Last updated December 30, 2019
Q: What’s the genre?
Science fiction, specifically space opera within a quasi-military framework. Think Star Trek, only darker and further into the future.
Q: Content warnings?
Language. Violence/torture. Explicit sex. Pregnancy loss.
Q: Not YA?
Longer answer: I read plenty of adult books when I was a teenager, and I expect a lot of kids would be fine with the story. But the characters aren’t young adults—the youngest POV character is 32—and when I say “explicit sex,” I’m not kidding.
I also saw at least one person refer to the book as “mildly triggering,” and one industry review called it violent. Not sure what the trigger was for that reader, but I’m guessing either the torture scene or the pregnancy loss issue.
TL;DR: If your kids are interested, that’s between you and them, but this wasn’t written to be a YA novel and I don’t think it reads like one, with or without the sex.
Q: Or romance?
This is a persistent misconception, and I know why it lingers, but there are two reasons calling the book a romance is a complete misrepresentation:
- The romantic subplot isn’t the focus or the critical path of the plot.
- There is no HEA. (Spoiler? Sorta. Personally I think it’s obvious from the start, but clearly others have disagreed.)
Some examples of SFF books that are closer to being romance novels than this one:
OLD MAN’S WAR
(I actually think OLD MAN’S WAR is a gorgeous romantic novel, and I will die on that hill.)
Q: What’s with the pony tail on the cover?
Yeah, yeah, I know and I’ve heard it all. This is down to a couple of things:
- I didn’t want Fabio hair (see: IT’S NOT A ROMANCE NOVEL, DAMMIT), and given Trey’s Asian ancestry, I didn’t want something that looked like a queue.
- I struggled with this cover A LOT because it’s not a scene in the actual book, and if I was going to have to accept that, dammit, Trey was getting long hair.
If I were giving feedback today, I’d either have his hair long and loose (but not Fabio-like), or just have it short. But if I were giving feedback today, I’d push harder for a scene from the actual book.