Romance Books

#BookReview – “The Key” by Pauline Baird Jones

Book Review graphic

Blurb

She’s a stranded soldier. He’s an alien castaway. Can their love save a galaxy torn apart by war?

Sara Donovan knew her top-secret expedition would be dangerous. But she never imagined she’d end up separated from her crew and stranded on an alien planet. When the smoke from her crash landing clears, she’s surprised to find a marooned resistance fighter ready to lend a hand. In a war-torn galaxy, Sara refuses to give her trust lightly… especially when she risks exposing the strange abilities she’s kept hidden since childhood.

Kiernan Fyn survives day by day on the hopes of exacting revenge on the warlord who murdered his wife. Sara is his ticket off the desolate rock to a new better future…until she’s targeted by hostile forces who thinks she holds the key to a long-lost civilization. In a fight for their lives, sparks fly as Sara and Fyn attempt to decipher their hidden connection with the powerful key before their ruthless enemies distort its power for galactic domination.

Review

In the first book in the Project Enterprise series, the US Air Force has the capability to travel into space and to different galaxies, but the majority of the population (both in the US and all around the world) doesn’t know this.

American pilot Captain Sara Donovan is on a mission to explore strange new worlds. After her fighter jet is shot down in battle with an unknown enemy, she crashes on a planet only to wake up in a cave with a gorgeous 7-foot tall man with black dreadlocks. Though wary of him at first, they soon team up to fight the bad guys.

Kiernan Fyn has been stranded alone on the watery planet of Kekk for around a year, and he saves Sara in the hope he could get her jet working. When her people find and rescue her, he tags along and joins their crew.

There is a legend in the galaxy about a woman named Miri who started a war between the Dusans and the Gadi, but would return and end the war. For hundreds of years, the Dusans have destroyed and conquered several worlds, killing countless millions of people in the process. The Gadi are powerful but too arrogant to fight back against the Dusans; instead, their allies (a renegade group called the Ojemba) fight the Dusans for them. All three groups of people believe there is a hidden Garradian outpost on the planet of Kekk, but they cannot find it after centuries of searching. Miri is said to have been the last of the Garradian people and the key to ruling the outpost, and hence the galaxy.

Fyn belongs to the Ojemba and has done many dark, cruel things in the name of revenge against the Dusan. After so long a time with no contact with the Ojemba, Fyn believes they think he’s dead, so he tries to start a new life with Sara and her crew. Sara, however, looks just like Miri who disappeared centuries ago, and she draws the attention of the warring parties in the galaxy.

Both Fyn and Sara are wonderful three-dimensional characters. They have detailed back-stories, hopes, dreams, and fears. They’re flawed but strong-willed and honorable. Neither of them likes to talk about their pasts, which led to communication problems that could’ve easily been avoided.

There’s a great cast of secondary characters, both on the heroes’ side and on the villains’.

The space battles were awesome! Lots of people died, but reading about jets blowing up was great.

The story is a little wordy and could use a light edit. It’s also super long (about 7000% on my Kindle), but all of the scenes felt as though they were needed and served a purpose. Sometimes the story had detailed descriptions, but at other times the word “stuff” was used when describing the things people were wearing and seeing. That was confusing. The story definitely has a Star Trek and Star Wars feel to it, but I didn’t understand all of the pop culture references and unusual word choices.

I enjoy sci/fi and alien romances, but this story felt more sci/fi than romance. The plot revolved more around Sara’s mysterious origins and the warring civilizations than on Sara and Fyn’s relationship. The romance between the H/h bloomed very slowly. All the sex scenes faded to black, which I found disappointing since Sara was a 28-year-old virgin with a very big and virile man. Losing her virginity should’ve been a wonderful, overwhelming experience for her, but the H/h treated it as no big deal.

The book is fast-paced and kept my attention. There are some unanswered questions, but hopefully they’ll be answered in the next book in the series. Still, I would like to read more about these modern-day space-hopping Americans exploring this new galaxy.

4 Stars

— If you’ve read this book, I’d love to know what you think of it. Please comment below.