Review: Stellarnet Prince by J.L. Hilton

Format read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, audiobook
Genre: Science fiction romance, Space opera
Series: Stellarnet #2
Length: 252 pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Date Released: November 12, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance

An otherworldly love. Human blogger Genny O’Riordan shares two alien lovers: Duin, a leader of the Uprising, and Belloc, the only surviving member of the reviled Glin royal family. Their relationship has inspired millions of followers—and incited vicious anti-alien attacks.

A planet at risk. A Stellarnet obsessed with all things alien brings kidnappers, sex traffickers and environmental exploitation to Glin. Without weapons or communications technology, the planet cannot be defended. Glin will be ravaged and raided until nothing remains.

A struggle for truth. On Earth, Duin discovers a secret that could spur another rebellion, while on Glin, Belloc’s true identity could endanger their family and everything they’ve fought for. Have the Glin found true allies in humanity, or an even more deadly foe?

What goes around comes around. Saying that is a universal truth seems even more applicable when the entire universe is really involved.

The Glin believe in a kind of “rule by committee” and their society works as a type of ultimate democracy. They aren’t technologically advanced in the way that humanity strives for, but it works for them. And think of Starfleet’s Prime Directive. We don’t know the best way their society should develop. Their way might turn out better. Who knows?

So when a “ruling clan” developed among the Glin, a clan that reserved certain artifacts and certain special ways to themselves, traditional Glin rose up and wiped them out, down to the last child. Duin, one of the main characters in Stellarnet Rebel (reviewed here) led that rebellion.

Duin kept a secret. He may have been the hero of the Uprising, but he let one child of the Star Tribe survive. That child, that prince, was just a baby then. Now he is a full-grown Glin. He’s also Duin’s co-husband to the human Genny Riordan. It’s Belloc.

Secrets come full-circle. Genny is the hottest thing on the Stellarnet, the all-the-time/everywhere news channel/invasion that is our internet + television on way too many steroids.

Their life with Genny is broadcast to everyone, everywhere, all the time. They have fans. They have enemies. They have stalkers.

Duin is the Glin ambassador to the UN, or its equivalent. Genny’s parents think she should be deprogrammed, so that she’ll leave Duin and Belloc.

And there are even more predatory races than the humans who are sniffing around Glin, races that the humans are supposed to protect Glin from. But maybe they’re not. Maybe all the negotiations are just a smoke screen to keep Duin busy while the humans sell his planet out from under him.

Because there are secrets that he doesn’t know. And secrets the humans don’t know. Maybe Belloc’s secret identity as the last Star Prince is the terrible liability that Duin has always thought it was.

And maybe it will be enough to save every Glin from extinction.

Escape Rating B+: The science fiction romance aspects were toned down a bit in this story. After all, the relationship between Duin, Belloc and Genny is already established to a significant extent. Not that they don’t still have some work to do together.

The space opera aspects of the story are the ones that really come to the fore in this one. Lois McMaster Bujold’s comment about science fiction being the “romance of political agency” comes into play here. Duin starts out as a political newbie. He thinks he’s not, but the UN-type agency is the big leagues, and he’s only played in the minors up til now. He’s on guard, but the game is just so much bigger. He knows they are all lying to him, but the lies are way huger than he imagines. The particular lie was a doozy!

The subplot with Genny’s parents was just a shade too predictable. Everyone should have been way more on their guard for that one.

But the space opera was top-notch, and I loved the surprise ending! I hope there are more in this series. There’s some terrific world-building here, and I’d love to see more in this universe.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Wrapping up NetGalley January

NetGalley January is a wrap. Well, the thing is, January is over, and since the little snowman in the picture says it was NetGalley January, there you are. That’s it for the month.

Those of us signed up for the 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge are just going to have to soldier on, chortling with glee at all the lovely egalleys NetGalley will be sending us through the rest of the year. Every month can be NetGalley Month.

But back to the wrap. And I must use plastic wrap, since everyone needs to be able to see what I read.

Two books came out of my NetGalley TBR pile from September and October:






In addition to The Black Stiletto, which was fascinating, I also read the start of a very neat new mystery series, The Dharma Detective. I can’t wait for The Second Rule of Ten.



I also read a couple of Regency Romances from relatively new authors that were both a little different from the usual. It’s always interesting to see authors take the standard tropes and stretch the boundaries just a little bit. Or in the case of A Lady Awakened a “lotta” bit.

I read one YA/Cyberpunk that received a lot of buzz, and from the other posted wrap-ups, it looks like I’m not the only one who read Cinder. This title was highly anticipated. (I was turned down the first time I requested it, so I replied directly to the publisher outlining my specific review qualifications and was okayed on the second go-around).

Banshee Charmer is the start of a great new urban fantasy/paranormal series from a brand-new author. The author is doing a blog tour and the book is getting a lot of very nice attention.



I liked the first book in the Dark Dynasties series, Dark Awakening,  quite a bit, so when the second book, Midnight Reckoning listed on NetGalley, I grabbed it. Definitely fun for paranormal romance fans.



And, as always, I rounded out my reading month with titles from Carina Press. The icing on my reading cake: more urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and my science fiction romance fix for the month.










I posted thirteen reviews this month on NetGalley. I did finish a fourteenth book from NetGalley, The Devil of Jedburgh by Claire Robyns. But because I reviewed it for Book Lovers Inc., I can’t post the review on my site until after the review on BLI goes live, and that’s scheduled for February 9. I also finished The Night is Mine by M.L. Buchman sometime the night of January 31, but I can’t swear whether it was before or after midnight. I know that night was his, I just didn’t keep track of how much of it! So there you have it. My tally for this NetGalley Month. It’s all good for the 2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge. And it was all good reading!

Stellarnet Rebel

Stellarnet Rebel by J.L. Hilton is really good science fiction romance. The heroine is a blogger, which made it particularly fun for me! Not many blogger/heroines in science fiction romance. Or anywhere.

Genny O’Riordan is the blogger. She “shifts” in from Earth to Asteria to find a story that will make her blog, that is kick it up into the Stellarnet Top 100. That’s her big dream. The story she wants to break is a universal story of corporate greed, just moved out to the deep-space colony of Asteria.

Asteria sounds like Babylon 5 without the aliens and without the interstellar wars. (Well, almost, but we’ll get to that in a minute) Babylon 5 had “Downbelow”, where all the people who were too broke to buy passage back “home” and not skilled enough to get decent paying jobs mostly lived in the corridors. “Downbelow” was a slum, except with even fewer options. Asteria is a lot like a civilian Babylon 5, and there are too many people on Asteria who have either been forcibly shipped to or conned into shifting to Asteria and living as “overload” — in other words, living in the corridors and overloading the ecological systems. On a space station, that’s even more serious than on a planet, any planet. Humans can’t breathe vacuum.

There are also a lot of obsessive online gamers on Asteria, playing an immersive Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) called Mysteria. There’s no lag time if you live on Asteria, the way there is on Earth. That’s a big deal to a truly obsessed gamer.

Asteria has a military commander, Colonel Blaze Villaneuva. Blaze is the one trying to keep the lid on the pot. His U.S. Air and Space Force mostly act as MPs. And they keep Asteria flying. Blaze is a realist more than he is a stickler for the rules. And part of Blaze’s reality is that there isn’t any water in space.

Blaze gets most of Asteria’s water from Duin’s clandestine raids on a nearby planet, his former home.

Duin is a Glin. He’s an alien. He’s the only alien on Asteria. His planet was conquered, and devastated, by another alien race, the Tikati. So Duin spends his days in the Asteria Colony market, making speeches about the oppression of his people to anyone who will listen. Because Duin has read all about the human drive for freedom, and he believes that somewhere, some human will want to help him free his people. He just has to keep believing. And speaking.

The first time Genny walks through the Asteria market, she hears Duin speak. He is passionate about the plight of his people. He is also incredibly articulate, even in a language manifestly not his own. And Genny is utterly captivated by him. At first, she believes it is because she has found a story, and a cause, that will rocket her blog not just into the Stellarnet 100, but maybe into the Stellarnet Top 20.

But the more time she spends with Duin, the more she involved she becomes with him and his cause, the more she realizes that it is the man, the Glin himself, who has captured her heart and soul.

Does love mean the same thing to a Glin that it does to a human? And will the blind prejudice and hatred of other humans conspire to keep them apart?

Escape Rating B: I absolutely adore the idea of the Stellarnet. It seemed like a merger of the blogosphere, Twitter and the constant stream of headline news all rolled into one. As a blogger, Genny is online to her fans almost constantly, to the point where Genny does debate whether or not to blog herself having sex, complete with video. But the concept of the all-invasive, all-intrusive Stellarnet, of fans living vicariously through a blogger/star does not seem far-fetched from here.

Duin was a little bit too good to be true for me. Especially when Belloc, the second Glin, came into the picture. I understand that the author used Belloc to show that the Glin attitude toward sex and relationships was not just different, but, in fact, alien, but that part of the plot didn’t quite work for me.

I liked Genny and Duin together. It felt more realistic in the relationship when he got so caught up in the cause that he lost sight of the person he was involved with. That happens. Belloc’s plot maybe should have been book 2.

Speaking of book 2, Stellarnet Rebel is the start of a series. I’m looking forward to it!