Dear Bratty Friends,
I read Daughters of Persephone 1-4 by Julia Barrett over the last two weekends. I promised her a review, and here it is!
Book 1 "Exile" is where the tale begins. The 69-page novella tells the story of Aja, the first of four women we meet in the series. She comes from a legendary family line and there is much back story included in the book that shows the extensive world building the author did for the series.
The plot starts with the forced landing of a space vessel and a rather sick captain, but the story is really about the relationship between him and the ship's passenger Aja - and her many powers, which are always leading the story in new directions. In this case, straight into the events of Book # 2, “Return.”
In Return we meet the second sister, Ennat, and the third, Tem, but this book is really Ennat’s love story. Tem has to wait until Book # 4! This book doesn’t dwell on the world building as much as Exile, so that is a plus, but there are some similarities.
Both novellas share the same arch nemesis, who finally meets his end in book 2.
Both include a love story between one of these Sisters “of the Blood” and their chosen mates.
Both involve the build up to a battle that takes place at the end of book 2.
But the build up in these two novellas doesn’t end with a bang in book 2, it ends on more of a side note, or to be more precise, a flashback in an epilogue. That indicates to me that the writer chose to focus more on the love stories in these two works rather than on the external conflicts directly.
In Book 3, “Reborn,” the author shifts the story to a different time period, and tells the story of Issa, who is a descendent of the ladies we met in books 1 & 2. Buy far the longest of the four works, at 95 pages total, the story reaches far and wide, pulling in characters from different times and adding a whole new twist to the bloodline – a new kind of “sista” who’s not a sister at all! A good surprise.
We also see more of Tem and the many other secondary characters that inhabit these worlds, as well as a new adversary – one that is dispatched in this novella and doesn’t hang around for book # 4, unlike the villain in 1 and 2.
But we do see a repeat of the author’s same quick style of dispatching the final external conflict scene. The couple have a quick rescue and reunite, and then flee the scene, leaving some tension previously built up in the story unresolved – not for them of course, but for the reader.
Which brings me to Book # 4, "Red Demon." This was perhaps my favorite of the series and it tells Tem’s love story. It’s the shortest one too - just 46 pages - but I felt more for sympathy for Tem’s character by then. She’d already been through so much – and then to get a good spanking on top of it! Well, I'm sure you can imagine how that might end! :)
And while the story mainly centers on internal character conflicts, it doesn’t leave any external ones hanging, so to speak, so all the ends are tied neatly together.
Over all, I credit the author with doing extensive work on world building, keeping the story line straight (which is hard to do when it involves time travel!) and good use of the secondary characters and their story lines to add quite a bit to the series. She was also consistent in her love scenes and made use of similar “bonding” type rituals across all four books, which is helpful so as not to confuse readers with how it all works. *grin* The works are also not erotica nor do they read like it, so that is also in their favor IMO.
But if I could hit the “do-over” button, I’d have the author go back, expand the works to full-length size so she had more room to spare, and give us the full force of those final battle scenes. Why?
Because IMO I think it’s almost a necessity of the Science Fiction Romance genre that we get not only the love story, but some of the ugly parts too. Strong female characters. Bad bad guys. High stakes. Battles to the death. They don’t have to be glorified battles, but they do need to be included, I think. That, and some good smexin’ as well of course. That’s SFR in a nutshell for me!
But if other readers wish to avoid what at times can be the more violent parts in SFR, I certainly understand that. So if that's the case for you, please don't hesitate to pick up Barrett’s works and give them a try!
Four novellas, four love stories, same world, and it will keep you reading for a few days at least, I promise.
P.S. You can buy the entire series here: http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/211.html