Only Bad Options (Galactic Bonds #1) by Jennifer Estep

I haven’t been feeling the most positive about world events lately, so was hoping for entertainment in this sci fi romance (more like Urban Fantasy in space with extremely low steam, more like a faint glow). It was entertaining, but I also ended up skimming over some passages and shaking my head at some of the action.

Vesper Quill (points for the awesome protag name) is a lab rat working for House Kent (yes, they’re organized into “regal” houses like a feudal society…only in space) who discovers a fatal flaw in the latest design of the battle ship House Kent is selling to the Imperial Lord.

Instead of praised, she gets conscripted into a battle as cannon fodder. Only the Imperial Lord’s select warriors, the Arrows, are also at that battle and she saves one, Kyrion Calderan. She saves him, and then they hang out for a while discovering that the dreams she’s had her entire life of eyes and arrows somehow involves him.

And there’s lots of mommy and daddy issues. Usually I will push my way to the front of the angsty hero line, but Kyrion’s angst was all “my parents loved each other soooooo much they didn’t have time for me” and “also I killed my father.”

Maybe this is where my negativity about world events kicked in, but it felt super whiny. Lots of skimming in those parts.

Also I was a little dissatisfied with Vesper’s “I can fix things” magic, I wanted it to grow from “I can fix the Space Coffee Pot” to other things, so those other bigger things could impact politics and change the game that Kyrion is being forced to play. But it was more like a running joke than anything really important to Vesper’s growth and discovery of her magic.

Also: not nearly enough situations where Vesper and Kyrion are forced together and must hide their attraction. Like not nearly enough. (One broom closet does not a relationship make)

So wasn’t as interested in this one as I though considering Estep’s other works I’ve enjoyed. This was definitely on the side of “sci fi vocab veneered over UF tropes” kind of dealio without the cool factor of some of the futuristic thinking and tech I’ve read in other Sci Fi romances.