Shadower (Shielder, #2)
by Catherine Spangler
Stopping off at Giza's on the planet Calt, we meet our main character, who has no idea that one action is about to change the course of his life. Giza's, where the hazy lighting, and misty atmosphere affords anonymity for all, is just another stop for Sabin Travers on the gritty, remote planetary way station. But he has business to conduct. And on Calt, where most business dealings involve illegal trade and activities, it is the last place one would expect to see a beautiful woman. And yet, there she is... and she is about to get herself killed.
Moriah thought she would be all right at Giza's. All she wanted to do was gamble, and win enough money to secure transport off the planet. But the game ended with much more than she bargained for, and outside of Giza's, she was attacked. Now, waking up in a strange ship, she realizes her rescuer is the man from Giza's... the handsome, arrogant, and blatantly chauvinistic Sabin Travers. Moriah has places to be, and she is desperate. She concludes that there is only one way out of her predicament, and it involves earning Sabin's trust... just long enough to gain access to his ship.
Although Sabin is a bit brash, Moriah presents as unnecessarily cruel. Instead of showing gratitude toward her rescuer, she steals his ship, and abandons him on a nearby planet, without clothes or other basic essentials. We do discover the root of Moriah's distaste for strong, overbearing men -- her history is filled with men who wanted to control her. Still, it didn't make her behavior toward Sabin any more excusable.
Sabin Travers has plenty of flaws of his own. Having experienced a tragedy in childhood, he is mostly alone, aside from his partner. But his backstory is overshadowed by his domineering attitude, and blind spots for a beautiful face. He makes passes at Moriah, and doesn't seem to have a clue that he is being manipulated. He trudges along, calling her "sweetheart", and pining away for her for the first half of the book. In the second half, following a pivotal event, he seems to make a genuine shift in consciousness. And although the turnaround is abrupt, it is a refreshing change of pace!
Overall, I wanted more cohesion between the main characters, and less anger, manipulation, and deceit. Without a strong connection to the characters, I found it tough to stay invested. Still, the story is very well written, with a fully developed plot, and plenty of descriptives. From the food replicators, to the unusual plants and creatures that inhabit the planets, every detail is in place. We meet an array of alien life forms, and travel to distant lands, each of which has its own unique characteristics. The vivid descriptives, and complex plot make this futuristic romance worth the read!
Available on Amazon
Reviewed by Stephanie