Review: Bonds of Brass (The Bloodright Trilogy #1) by Emily Skrutskie
A young pilot risks everything to save his best friend–the man he trusts most and might even love–only to learn that he’s secretly the heir to a brutal galactic empire.
Ettian Nassun’s life was shattered when the merciless Umber Empire invaded. He’s spent seven years putting himself back together under its rule, joining an Umber military academy and becoming the best pilot in his class. Even better, he’s met Gal Veres–his exasperating and infuriatingly enticing roommate who’s made the Academy feel like a new home.
But when dozens of classmates spring an assassination plot on Gal, a devastating secret comes to light: Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire. Ettian barely manages to save his best friend and flee the compromised Academy unscathed, rattled both that Gal stands to inherit the empire that broke him and that there are still people willing to fight back against Umber rule. As they piece together a way to deliver Gal safely to his throne, Ettian finds himself torn in half by an impossible choice. Does he save the man who’s won his heart and trust that Gal’s goodness could transform the empire? Or does he throw his lot in with the brewing rebellion and fight to take back what’s rightfully theirs?
SPOILERS IN THE REVIEW
Dear Emily Skrutskie,
This is so very much a book that should have worked perfectly for me. SFF books with gay romance as secondary or even main storyline is, in theory, always my cup of tea. So much so that I often seek those books out. When I saw this book, I clicked very fast despite the book being expensive and despite the author being new to me.
Unfortunately the book did not work for me at all. The main reason is the main characters. They *should have* worked, but they did not. It is not that I did not like them. I could have if they were drawn better. Both Ettian and Gal had been through hell, both are thrown right in the middle of the inter galactic war between the two empires, both have interesting goals. I should have been turning the pages of this book with the baited breath following the action (and there was plenty of non-stop action) and hoping the main characters will succeed.
The only problem was? I *did not care*. I don’t know what exactly went haywire for me in the execution of this story, but for the vast majority of this book I felt as if there was a wall between myself and main characters. My emotions were not involved. I don’t know if that’s because Ettian explained everything in great detail and eventually I felt like he had explained too much, for whatever reason, but I just did not care and since Ettian was the only narrator in the book and we see Gal through his eyes only, I did not care much about Gal either and I really wanted to.
I want to be clear, I had plenty of issues with the world building of this book, but if I cared about the characters, their developing romance and their fates, I probably would have been able to hand wave some of it at least. But I did not care about the main characters so more and more questions appeared for me as I was reading which I was not able to answer to my satisfaction.
For example, why would an Empire who won the war decided to hide their only Heir on the planet they subjugated amongst the academy that has many cadets who hate that Empire passionately and surely would be happy to have that Heir dead if the opportunity arises? I hate when the characters are presented as political geniuses of some kind and my reading is that they are just not very smart.
I am not talking about the main characters here, as I previously mentioned my problem with Gal and Ettian was that my emotions were not involved when I read about them. I did not expect a lot of logical thought through actions from two eighteen year olds no matter how smart and war ready they were or they thought they were. But so called politicians? The Umber empire tries to do away with the Anchor rebellion until they were what? Tired? And now rebellion base is right under their noses? I thought it was hilarious.
Oh, and can somebody explain to me what sense did it make for general Tiral’s brother to sacrifice himself and his team? Like what use for the rebellion was in this sacrifice?
I also thought that there would be no way for Ettian to not share the surprise he finally shares with the reader at the end of the book at least a little earlier. We are in his head all the time and he never thought about it? Not once??
I liked Wen, she was annoying but fun. No way I am reading book two and three for her alone though.