Review: Claim of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: Claim of Eon by Anna HackettClaim of Eon (Eon Warriors #6) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Eon Warriors #6
Pages: 209
Published by Anna Hackett on July 6th, 2020
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

She’s an alien warrior dedicated to her job, but a tough, handsome Terran captain is a temptation she never expected.

As a female Eon warrior, Second Commander Airen Kann-Felis has fought for her career and is proud of her work aboard the warship, the Rengard. She has no time for men or frivolous pleasures, especially with the deadly insectoid Kantos causing the Eon trouble at every turn. When the Eon Empire makes an alliance with the small planet of Earth, she never expected to be working alongside a man like Sub-Captain Donovan Lennox. A good-looking, smart, and tenacious man who tempts her in ways she’s never been tempted before.

Donovan Lennox was born for space, and he’s happy to be aboard a high-tech Eon warship and helping to take down the Kantos. He’s even happier to work with the disciplined, independent female Eon warrior who is very easy on the eyes. Donovan believes in respect and pleasure, but what he doesn’t believe in is the myth of love. It was the one lesson his loser dad managed to teach him. As Donovan tries to tempt Airen into playing with him, she’s keeping her walls up, even as every second they spend together draws them closer.

When Airen and Donovan are on a shuttle mission together, they find themselves under attack by the Kantos and forced to crash-land on a deadly prison planet. With only each other to depend on, both of them will have to learn to trust each other, or they stand no chance at winning the race to survive the Kantos, or the prison planet’s dangerous creatures and bloodthirsty criminals.

My Review:

This is one of those stories that leaps from one crisis to another. It’s frying pans and fires all the way down, cooked by a chemical reaction made from the combustible relationship between Airen and Donovan – and the heat of incoming weapons fire.

The Eon Warriors series, beginning with Edge of Eon, takes place in a not-too-horribly distant future. It’s both epic space opera and epic science fiction romance in one terrific package. Not that all of the Eon Warriors don’t seem to come in absolutely fantastic packages all by themselves!

In this version of the future, the Eons are one of several advanced races that are out exploring the galaxy, and the Terrans of Earth are basically uncouth upstarts just beginning their exploration of the stars. First contact did not go at all well, because the original Terran delegation seems to have consisted entirely of entitled assholes who weren’t able to even admit that they weren’t the superior race.

Sound familiar?

So the Terrans went it alone, developing a tough and scrappy attitude towards space exploration – at least until they ran headlong into the insectoid Kantos. Or the Kantos found them. That first contact was NEVER going to go well, as the Kantos are a race that expands territory purely by conquest and extermination. They don’t negotiate with anyone about anything.

The Terrans are outgunned at every turn. Even the assholes finally admit that we need help. And the only help they know about are the Eon Warriors they pissed off early on. Their plot to get the Eons’ attention – and on their side – is as assholish as the first contact was. Just with much better results.

That story is in the first three terrific books in the series, Edge of Eon, Touch of Eon and Heart of Eon.

By the point of this story, the Eon Empire and the Terrans are very much on the same side. As the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The Kantos are very much a mutual enemy, and in their mutual need to keep them at bay – if not on the run – the Eons and the Terrans have bonded. Sometimes literally, as several Eons have found their mates among the Terrans.

And that’s where this story begins. The Eons and the Terrans are experimenting with joint operations and mixed crews. They each need to learn the strengths of the other, and to get over any lingering prejudices that remain from the decades when their peoples strove to deliberately keep half a galaxy between them.

But the Eons, who have been having less and less success finding mates among their own people, have to admit that in the scrappy Terrans they have found something their own people have been lacking for some time.

Successful relationships. Romantic partnerships. Pair-bonding. Except that, as this story opens, neither of the protagonists is looking for anything of the kind. Or even believes that it exists – at least not for them.

Which means that when they do bond, each is incapable of accepting that the other is all in. And they are both afraid that between the Kantos on their tail, the engineered bioweapons that patrol the prison planet they’ve crashed on, and the prison wardens who kill on sight, they won’t live long enough to find out.

Escape Rating B: The romance in Claim of Eon could be seen as the flip-side of the romance in book 4 in the series, Kiss of Eon. Albeit with a bit of a twist. Where in the earlier book, the Terran is a ship’s captain, and the Eon is an exchange officer on her ship, they are not exactly equals. It’s her ship and her crew and he’s there because he’s the one who has to follow her orders. This time around, while the genders and species are swapped, what makes it really interesting, and provides some unanswered questions for the future, is that it’s not about whose ship and crew is behind them this time. Second Commander Airen Kann-Felis and Sub-Captain Donovan Lennox seem to be at about the same rank. Both of them in the middle of careers that have not yet reached the pinnacle of a ship’s captaincy.

They both begin the story with career goals yet to reach, and personal demons hiding in their emotional baggage that add to the difficulties they will face in any relationship. Not that either of them intends a relationship when this story begins.

Donovan wouldn’t mind a friends-with-benefits relationship at all, but the double-standard is still very much in play. As one of the rare female Eon warriors, and an orphan who has no family connections to help her along, Airen feels that she has to put her career first at all times. She is unfortunately all too aware – and from first-hand experience – that her male counterparts among the Eon Warriors have a difficult time – to say the least – accepting that a woman can be every bit the driven warrior that they are. So she shies away from relationships.

Donovan’s experience with bad relationships is second-hand. His dad was a loser who left his mother to raise him alone. That she never recovered emotionally from that betrayal leads him to believe that love is for losers, and that relationships are foolish.

Of course they’re both wrong.

There’s also a big story overarching the individual romances in each book in the series. The Kantos are after both Eon and Earth, and the events in this story portray their latest attempts. And while they fail in their pursuit – this time – by the time the story ends we’re aware that they haven’t given up – merely changed their focus.

The Kantos have had no luck pursuing the Eons, so as this book ends the ship receives word that the enemy has gone after what they perceive is the weaker link in the alliance. They’ve attacked Earth. Which means that the next book is going to see at least some of the Eon Warriors racing to assist their allies.

But in this story, we have a reluctant romance going on in the midst of an out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire, edge of the seat adventure, as Airen and Donovan seem to escape one Kantos trap only to find themselves enmeshed in another. So come to Claim of Eon for the romance, and stay for the thrill ride. Or the other way around! Either way, if you love science fiction romance, you’ll be glad you did!

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