elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Best Gay Sci-Fi / Futuristic (1° place): Dark Edge of Honor by Aleksandr Voinov & Rhianon Etzweiler

Considering this is a novel by Carina Press, the ebook imprint of Harlequin, I shouldn't be surprised the romance is good, but well, I was. Sci-fi novel with a heavy military subtheme, “doctrine” as a credo and various other elements made me wonder if the romance in the story was able to not only survive but emerge. Yes, it was, and in a way that without doubt makes this a romance. Even if Mike and Sergei are of different side of the war, even if they should be enemies, even if Mike is betraying Sergei each time he makes love to him, despite all of these, when they are together it seems they are in a different reality, in a place where they are two boyfriends meeting at home after a difficult day at work.

Sergei is a military and someone who believes in the Doctrine; already for this reason I should not like him, but even if he is stronger than Mike and a little stubborn (mainly since he is not able to see the Doctrine is not exactly the good thing they taught him), I felt almost pity for him. That first sex scene with his superior officer, where well, he got off, but in a cold and impersonal way, was so different from the following love scene with Mike that I felt bad for him he was not able to have his first experience with Mike. In this, but also in other moment, I had the impression Sergei was like an overgrown boy, someone who had not the chance to fully develop on an emotional level like he did in his body, and in a strange contraposition, when he will reach the apex of his emotion, he will have to give up part of his physical perfection.

Mike is a good soldier, but not in the “robotic” way of Sergei; he is more sanguine, he has more emotions at stake, he really believes in what he fights for. But exactly for this reason, he ends to be more involvement than requested with Mike. From tidbits here and there, especially in the last part of the novel, I built this imagine of Mike like someone who would have not chosen to be a soldier if not forced by the events, and when his mission will be accomplished, he will be glad give it up all to go back to his civilian life. He is exactly at the opposite of Sergei since Sergei was taught there is no life outside the Doctrine, or he is a good brother or he is nothing; Sergei is so indoctrinated that he is not even able to see when his own brothers are trying to get rid off him.

Even if I said the romance is surprisingly good, don’t expect this novel to be smushy or sweet; it’s dark, dirty and with a good dose of violence, even if all of that is not gratuitous; sometime I had the feeling the authors granted some bestowal to the romance to not scare too much the readers, but it was done in a good way, so much to entice the romance reader to go on, and the fans of more gritty story to not look up in annoyance when the two heroes took a break from the war.


Amazon Kindle: Dark Edge of Honor
Publisher: Carina Press (August 15, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
Tags: author: aleksandr voinov, author: rhianon etzweiler, genre: futuristic, length: novel, rainbow awards 2011, review, theme: military

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