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*Novel provided by the publisher via NetGalley
For more information please visit Jaime Craig's website.
There is nothing Aleron Pitre can't steal, nobody he can't con and no situation he can't slip out of—until he's sent to the prison planet Tantoret, where every sentence is death. If the prisoners don't kill each other, they'll die slowly from mining the poisonous drug chojal. Yet Aleron still hopes that he can escape.Outcast Mine by Jamie Craig is without a doubt one of my favorite books so far in 2011. The writing is phenomenal creating a wonderful science fiction setting filled with action and a romance that held me captive late in to the night. The charismatic characters quickly became some of my favorites proving that this writing team is definitely one to watch!
Only thirty Athaki guards keep the chaos of Tantoret in check, a race of aliens stronger and faster than their human charges. Most intimidating of all is the head guard, Jasak, who has his own reasons for being sent to Tantoret.
Amidst the darkness and desperation, Aleron and Jasak share an unexpected attraction. An attraction neither can resist when Jasak claims Aleron as his mate to protect him. Then they discover that both guards and inmates are planning a coup, while a traitor from an enemy nation threatens the whole planet. Suddenly escape from Tantoret isn't just Aleron's dream—it's a matter of survival for them both.
The world the authors created is was phenomenal with wonderful development that held a great descriptive quality. The unique locale of the Tantoret prison mining planet was amazingly vivid creating an atmosphere that was daunting and filled with danger. At times the claustrophobic details really added a brilliantly malevolent vibe that only added to the wonderful characterization. This was only emphasized by the complex yet easily decipherable social hierarchy made complete with the added aspects of the varies types of social struggles and rebellious agendas.
The character, however, are what truly had me hooked. From the first introductions Jasak and Aleron were completely charismatic, each showing great intelligence and strength. However, while Jasak, a hunter, was more formidable in his physicality, Aleron's strength was more evident in his uncanny ability to reason through problems and read people, skills that came in handy in his thieving profession. The instantaneous connection between these two was a crackling connection that I was eager to see develop.It definitely didn't take long until it turned scalding creating a romance and bond that at times had me holding my breath. The individual histories of these two men was also wonderfully creating with rich details and enthralling emotional appeal, especially Jasak's saddening past. Personality wise, these two couldn't have been more diverse with Jasak's deep sense of honor and Aleron's self serving nature, but together the differences really played off of each other well evolving the characters to creating a dynamic that sucked me in and left me wanting more.
But, while the main characters were by far the best aspect of the story, the supporting cast was no less developed. All the players are given well rounded development as the story slowly reveals their part in the overall plot. Histories are given for some and yet others' personalities are left to allow the reader insight into their motives. Each has a unique voice that can either be quite chilling or startling, but a few others give different perceptions of the role that the prison plays in the intergalactic war that is waging in the space beyond.
The writing style is rich and flowing with great attention to detail. The pace is quick, driven by scalding passion and great action that has an ever increasing amount of intrigue and betrayal. There is definitely a lot going on within the confining tunnels of the toxic mines that created an addictive need to see who would do what and to whom. Some had questionable motives while others are quite direct in their desires. Pair all of this with a highly emotional appeal that tethers you to the characters and by the end of the novel you are deeply invested in the outcome.
Overall, there was nothing about this novel that I didn't like. In fact, I have to say this is one of my favorite Fantasy Romances ever with a great science fiction appeal that was highly developed without being too far fetched. This was my first time reading a Jamie Craig novel, but it will not be my last! Phenomenal is definitely something that I don't say often, but this novel truly deserves it.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Scars
Advisory: Strong sexual content, m/m