When I Fall

When I Fall - Belinda McBride Ah, SF. My greatest and first love. Too much M/M Science Fiction is mislabeled. It's M/M romance that someone stuck on another planet. It may as well be down at the corner bar or the local club.Without the imaginative settings, tech, speculative futures, well-developed alien cultures, don't bother to label it SF. Just stick to your contemporary writing and leave the SF fans alone.

Rant over. Belinda has written Science Fiction. My biggest complaint(s) about the first book were that the universe building was a bit sketchy and the coincidences a bit too neat. This second book is the perfect companion to the first, in that it truly addresses so many of those issues.

Here, we see what motivated the baddies to invade Helios and Griff's world in the first place and come to understand a little better why they spared Helios rather than execute him with the rest of his family. We also see that the years of separation, the habits of keeping secrets, and the responsibilities heaped on both our MC's are wearing on their relationship. The first book was entirely in Helios's POV, and I mourned not being allowed Griff's. Here we get Griff - all Griff, all the time - and our brave, stalwart warrior of the first book is slowly unraveling at the seams. Partly, this is delayed trauma reaction, for both of them, partly it's coming to terms with having to share Helios with an entire planet.

While the alien races are still touched on only here and there, we do get a better picture of the galaxy and its government, of the issues facing our boys at home, of the economics and social dynamics involved. All the stuff the SF fan lives for. There's a bit of tech thrown in here and there as well (always a plus :) )

This is not a happy book. Much of it has the MC's wrapped in increasing isolation and anxious guilt. (But never fear, it is a romance. You know the drill.) I enjoyed it, in many ways, more than the first, since there was more care taken with setting and history, with motivations and consequences. My only niggles would be what felt like a bit of a rushed ending and the need for Griff to regain and redeem himself (I think he's on the right track, but he's still working on it.) I fully anticipate another, since we've been introduced to Raven Hawke, huge Weres, and the possibility that Markus Dayspring was not a traitor (omg!) With so many teasers left lying around, there better be another. (Are you listening, Belinda?)

A very solid 85% - a truly enjoyable read for the SF fan.