:49:57

    If it helps with the ending, the second book in the series is already under contract at Loose Id and should be out in March. The primary romance is Shank Lacroix and Allie Grah; however, we will see these two and the ending will change. Although this universe is too dark for perfect happiness, they have more adventures in their future.

    ReplyReply

  10. Katie P
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 23:07:24

    @Sirius: Sorry, I wasn’t trying to say that you came off as overly critical or that it was a useless comment to include in your review, just that based on her body of work this had to be a deliberate decision rather than a failure of ability, since I find unconvincing or thin alien species are more frequently the latter than the former. Whether I think it was the correct decision is up in the air until I read the book.

    ReplyReply

  11. Kaetrin
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 23:34:06

    Another one for my wishlist. Thx for the review Sirius. I think I’d come across it before but wasn’t sure about buying.

    ReplyReply

  12. Holly G
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 07:10:44

    Lyn, That is great news about the second book. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    ReplyReply

  13. Jenny P
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 09:25:41

    @Lyn Gala: Very cool! I was hoping for something like that. Thanks for letting us know–I look forward to reading it when it’s out!

    ReplyReply

  14. Sirius
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 22:55:33

    @Lyn Gala: Yes! Thanks for letting us know, I am looking forward to reading it as well.

    ReplyReply

  15. Sirius
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 22:56:22

    @Katie P: Thanks for clarifying, let me know what you think when you are done with the book :).

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply


2 + = 4

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: