Review: King of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: King of Eon by Anna HackettKing of Eon (Eon Warriors #9) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction romance
Series: Eon Warriors #9
Pages: 284
Published by Anna Hackett on September 5th 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

The King of the Eon Warriors has decided to take a Terran as his bride…but finds himself shockingly attracted to the tough, beautiful Space Corps officer in charge of his potential brides’ security.

King Gayel Solann-Eon is dedicated to his people and empire. His father was a hard man and a rigid king, but Gayel is doing things his own way. That includes working with his allies to defeat the ravenous insectoid Kantos. To strengthen the alliance with Earth, he’ll put his own wants and needs aside and take a Terran bride. But as the group of bridal candidates arrive on the Eon homeworld, he’s shocked by a stunning attraction to the Space Corps officer in charge of their security.
Captain Alea Rodriguez has worked hard to escape her awful childhood and make something of herself. Space Corps is her family and her work is her life. Escorting a group of women to an alien planet so a king can pick a bride has left her feeling like she’s on a reality television show. But she takes her job seriously and will keep them safe. What she never expected was her own powerful reaction to the alien warrior king.

Stealth attacks by the Kantos make it clear that no one is safe. Alea is sure that the aliens want to assassinate Gayel, and she’ll do anything to protect him, even as she fights to safeguard her heart. But Gayel is a king and a warrior, and as the two of them fight side by side, he will also convince Alea to risk everything: for their people, for their hearts, and for a bond that won’t be denied.

My Review:

The story in King of Eon reminded me very much of the immortal words of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns. You know the quote, even if you don’t remember who said it. It’s that old saying about the best laid plans of mice and men going oft astray – or variations thereof. The original words went as follows, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.” A truism that applies every bit as much to kings and Kantos as it does to mice and men.

Readers have been watching the growth of the alliance between the Eon Warriors and Earth, against the swarming, insectoid Kantos since its rocky beginning in the first book in this series, Edge of Eon. (That’s a big hint to start there at the beginning and not here at the end.)

The Eon Warriors and the Terran Space Corps have united against their common enemy, the Kantos. The big bug-like creatures who are nipping at both species’ heels – along with any other body parts they can reach. The Kantos want to swarm, consume and destroy, while the Eons and the Terrans are hoping to live and let live once the threat is eliminated.

As long as the threat doesn’t eliminate them first.

Gayel, the king of the Eon Warriors, has observed as the ties between his people and the Terrans have gotten stronger – and more intimate – as the series has progressed. Several of his warriors have found their mates among the Terrans. Gayel sees the future of his people going from strength to strength as part of this alliance, and decides, for the future of his own people, that he should set an example by finding his future queen among the Terrans.

It’s not actually a bad idea, but his plan for accomplishing that goal is doomed to fall prey to the old saying about mice and men. Gayel determines that he will find his bride through a process that sounds a bit too much like the reality TV series The Bachelor. And with the same odds of long-term happiness as the show.

That Gayel falls for the Space Corps officer assigned as security for his prospective brides instead of one of the actual prospective brides isn’t much of a surprise – not even to his friends and family. He was never going to fall for, or make a successful match with, a pampered princess – and he didn’t.

But Captain Alea Rodriguez, as much as she may want the man who occupies the throne, has no interest in becoming a queen – as well as zero belief that she might be worthy of the honor.

While the course of true love is running far from smoothly, the Kantos are hatching plans of their own. They need to break the alliance between Eon and Earth before the alliance wrecks their plans to destroy both their enemies and gobble up the remains.


Escape Rating B+: King of Eon is a fittingly epic wrap-up to this series, and there is plenty that needs wrapping up to get all of the previous relationships – along with the people of both races – to move from “happy for now but still seriously worried about the future” to happy ever after.

It’s a wild ride and a thrilling read from beginning to end – especially because there is so much left to get wrapped up when this final entry in the series begins!

Gayel’s idea to cement the alliance with Earth by marrying a Terran woman is a solid political decision. It’s been done for centuries on Earth, marrying for alliance instead of love. The problems with the execution of said idea are obvious from the start, because Gayel also wants some kind of real marriage, if not of love than at least of mutual respect and duty. He does not want to marry someone whose ambition is to be queen. He needs someone who will see it as the duty and responsibility that it is and share that duty with him.

And that’s not the scenario he’s set up, as everyone around him realizes long before he does.

At the same time, he’s the linchpin for the alliance with Earth, not because he’s planning to marry a Terran but because Eon is much the stronger partner in the alliance. If he falls, especially if it can be made to seem as if his death is somehow the fault of the Terrans, the alliance will fall apart and the separated allies will be easier to pick off one by one.

So in between the various events that are scheduled for Gayel to choose a bride, the Kantos have scheduled a series of assassination attempts and stealth attacks that get more desperate, more dangerous and more relentless each time they are thwarted.

In the end, the Eon Warriors and the Terrans are going to have to bring the fight to the Kantos – who have already brought the fight to Eon territory with devastating results. The climactic battle is, of course, climactic in more ways than one as the Terran Captain and the Eon King make one final push – with more than a little help from all their friends – to end the conflict once and for all.

The romance in this story, with its backdrop of the bachelor king seeking a bride, was a lot of fun. While it’s obvious early on that Gayel and Alea belong together, their reasons for resisting the attraction feel right for the story. That they can’t resist is what puts the icing on the romantic part of this particular book-cake.

The war with the Kantos felt like it needed a bit of help, not just from all their friends but from more than a touch of deus ex machina. For a species that has been such a big and long-running threat, the denouement of their people as a conquering race was exciting but felt a little too fast and the moral dilemmas of their potential genocide dealt with a bit too easily.

Not that I wasn’t glad to see that problem resolved!

In summary, I loved the romance, thought the Kantos got eliminated a bit too easily, and saw plenty of possibilities for a followup to this series at some not-so-far-future date! Meanwhile I’m looking forward to more science fiction romance from this author when the first book in her Galactic Kings series (loosely linked to the awesome Galactic Gladiators) arrives at the end of the year!

Review: Soul of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: Soul of Eon by Anna HackettSoul of Eon (Eon Warriors #8) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction, science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Eon Warriors #8
Pages: 211
Published by Anna Hackett on February 16, 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

The last thing she expects is an instant mating with a handsome alien warrior…just before they are abducted by the deadly Kantos.

Commander Kaira Chand of the Australian Air Force knows the meaning of loss. She lost both her beloved husband and her father over recent years, and she vows never to let a man close again. As head of security for a secret weapons facility in the Australian desert, she’s fighting to protect the scientists working to defend Earth from invasion. That includes working with their allies, the Eon Warriors. What she never expected in her wildest dreams was to find herself instantly mated to a handsome, silver fox alien warrior.

Medical Commander Thane Kann-Eon lives to heal. He’s dedicated to keeping his crew aboard the warship, the Rengard, whole and healthy. Unlike his fellow warriors, he knows he’ll never mate. There hasn’t been a mating in his family for generations. Then a petite Terran commander changes everything. He’s instantly drawn to Kaira, and as soon as their hands touch, he’s stunned by the deluge of emotion that crashes over him. An unheard-of instant mating.

In the midst of their shocking connection, Kaira and Thane find themselves abducted by a Kantos strike team. Taken aboard a battlecruiser, they soon realize the insectoid aliens nabbed the wrong couple, and they are marked for execution. Now they face a wild race for survival that will take them to a distant, deadly world. They’ll both struggle with their raw, intense mating bond, against the backdrop of a Kantos proving ground where everything is out to kill them

My Review:

Soul of Eon begins in the immediate aftermath of the previous book in this series, the awesome Storm of Eon. Literally. As that story ends, Kaira and Thane experience an incredibly rare instant mating when the Kantos invade and kidnap them both.

There’s a lot to unpack in that description, now that I think about it. Which first leads to saying that this series is probably best read in order, starting from Edge of Eon. A LOT has happened since Eve kidnapped Davion! I’m not sure you’d have to read every single one to get everything in Soul of Eon, but the series is so good!

Where once the Terrans and the Eons were distantly neutral with each other, by the time that Soul of Eon takes place they have united against their common enemy, the insectoid Kantos. It’s not just that the two planets and peoples have come together to face a common foe, in the sense that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, but there have been plenty of personal “comings” together as several of the Eon warriors have discovered their mates among the Terrans – to everyone’s complete surprise.

There is an element of “fated mates” in this aspect of the story, along with a bit of the “Mars needs women” trope, but it works pretty well here. It certainly seems like the Terran half of the eventual couple can decide not to pursue the relationship – as Kaira does for a good chunk of Soul of Eon.

Eons are only fertile with their mates, so there’s a whole lot more at stake on their side of the equation but even then, it usually takes a while for the Eon of the couple to figure out that more is happening than just ordinary attraction.

So what Kaira and Thane experience as the story opens – technically as the previous story closed – is that they become instantly aware that they are fated mates. Not that they actually indulge in the sexual aspects of their bond right then and there. Because reasons – and they’re in public! At a party! With his boss!

Which turns out to be a good thing when the Kantos show up. Talk about the potential for an epic case of coitus interruptus!

It’s only after the Kantos, with Kaira and Thane their prisoners, take flight to return to the Kantos fleet that their captors realize that they have kidnapped the wrong couple. The Kantos are planning to “kill the spares” when fate intervenes.

All that Kaira and Thane have to do is survive on a planet filled with predatory flora and fauna, evade the juvenile Kantos who are using them, and each other, as deadly training exercises, and invade a highly secured base where they might possibly have a chance of contacting an Eon warship in time to save their asses – along with the asses of their very unexpected allies.

All in a day’s work for an Eon warrior and his reluctant would-be Terran mate!

Escape Rating B: I have enjoyed every entry in this and pretty much every single one of this author’s series, and Soul of Eon is no exception to that rule. And it can certainly be said that I had a much better time reading Kaira’s and Thane’s adventure than they had escaping from the Kantos during those same adventures!

For this reader, however, this was one of the books in this series that was a lovely reading time but wasn’t special in the way that Storm of Eon and some of the earlier entries in the series were.

Part of that has to do with the characters. I liked Kaira and Thane, but they didn’t stand out for me the way that Finley did in Storm. That being said, I did find it very interesting that Kaira was a widow, and that the reason she initially didn’t want to pursue the mating bond with Thane was that she just wasn’t ready to put her heart on the line again.

But she just didn’t stand out – or up considering Finley’s height – the way that Finley did.

The other thing about this story was that I kept having the feeling that I’d read it before – or at least I’d read something very similar before. I keep thinking that there was another story by this author that had similar elements – the part about the planet itself being out to get them – but the story I know this reminds me of is The Magic Mountains by Alexis Glynn Latner from the Pets in Space 4 Sampler. I’ll admit that this niggled at me a lot, to the point where my attempts to chase down the recollection took me out of the story.

Very much on my other hand, Soul of Eon provided some fascinating revelations about the Kantos, along with a marvelously effective bunch of Kantos rebels who have been mounting quite the effective resistance. And along with that bit of intel, we have a lovely teaser for the next book in the series, King of Eon. In order to cement the alliance between Eon and Terra, the King himself is planning to look for a wife among the Terrans. It’s pretty clear that he thinks he’s going to make a state marriage of convenience.

I’m pretty sure that his plans are not going to survive contact with whoever turns out to be his fated mate. I always love the story in each series where the leader gets setup to take the fall into love, so I’m really looking forward to this one!

Review: Storm of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: Storm of Eon by Anna HackettStorm Of Eon (Eon Warriors #7) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: science fiction romance
Series: Eon Warriors #7
Pages: 256
Published by Anna Hackett on January 15, 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

When a Terran weapons scientist finds herself the target of deadly alien assassins, only one fierce alien warrior can keep her safe.
Weapons scientist Dr. Finley Delgado wants to get her new laser defense weapon operational to protect Earth from the insectoid Kantos invasion. She has to make this work. She’s failed in the past and people paid with their lives, and she won’t fail again. What she doesn’t need is a big, brawny warrior that Space Corps orders her to work with getting in her way. Finley wants her solitude, not a massive distraction in the shape of a tall, hard Eon warrior.
Security Commander Sabin Solann-Ath is a warrior through and through, like his entire family before him. He’s disciplined, dedicated, and hiding a dark secret he’d prefer to keep buried. He won’t allow anyone or anything to disrupt his control. When he’s ordered to Earth to help with a secret weapon, he vows to do everything he can to help their allies, even work with a statuesque, prickly scientist. He and Finley get off to a rocky start…but when the Kantos send a team of assassins after Finley, Sabin will do anything to protect her.
Sent to a secret facility deep in the Australian desert, Finely and Sabin are drawn closer and closer. She sees beyond the warrior to the man, and he uncovers a passionate woman. But Finley threatens everything Sabin has fought hard to control, and as they fight off the devious Kantos, they both will face the demons of their pasts.
**Each book in this action-packed science fiction romance series can be read as a standalone.

My Review:

There’s a very old Terran saying about not judging a book by its cover. But that’s just what Dr. Finley Delgado does when the Eon Warriors come to her research station to “help” her with the defense grid/weapon that she is developing for Earth.

Finley is just sure that the big, brawny Eon Warriors are only going to get in the way of her finishing the project. Even under the best of circumstances, Finley works better alone. Other people, even other scientists and engineers, just can’t keep up with her. Attempting to get them up to speed only slows her down.

And time is of the essence as this seventh entry in the terrific Eon Warriors series begins. The dreaded Kantos are on their way to Earth to strip it like a plague of intergalactic locusts before Finley’s weapon is operational.

Before the Terrans can get fully up to speed on assisting the Eon Empire with wiping the Kantos out of the galaxy.

But the Eon Warriors are all big, brawny and distracting. Finley is absolutely certain that anyone with that much brawn can’t possibly have all that much brain. And she really doesn’t need the compelling distraction from her work that Security Commander Sabin Solann-Ath is going to be.

It’s only after the Kantos send assassins into her highly secured facility with specific orders to eliminate Finley that she is forced to admit that, as much of a distraction as Sabin oh-so-definitely is, he’s also exactly who and what she needs to keep her alive AND help her finish the weapon in time.

The only problem is that Sabin isn’t just a distraction for Finley. She’s every bit as much a distraction for him, no matter how dangerous their situation or how very little time they have left.

Escape Rating A-: I love the Eon Warriors. Honestly, I at least like all of this author’s work, but her space opera-type science fiction romances have a special place in my heart, and Storm of Eon is no exception.

This series started off with the edge-of-the-seat SFR action/adventure romance of Edge of Eon, and the world developed for this series just gets more fascinating as it goes. (It is possible to read the series in any order, but it’s more fun if you start at the beginning!)

One of the fun things about this series is that there’s just this tiny element of the “Mars needs women” trope that works really well. Not that the Eons are Martians, and not that they actually NEED Earth.

The Eons have been exploring the galaxy for centuries, they don’t need any technological advances from us. But we provide them with a couple of things that their own society seems to have lost along the way.

In the fight with the Kantos, the humans are the plucky underdogs. The Eons have been on top for so long that they don’t really know how to come from behind. Humans have been on the back foot in fighting the Kantos from the very beginning, and we just keep coming up with weird, wacky and desperate ways to stay one step ahead – even if we have to come from behind.

The Terrans, out of desperate necessity, think outside of a box that the Eons have been contentedly ensconced in for, probably, eons. Their society is a bit on the rigid and stratified side.

That rigid stratification has led to an unfortunate side effect. Eons are only naturally fertile with their fated mates. They’re having an increasingly difficult time finding them – or they were until they met us – so they’ve been making do with test tubes – so to speak. The intermarriages between the Eons and the Terrans, starting at the very top of their society, are changing both worlds.

But this story, like many of this author’s romances, features a desperate fight for survival and a couple of the people fighting for that survival who are also battling an unexpected and initially unwelcome attraction for each other.

Both Finley and Sabin are convinced that they are not worthy of being loved, for reasons that make perfect sense in their respective societies but totally collapse when they meet each other.

It’s easy to understand why Finley has little belief that any man could actually want her. Unfortunately, not just for her but for all of us. Beauty standards for women seem to get narrower all the time, and Finley isn’t petite and willowy and is never going to be. She’s tall and strong and beautifully proportioned for the body that she has. It’s just not the kind of body that is considered to be beautiful

In addition, Finley has the personality of a velociraptor. (Not quite, but close.) The character she seriously reminds me of is Rodney McKay from Stargate: Atlantis. They’re both certified geniuses in multiple fields, neither of them works well with others, they suffer fools not at all, they make their minions cry on a regular basis and they are arrogant and abrasive to the max because they both know that they are the only person who can possibly save the day. Because they have before and will again.

The thing is, all of those characteristics are considered what a genius is due when they are in a male package, but get criticized and beaten down at every turn when a female displays the exact same behavior.

And Finley isn’t willing to be anyone’s pity fuck, no matter how much she’d like Sabin to do her in pretty much every way possible.

Sabin’s problem is a bit different. He’s as handsome – and arrogant and sometimes overbearing – as any of his brethren, but he holds a secret that makes him afraid of any emotional involvement.

His physiological responses to stimuli, to pain and especially pleasure, are too sensitive – and even more so when enhanced by the symbiont that is part of all of the Eon Warriors. It means that Sabin has the equivalent of an addictive personality – just ramped up to the max. He can get lost in any kind of pleasure, whether that’s delicious food, intoxicating drink or drugs, or sex and the endorphins that come from love.

His father became an addict to those sensations, and Sabin is afraid that he’ll go down the same path if he lets himself get involved with Finley.

They are afraid of each other, afraid for each other, and deathly – and correctly – afraid that if they can’t keep their shit together their distraction is going to get a whole lot of people killed. And that even if they succeed in powering up the weapon their careers are going to wrench them apart.

But Finley’s job is to save at least this day for Earth. Even if she has no hope that tomorrow will take care of itself. That Sabin and Finley find a way to each other past their fears makes the romance of this entry in the series every bit as pulse-pounding as the impending Kantos invasion. But a whole lot more fun!

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

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!

Review: Mark of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: Mark of Eon by Anna HackettMark of Eon (Eon Warriors #5) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: ebook
Genres: science fiction, science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Eon Warriors #5
Pages: 215
Published by Anna Hackett on December 29th 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

Oil and water. Fire and ice. Terran space marine and rugged alien warrior.
Space marine Lieutenant Jamie Park has a reputation as tough as steel…just the way she likes it. A horrible childhood and her marine training have forged her into a strong woman, and she’s never seen a fight she’d back down from. Taking on the voracious insectoid Kantos is her focus, even if that means being assigned to the Eon warship, the Desteron, and working with the one arrogant alien warrior who’s seen her vulnerable and weak.

Medical Commander Aydin Kann-Ath lives to be the perfect warrior and doctor. All his life, he's worked to restore his family's tarnished honor. He has no room in his life for anything but his work, and that includes a headstrong, battle-hardened Terran who -- even when injured -- refuses to follow orders. Yet every minute he spends with Jamie, she ignites both his temper and his desire, and he can't seem to stay away.

With every interaction, Aydin finds himself fascinated by Jamie's courage and spirit, and Jamie finds herself consumed by a fiery attraction that terrifies her. On a dangerous hunt to find symbiont lifeforms that have been stolen by the Kantos, the pair can't ignore their passionate connection. But the evil Kantos threaten not only their lives, but the fate of the galaxy, unless Jamie and Aydin sacrifice it all to stop them.

My Review:

The Eon Warriors series is exactly the kind of space opera type of science fiction romance that got me hooked on SFR in general and Anna Hackett in particular. My first Anna Hackett book was At Star’s End, the first in her Phoenix Adventures series, and I think I’ve read everything since. If I’ve missed one or two, I certainly haven’t missed much.

But they’ve been all over the SFR map. Hell Squad is post-apocalyptic, Galactic Gladiators is wormholes and rescued captives, Team 52 is Earthbound Stargate. They’ve all been fun, but I’d really been jonesing for more space opera when the Eon Warriors burst onto the SFR scene with Edge of Eon. And I was hooked all over again.

The first three books in the series, Edge of Eon, Touch of Eon and Heart of Eon form a strong unit. They’re almost a single story in the way that the action follows the Traynor sisters of Earth who have been coerced/convinced/strong-armed into doing some really stupid things to people and places in the Eon Empire out of a truly desperate need to get the Eons’ attention.

That Earth needs to be that desperate because they really, seriously, totally and completely screwed the pooch in Earth’s first contact with Eons is kind of icing on the cake. Humans and their phobias can turn us into serious assholes – and that’s pretty much what happened.

The Eons and the humans have a mutual enemy – the insectoid Kratos. (Someday I want to find out that the Kratos and the Gizzida – the enemies in Hell Squad – are cousins or something. Let’s just say there’s a serious family resemblance.)

The enemy of my enemy is my friend – or at least my ally. The humans, after all, were merely assholes to the Eons. The Kratos want to conquer and destroy. Assholishness definitely takes a back seat to that.

Notice I’m not saying that the Kratos are evil per se. For that matter neither are the Gizzida as a race. They are both acting out their species imperatives. It’s just that our species imperative – and that of the Eons – is diametrically opposed to theirs.

So, in the name of fighting that common enemy, the Eons and the humans have banded together for mutual aid. The humans needs the Eons a lot more than the Eons need the humans, or so it appears on the surface.

But the humans are used to fighting against enemies who are bigger, stronger, more technologically advanced and better equipped than they are – problems that the Eons haven’t faced in millennia, if at all.

And there’s just something about humans – something that hasn’t been studied yet but hopefully will be. Eons are only fertile with their true – or fated – mates – or in a test tube. They’ve been increasingly going the test tube route because they’ve been decreasingly finding their true mates. Until those pesky Traynor sisters got involved, proving that Eons can EASILY find their mates among the human population.

And that’s where we are in Mark of Eon. The Eons and the Terran Space Marines are conducting joint operations and officer exchanges, figuring out a way to work together to take the fight to their mutual foe.

Along the way, some individual Eon Warriors and some individual Space Marines keep discovering that, while they are all far from perfect, they can be perfect for each other.

“These are their stories…”

Escape Rating B: I couldn’t resist that tagline. It just fit.

But seriously, now that all three Traynor sisters have found their mates among the Eon Warriors, the romantic action of the series has moved to the officers and crew of the Terran space fleet as they cross-train with the Eon Warriors.

A pattern has emerged in this series, as often does in a long-running series. Each story has two elements, one from the overall arc and one the individual romance.

Taking the battle to the Kratos – or at least trying to advance that initiative, is the focus of the overall arc. The Kratos are as determined and seemingly as advanced as the Eons, so that arc moves one step forward and two steps back – or the other way around – in each book. And there’s always a scene where the hero and heroine are directly in danger from the Kratos and isolated from their ship and crew to add to the tension.

The romantic pairings have generally focused on two scarred people who make each other strong in their broken places. In the case of Terran Jamie Park and Eon Warrior and Medical Commander Aydin Kann-Ath, it’s a romance between two people who have never felt like they’ve been enough and have a difficult time believing that each might be enough for the other.

I enjoyed reading Mark of Eon, just as I have pretty much everything Anna Hackett has written. Because it hews so closely to a formula that has become a bit obvious, it qualified as good mind candy for me but didn’t rise to the stellar level as the first books in this series did.

But I can always be in the mood for good mind candy, and the Eon Warriors are definitely that – probably excellent eye candy as well. I’ll certainly be back for the next entry in this series – and anything else this author wants to send my way!

Review: Kiss of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: Kiss of Eon by Anna HackettKiss of Eon (Eon Warriors #4) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: ebook
Genres: science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Eon Warriors #4
Pages: 211
Published by Anna Hackett on September 22, 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

When the vital alliance between Earth and the Eon Empire depends on her playing war games with an arrogant, infuriating Eon warrior, what could go wrong?
Terran Captain Allie Borden has her orders. Take her ship, the Divergent, and strengthen the alliance with the Eon by carrying out training exercises with the Eon warship, the Desteron. The only problem…one annoying warrior who gets on her nerves like nobody else. Forced to work with Second Commander Brack Thann-Felis, Allie finds her diplomacy skills stretched to the limit…and her body betraying her with a white-hot desire that’s getting hard to ignore.

Brack Thann-Felis is dedicated to his ship, his warriors, and his job. Watching his parents’ disastrous marriage has ensured that he will never mate or fall in love. Working with feisty, opinionated Allie tests his patience, but the more time he spends with the dedicated captain, the more he finds he can’t stay away from her.

As mysterious, dangerous sabotage events strike their ships, it becomes evident that someone wants their alliance to fail. They might have traitors among their crew and they both know it has to lead back to their enemy—the ravenous insectoid Kantos. Soon, Brack and Allie find themselves in a fight for their lives, with only each other to depend on, and a growing desire that will not be denied.

My Review:

If you blend a bit of fated mates with a touch of “Mars needs women” and stir vigorously with the tentacles of rapacious alien bugs you get something like the Eon Warriors series. And in spite of the tentacle stirrer, the mixture makes for a surprisingly delicious space opera-type science fiction romance.

Back in Edge of Eon, the first book in this series, we saw how it all began. Well, sort of.

Really, it all began several decades ago, when the Eon Empire first made contact with Earth. And the Terrans completely screwed the pooch. The Eons are superior in every way, and the humans acted like they were the totally “the shit” and that the Eons should give them everything they wanted just because they said so.

And the Eons, quite rightfully, told them to go away and grow up – and closed the borders of their empire.

But the alien insectoid Kratos have also discovered Earth, and they think it’s a juicy, ripe plum tailor-made for them to chew up and spit out. It’s what they are, and it’s what they do. Whether the Kratos are actually evil or just obeying a species imperative is up to the reader. But Earth doesn’t have the technology to survive repeated Kratos incursions over the long term. They just haven’t advanced enough yet.

Earth wants the Eons to get involved – on their side, of course. Their methods for involving the Eons, as exhibited in the first three books in the series, do make the reader wonder if the powers-that-be on Earth have learned a damn thing. It feels as if the Terran spaceforce succeeds in bringing the Eons onside in spite of themselves.

But succeed they did. Now that the initial overtures have been made and accepted, it’s up to the actual, serving officers and crew of the Eon Warriors and the Terran spaceforce to find a way to work together – after decades of thinking the worst of each other – to take the fight to the Kratos and kick them out of this sector of the galaxy.

Kiss of Eon is the first story where the action has fully shifted from just getting the Eons on board to truly working together. It’s a bit of a rocky start.

Dedicated Sub-Commander Brack Thann-Felis isn’t sure what the Terrans have to bring to the alliance. Not that they aren’t scrappy and determined, but they just haven’t made the necessary advances to be a real partner. Captain Allie Borden is determined to prove exactly what the Terrans bring to the table – and if she can manage to extract the stick that seems to be firmly wedged up Thann-Felis’ ass along the way, so much the better.

Especially since it’s a very, VERY nice ass. Even when he’s being one.

Allie and Brack strike sparks from each other from the first minute they met. Now they have to work together and overcome decades of prejudice on both sides. While the Kratos are doing their level best – or worst – to drive a wedge into their alliance before it can fully unite against them.

Escape Rating A-: For a relatively short book, there is a lot to love in Kiss of Eon – and not just the shape of Brack’s ass. Not that Allie doesn’t find that quite “admirable” all by itself.

Like many of the author’s previous series (Hell Squad, Phoenix Adventures, Treasure Hunter Security) there is both an individual romance and progress towards an overarching story in each entry in the series.

That overarching story is where my initial comments about fated mates and “Mars needs women” come in. The Eons are only able to naturally reproduce with their “fated” mate. The problem is that the Eon Warriors as a group, particularly the ones who become dedicated to their service to the empire, don’t seem to be finding their mates. Artificial insemination seems to have solved that problem – otherwise their people would be dying out.

However, as discovered in Edge of Eon, the Eon Warriors have discovered that humans are not merely prospective mates, but almost perfectly suited to become so. This seems to have more to do with the scrappy, never-say-die, take-no-prisoners attitude rather than anything physical, but it keeps happening, and the Eon Emperor has noted it explicitly. That an excellent reason for the Eons to help the Terrans is in the hopes that more Eon Warriors will find their mates among the Terrans.

It doesn’t seem to be coercive in any way – which keeps this trope from going haywire. It seems like they have to fall in love first – and THEN the mating drive kicks in, rather than the other way around. But it adds an interesting twist to the stories so far.

The Kratos are the “big bad” in this series. A big part of the overall story is the Kratos many, many attempts to conquer Earth, and the allies constant battles to push them away. This feels like the “long-haul” part of the story, and that conquering or subduing the Kratos will end the series. Eventually. Someday. Hopefully not anytime soon.

If the Kratos and the Gizzida (from the author’s Hell Squad series) don’t turn out to be some kind of intergalactic cousins, I’ll eat someone’s hat. They aren’t exactly the same beyond their function in the story, but there is definitely a “family” resemblance!

And then there’s the individual romance of this particular entry. It’s kind of a frenemies-into-lovers story. Brack and Allie aren’t really enemies per se, they just rub each other the wrong way and begin the story resisting a very strong impulse to rub each other the right way.

Brack isn’t sure what the Terrans bring to the table – but then neither are a lot of the Eon Warriors. Allie is well aware of that attitude, and feels the need to prove herself at every turn. Additionally, Allie is the Captain of her ship, a position that she has earned, and has plenty of ego to bring to the table along with that never surrender, never give up Terran attitude.

In addition to their differences, they also come to their romance from a similar point of view in that neither of them believes in love and that both of them have been dedicated to their careers. They both feel that they have plenty to prove on a personal level and that love only gets in the way of what they need to accomplish.

Watching them learn the lesson that loving someone doesn’t make you weak, but makes you strong, is the heart of their romance and makes their journey lovely to see.

Review: Heart of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: Heart of Eon by Anna HackettHeart of Eon (Eon Warriors #3) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: ebook
Genres: science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Eon Warriors #3
Pages: 213
Published by Anna Hackett on April 21st 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

Okay, maybe hijacking an alien commander’s warship wasn’t her best idea…

Genius computer geek Wren Traynor prefers her high-tech comp lab to socializing with people, and she definitely prefers it over crawling through the bowels of the huge Eon warship she’s hijacked. When Earth’s Space Corps blackmails her into this deadly mission, Wren will do anything to help her beloved sisters and save the Earth from invasion by the insectoid Kantos aliens. That includes entering into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the tall, hunky, and seriously enraged Eon war commander who captains the Rengard.

War Commander Malax Dann-Jad is a born protector and has forged a successful career in service to the Eon Empire. Haunted by an early mission where he lost good warriors, he’s dedicated to protecting his ship and its crew. Especially since his warship is carrying a special, top-secret cargo. But one tiny, infuriating Terran puts all that at risk when she commandeers his ship and refuses to listen to reason.

When the ravenous Kantos set their sights on the Rengard--using sneaky, underhanded tactics--Malax finds himself with an armful of curvy woman. He and Wren must join forces to fight back, and are shocked at their improbable, intense attraction. But with lives at risk, both will learn that strength comes in more ways than one and love can hit when you least expect it, and that in order to survive, you have to put everything on the line.

My Review:

Heart of Eon is the third book in Anna Hackett’s marvelous space opera romance Eon Warriors series. It also feels like it wraps up what I sincerely hope is just the first arc of the series, as these first stories have featured the Traynor sisters, Eve in Edge of Eon, Lara in Touch or Eon, and now Wren in Heart of Eon.

The Traynor sisters were manipulated and coerced by the Terran Space Corps to conduct extremely covert and highly illegal missions in Eon space. The sisters have all been caught between huge rocks and multiple hard places.

When the Terrans made first contact with the Eons, the Terrans acted like superior assholes. This had multiple problems and consequences, besides being just plain rude and stupid. First, the Terrans were far from the superior force. The Eons were light years ahead – and not inclined to put up with a bunch of idiots. Eon space closed itself to Terra, and were just fine with making their entire sector a no-fly zone. The Eons didn’t need the Terrans one little bit.

But not the other way around. The Terrans, still getting their space legs, are now under attack by the insectoid Kantos. The Kantos have a history of literally chewing planets up and spitting out the dead husks, and Earth is next. The Terrans are desperate to get the assistance of the Eons they spurned decades ago.

Their methodology is highly questionable, but the results they’ve achieved by the end of Heart of Eon are hard to argue with. Space Corps “persuaded”, for extremely manipulative definitions of the word persuade, the Traynor sisters to secretly enter Eon space and 1) kidnap a leading Eon starship Commander, 2) steal Eon sacred relics and 3) hijack an Eon warship.

Heart of Eon is the hijacking story, and as the story opens ace computer hacker Wren Traynor is in the bowels of an Eon warship, locked in a virtual battle for control of his ship with Eon War Commander Malax Dann-Jad.

It’s extremely debatable who is winning at this point. Malax has managed to shut down the ship’s faster-than-light (FTL) engines, but Wren is in control of navigation so they are still heading towards her assigned rendezvous point – albeit very, very slowly.

But there are a couple of things that Malax knows but Wren doesn’t. Or rather one bit of information that he’s revealed plenty of times but that Wren doesn’t believe, and one Eon military secret that he is desperate to protect from both Wren and their mutual enemy, the Kantos.

Wren refuses to believe that either, let alone both of her career-oriented military minded sisters have mated. She is particularly disbelieving that they have each become mated to Eon warriors, but they have. Those romances are the stories in the first two books in the series.

Which means that Malax is under orders not to harm Wren. That he’s secretly enjoying the cat and mouse game that they are playing with his ship is something he hasn’t admitted to himself.

He is also laboring under the misapprehension that the experimental nature of his ship is a secret from both the Kantos and from Wren, in spite of her rather effective exploitation of every single hole in his security network.

He’s wrong on both counts. Wren discovers the Helian symbionts secured in his ship when she hides in “their” hidden room from Malax – and one of the symbionts decides to merge with her tablet computer. The resulting entity, who appropriately adopts the name “Sassy” for herself (not itself, definitely herself), bonds with both the computing power of the Terran tablet and with Wren herself.

When the Kantos find the erratically piloted Eon Warship meandering in space, it’s clear from their first salvo that they are aware of the nature of the experiment – and that they plan on capturing the Helians at all costs.

Malax and Wren (and Sassy) will need to join forces to keep all of them out of the Kantos’ grasp. It won’t be easy. But it will allow them to finally give in to the simmering attraction between them.
It’s just going to take a little bit of help from their friends – including the Terran Space Corps.

Escape Rating A-: This entire series has been an absolute shipload of fun, and Heart of Eon is no exception. I love space opera type SFR, and if you do too, this series is a real treat!

Part of what I liked about this particular entry is that Wren is different from her sisters. They are all kickass heroines, but they are thankfully not all heroines in the same mold. Both Eve and Lara were military-types, so they quite literally kicked ass – and it was pretty awesome.

But all women are not alike, not even all sisters are alike. Wren is the different one among the Traynor sisters, but she’s different in a way that’s nearer and dearer to my own heart, as Wren is the geeky nerd in the family. Not that she’s not extremely capable and effective, but her effectiveness is completely different.

That she’s also not the tall, muscular, athletic type of heroine just makes her that much easier to identify with. She’s small and soft and curvy – which gives her a bit of a familiar-type of self-doubt. At the same time, she’s an absolute genius at her computer skills, and rightfully both proud of and confident in those skills. She’s still a heroine, but she’s relatable in her heroine-ness.

Her differences fascinate Malax, who falls for her exactly as she is. And accepts her exactly as she is, including her need to put her skills and talents to work in their fight against the Kantos. She has a job to do, and he doesn’t protest at her doing it – a difficult thing for his protective nature.

But Heart of Eon definitely feels like Wren’s show. And Sassy’s. Definitely Sassy’s. Sassy saves the day with a little bit of help from her Terran and Eon friends. Sassy is just a terrific character, in every sense of the word character. I hope we see her again.

Speaking of again, this series could have ended here. The Traynor sisters have all found their happy ever afters and they’ve accomplished their mission of getting the Eons on board for fighting against the Kantos WITH the Terrans.

But the ending of Heart of Eon foreshadows a new romance brewing between the captain of the Terran ship that helped save the day and the Eon Commander who can’t seem to stop himself from sparring with her, verbally if not otherwise. Yet.

I hope we see that romance, and the future of the Eon alliance with Terra in future installments of this series!

Review: Touch of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: Touch of Eon by Anna HackettTouch of Eon (Eon Warriors #2) Formats available: ebook
Series: Eon Warriors #2
Pages: 216
on January 6th 2019
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

She’ll do anything to free her sister and save the Earth from invasion, even if she’s blackmailed into stealing sacred alien artifacts…and becomes the prey of the dark, deadly warrior sent to hunt her down.

Special Forces Space Marine Lara Traynor wants to save her sister and her planet from annihilation by the deadly insectoid Kantos. Earth’s Space Corps give her one option: steal three gems sacred to the Eon Warriors. Lara has never failed a mission and she doesn’t plan to start now. What she doesn’t expect is the big, hard-bodied warrior the Eon sent to stop her.

Security Commander Caze Vann-Jad was born and raised to be the best Eon warrior in the empire. Honed by the military academy, his years as a stealth agent, and by his hard warrior father, he has never failed. He knows one weak, inferior Terran is no match for him. But when he finds himself face to face with the tough, skilled Lara, he realizes he’s underestimated the female warrior.

When they are attacked by a Kantos kill squad, it soon becomes clear that the Kantos are planning something far darker and dangerous. Caze and Lara are forced to change their dangerous battle of wits and skill into a fierce battle for survival. Neither of these fighters believe in love, but on the trail of a stolen gem, they will ignite an unstoppable desire, and discover that not only are their lives at stake, but their hearts as well.

My Review:

I love this series so far. That’s not surprising, as I love nearly everything Anna Hackett writes. Even the things I don’t love I usually like quite a lot.

That being said, there’s been something about the blurbs for the books in this series so far that has really bothered me. It’s the use of the word “blackmail” to describe how the Traynor sisters have gotten into the fix they are in. (It tasks me. It just tasks me!)

In the first book, Edge of Eon, Eve Traynor begins the story in the brig for a crime that everyone knows she did not commit. Her incarceration is part of a Space Force coverup. The true “villain” using the word loosely in this case, was her incompetent captain who just so happens to be the son of a high-ranking admiral. Eve was framed to protect both her idiot captain and his overindulgent mother.

Space Force convinces her to take the suicide mission they’ve lined by by offering her her freedom if she manages to complete her mission, and by threatening the lives of her sisters Lara (heroine of Touch of Eon) and Wren (heroine of the forthcoming not-nearly-soon-enough Heart of Eon).

Lara and Wren are conned into their respective no-win scenarios by threats both to Eve’s life and threats to each other’s lives.

While the entire mess definitely makes the Space Force brass into a whole bunch of slime, none of it is the “blackmail” that is stated in the blurbs and in the stories. Blackmail involves a threat to release incriminating secrets, and there are no incriminating secrets here. Eve’s incarceration, while not deserved, is also not secret. Neither Lara nor Wren seem to be guilty of anything except making a stink about their sister’s undeserved incarceration.

So none of this is blackmail. It is, however, definitely coercion. (All blackmail is coercion but not all coercion is blackmail.) They are all manipulated, and they are all lied to. They are individually coerced into separate no-win scenarios by threats to not their own lives but to the lives of the sisters that they love.

One also has the distinct impression that Space Force is playing its own win-win game. If the mission or missions fail, they have gotten rid of one or more thorns in their side. Any missions that succeed, well they’ll have managed to get the attention of the Eons and help for Earth against the deadly and despicable Kantos.

And Space Force is probably lying about any rewards that the sisters have been promised, particularly the reward that Eve will be pardoned and released. I doubt they ever believed that she would survive in the first place.

One thing that Space Force has not lied about or even exaggerated is the threat that the Kantos pose to Earth. The Kantos are bugs. Big bugs. Evil bugs. Highly evolved and specialized bugs. Nasty bugs all the way around.

They also feel like a cross between the Gizzida (from this author’s Hell Squad series) and the Borg, with a bit of Wraith from Stargate Atlantis thrown in for their use of humans as food. And for their hive ships.

In other words, the Kantos are seriously mean and nasty and have no redeeming characteristics from the perspective of either the humans or the Eons. The Kantos want to conquer Earth (and Eon) so they can strip their worlds bare and eat the inhabitants.

That the Kantos are in the form of giant bugs just makes them extra creepy. And icky. And did I mention creepy?

The story in Touch of Eon is not dissimilar to that of the first book in the series, Edge of Eon. Lara knows that her sister Eve was sent on a suicide mission, and has been told that if she completes her own mission her sister will be saved and freed. And that if she is successful in getting the Eons’ attention, they will help Earth against the Kantos.

All of the Traynor sisters so far have wondered at the wisdom of stealing from the Eons as a way of obtaining their help. It shouldn’t work. That it actually seems to be working is due more to a fluke of Eon biology than any planning on the part of Space Force – an organization which honestly couldn’t plan its way out of a paper bag.

In Touch of Eon, Lara’s mission was to steal the relics of the Eons’ greatest warriors. The relics, jewels containing primitive versions of the symbionts that provide the Eon warriors with their armor and weapons, are highly symbolic. They are also sought by the Kantos, for reasons that are not known at the beginning of this entry in the series.

But Lara is chasing – and successfully stealing, the gems. Eon warrior Caze Vann-Jad is enjoying himself just a little too much chasing – but not catching, Lara. Until they are forced by the pursuing Kantos to join forces against this latest threat.

And in the process discover that the reason they were having so much fun sparring with each other has to do with that thin line between hate and love. They are perfect for each other – if they can manage to live long enough to figure out what’s at the heart of their constant bickering.

And what’s hidden in each other’s heart.

Escape Rating A-: As you can tell, I loved this story. And it’s given me even more to think about than the first book in the series. At the same time, a lot of the story beats and even the way that the romance progresses is also very similar to Edge of Eon – which makes Touch of Eon an A- instead of an A.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Heart of Eon. Not just because I want to see the romance between the geeky Wren and her own warrior, but also because I’m really curious about where the worldbuilding goes from here. And I want to see some people at Space Force get what’s coming to them!

Review: Edge of Eon by Anna Hackett

Review: Edge of Eon by Anna HackettEdge of Eon (Eon Warriors #1) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: ebook
Genres: science fiction, science fiction romance, space opera
Series: Eon Warriors #1
Pages: 225
Published by Anna Hackett on December 9th 2018
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

Framed for a crime she didn't commit, a wrongly-imprisoned space captain's only chance at freedom is to abduct a fearsome alien war commander.

Sub-Captain Eve Traynor knows a suicide mission when she sees one. With deadly insectoid aliens threatening to invade Earth, the planet’s only chance of survival is to get the attention of the fierce Eon Warriors. But the Eon want nothing to do with Earth, and Eve wants nothing to do with abducting War Commander Davion Thann-Eon off his warship. But when Earth’s Space Corps threaten her sisters, Eve will do anything to keep them safe, even if it means she might not make it back.

War Commander Davion Thann-Eon is taking his first vacation in years. Dedicated to keeping the Eon Empire safe, he’s been born and bred to protect. But when he’s attacked and snatched off his very own warship, he is shocked to find himself face-to-face with a bold, tough little Terran warrior. One who both infuriates and intrigues him.

When their shuttle is attacked by the ravenous insectoid Kantos, Eve and Davion crash land on the terrifying hunter planet known as Hunter7. A planet designed to test a warrior to his limits. Now, the pair must work together to survive, caught between the planet and its dangers, the Kantos hunting them down, and their own incendiary attraction.

My Review:

Edge of Eon is the first book in Anna Hackett’s new science fiction romance series, Eon Warriors. So if you’ve ever had a hankering to try SFR in general or this author in particular (and you should, she’s terrific!) this is a great place to start.

The Eon Warriors series is space opera type SFR, one of my particular favorites. Lots of ships, lots of planets,, LOTS of politics, and a big universe in which to tell both big and small stories. If you’re wondering exactly what “space opera” is, think of Star Trek. THAT’s space opera.

Star Wars is more space fantasy, but I digress. As usual.

Our heroine is coerced or blackmailed into what seems like a suicide mission. Sub-Captain Traynor is in the brig. Space Corps framed her to take the fall when her Captain – the son of a high-ranking admiral – completely screwed the pooch in a mission against the predatory, insectoid warrior-race, the Kratos.

The Kratos want to conquer Earth and crack it open like an egg – and they’re winning the fight. Earth just hasn’t been spacefaring long enough to be really good at space warfare – and it looks like they won’t have time to learn.

Unless they can get the highly developed and highly advanced Eons on their side. The Eons are humanoid, a close relative of the people from Earth. But their high advancement has included a whole lot of civilization that Earth humans haven’t mastered yet. Basically, when the Earth folks met the Eons, the Earthers exhibited all the worst flaws of human behavior at one go. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t smart, and the Eons closed their borders and told the Earthers to leave them alone.

Which leads us right back to Eve Traynor. Earth’s back is against the wall. They’re losing the war with the Kratos. If the Kratos win, Earth will be stripped and its people will be either dead or food. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So Space Corps concocts the wild idea to kidnap one of the Eons’ leading ship commanders in order to get the Eons to help them fight off the Kratos. While this may seem like a bonehead play, when the people you are desperate to contact won’t take your calls it takes a big battering ram to get your foot in the door. Especially when you need to break down the door first!

Eve’s job is to kidnap Commander Davion Thann-Eon in order to somehow win the Eons’ cooperation, or at least get their attention. In return she gets out of the brig and more importantly has a chance of saving her planet and her people. Including her two younger sisters.

The kidnapping goes swimmingly, at least at first. But when the Kratos attack during the escape, it all goes pear-shaped really, really fast. Eve, Davion and the small skimmer she’s commandeered crash land on Hunter 7, a planet notorious for its rigorous testing of Eon warrior candidates. The Kratos are right on their tails while the planet attempts to kill them at every turn.

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. In the case of Eve and Davion, it makes them stronger together. And it still might kill them.

Escape Rating A: I have been waiting for this author to return to SFR, and Edge of Eon was definitely worth the wait. It hit that difficult balance between building a consistent science fictional world and telling a terrific love story.

It helps that the story reminds me of one of the absolutely classic SF romances, Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. And that’s epic company to be in. While Shards does not start with a kidnapping, the plot of two space commanders from not necessarily opposing sides but certainly not allies who have crashed on a dangerous planet with little hope of rescue and fall in love along the way is a classic for a reason. It’s a plot that works, forcing two reluctant allies to bond together in order to have a chance at survival.

The kidnapping is a nice twist – and reminds me a bit of Quantum, the second book in Jess Anastasi’s Atrophy series. That book also has the reluctant allies face a deadly planet scenario, with the protagonists each wondering if the other has betrayed them.

There are also a couple of classic SFR tropes built into Edge of Eon that are difficult to do well, but that are done quite well in this story.

The Eons have a population problem. Or rather, a procreation problem that leads to a population problem. The warriors are only fertile with their “fated mates”, and true matings have become very rare. Science has found a way around the problem through in vitro fertilization of scientifically selected genetic material, but it’s not an ideal solution for an entire species.

So the Eon Warriors need to increase their pool of potential partners in order to find their true mates. This is jokingly referred to as the “Mars needs women” trope. And when they do find them,  because of the way things are set up in this story, that’s the “fated mate” trope.

Of course, in our story, Eve and Davion turn out to be true mates. A fact which is going to sooner or later in the series lead to somebody figuring out that Earth is a potential source for mates for the Eons, giving the two species a reason to get together to fight the Kratos.

So far, this aspect is done subtly, but it’s definitely there. And it’s an aspect that has the potential to grow as the series progresses.

The fated mate trope can lead to insta-love, and if done poorly tends to feel a bit like an arranged marriage where the participants don’t really have a choice about who they mate with.

While Eve and Davion do fall for each other rather quickly, the circumstances that they have found themselves in do lead to fast bonding without the fated mate issue. That they don’t even guess that they might be true mates until after they have already fallen for each other keeps the fated mate situation from being too heavy handed.

But what really sells the story are the characters. We empathize with Eve and the rock and the hard place she’s caught between. Unfortunately it is also all too easy to see how a hide-bound bureaucracy turns into an “old soldier’s club” where children of the elite accrue favors they have not earned and people like Eve get the shaft. Or the cell.

That Davion falls for this tough, competent and dangerous woman makes sense. She’s someone who can meet him as an equal, and there are very few people who can do that, whether male or female. Forced to rely on each other, it’s not a surprise that they fall for each other, even if it does happen just a bit fast.

That the underhanded and desperate dealings of Eve’s Space Corps also set the scenarios for books 2 and 3 in this series makes perfect sense. I can’t wait for Touch of Eon in January to see how it all begins to play out.,