Saturday, March 4, 2023

Dianne Duvall - The Segonian

Eliana's life has never been what one might term ordinary. At least, it hasn't been for a very long time. As a powerful Immortal Guardian, she spends her nights hunting and slaying psychotic vampires that most of humanity doesn't even realize exist. Then an opportunity arises that instantly makes her extraordinary existence seem downright boring. The leader of the Immortal Guardians asks her to guard a group of mortals who are embarking upon a voyage across the galaxy to the planet Lasara. How could she possibly say no?
In no time at all, Eliana is hurtling through space on board a Lasaran battleship and getting to know not one but two alien races. It's the most exciting adventure of her long life... until the ship is unexpectedly attacked. Amid the chaos and destruction that follow, she valiantly helps everyone she can before an explosion renders her unconscious. When Eliana awakens, she finds herself alone, floating in space, clad only in a spacesuit, with no ship in sight. Alone--that is--except for the warm, deep voice that carries over the comm in her helmet.
Commander Dagon and the crew of the Segonian battleship Ranasura respond to a distress call from their Lasaran allies and join a massive Alliance-wide search-and-rescue mission. He quickly achieves communication with a lone Earthling female and races toward her. Every time they speak, his fascination with her grows and he becomes more desperate to reach her before her oxygen supply runs out. Her strength, bravery, and humor entice him, even more so when she defies all odds and they meet in person.
As he and Eliana embark upon a quest to find her missing friends, a bond swiftly grows between them that deepens with every laugh and smile and tender touch they share. But they are not the only ones searching for Earthling survivors. When Eliana herself becomes the hunted and their enemies begin to close in, can the two of them fight their way to victory, or will their enemies take everything?

Comment: I'm a little behind on this author's work. This is the second installment in the Aldebarian Alliance series, a parallel series to the Immortal Guardians one, meaning the main core of characters remains familiar even if new ones are introduced. The Guardians is a PNR series, the Aldebarian is romantic sci-fi.

In this story, which is immediately sequenced after the events of The Lasaran, immortal guardian Eliana is now stuck in a space suit, floating in space and waiting for rescue after the ship where she and some fellow women from Earth were was attacked. Many probably didn't survive but Eliana had helped some of the women into pods, so that they could be rescued and now Eliana herself is in a dire situation. A friendly ship is able to contact her, however, and she hopes they can help her but it will take them longer than what her oxygen will last. Still, the commander of the ship, the Segonian Dagon, wants to do what he can to help this woman, whose voice remains optimistic despite her situation. When she is rescued, it seems this connection between them will become stronger, but in the big scheme of things, will they be able to know what happened to the others and perhaps defeat enemies in the process?

Going back to read a few things I've wrote about what it was like to read The Lasaran, I was not completely impressed with the romance and overall story, but two years have passed, more or less, and I was hoping my attention towards The Segonian would put it in a better light. Thankfully, that was what happened and, in part, I suppose it was because of Eliana, a very good heroine.

Several chapters in the beginning are dedicated to establish an emotional connection between Eliana, lost in space, and the crew of the Segonian ship, especially Dagon, their commander. They can only hear each other's voices but Dagon is friendly and helpful and Eliana is optimistic and funny, which means hope is certainly easier to blossom and the all expect rescue can happen. Since Eliana is an immortal she has ways to extend her oxygen levels by special breathing and lowering her heart rate and, later on, placing herself in stasis. I liked this section a lot, it gave us an interesting perspective on how easy it is to make a connection and I think this worked out well to plan for the incoming romance.

It is practically a given that Eliana will be rescued and when she finally is, of course I was glad and enthusiastic to see what would happen. Eliana is then on board of the Segonian with her new friends and the interactions between them all are cordial and full of novelties, which was quite fun to see developing. At the same time, the crew continues to look for other possible survivors and, because of this duty/task, they will have to face a somewhat complicated mission regarding the enemies and the rescue of a few other characters.

I confess I expected the good guys to do well, to find someone and help.. reading the blurb of the following novel in the series means that narrative will happen at the same time as this one, seen by different characters, and I'm certain this will provide key elements to make it seem as if the overall plot is advancing well. However, I was more interested in reading about Eliana's experience and her relationship with Dagon.

The romance was good enough, they respected each other and revealed consideration for what they were experiencing and all the necessary good elements that make a good and balanced relationship. The evolution of their feelings was believable and the author wrote things as if giving the idea they thought about what it meant before they acted. I also liked the apparent sexual tension sometimes disguised as friendship and comedy in one or two situations and how this made their feelings seem stronger as te interactions happened... but I also think that it was all a bit too easy, in the sense that they just clicked with almost no need to fight their emotions or something...

I mean, they are from different species, we have barely any information on Segonians or about Dagon's family... it's very nice that everyone on the ship seemed to like Eliana and I think we have a good notion she will be welcomed and will be integrated but I wanted more information. I suppose this book being focused on the plot it was, having stuff about Dagon or the Segonians might be too much, but... The way things were, I feel it could still have been better.

Despite what I'd improve or change, I was still quite happy with the story. It had action, it had emotions, it had sappy moments, it had battles where the good guys won... I will certainly read the next installments.
Grade: 8/10

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