“The Fate of the Universe: Pawn” by Rumour Lee

This novel is Romance Sci-Fi, with a definite accent on the romantic side. Too much so, unfortunately.

There is a reason why novels usually have multiple conflict levels. Sci-Fi books usually have a romantic plot thread. Then there is often inter-personal conflict, always some kind of technical conflict, and usually both physical and political external dangers as well. If the book is well-written, these intertwine and affect each other. Through these multiple clashes, the author keeps us interested; when we are getting sated with one conflict, the author switches us to another to keep our interest fresh.

At about a third of the way through “Pawn,” I realized that the romance was the only conflict. About fifty pages later, I said to myself, “this conflict is running out of steam.”

Almost half-way through the book we finally we got a whisper of an external threat, but it took another hundred pages before they did anything about it. Only in the last hundred pages do the aliens show up for a deus ex machina ending. Which isn’t an ending, because the final scene ends on a cliff-hanger that promises more scope for romantic misadventures in the next volume in the series.

So, for most of the book, the action took place inside the heads of the two main characters.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a beautifully written Romance. The two main characters are perfectly matched. All the two-steps-forward, one-step back twists, the misunderstandings and the attractions fit neatly with the extensively rounded characters. Both are super sympathetic, and I found the balance so finely tuned that it was never possible to blame either one for the problems, just admire both of them for forging ahead.

A warning, the sex scenes are graphic and inappropriate for younger readers.

The emotional twists were all interesting, appropriate and creative, although after five hundred pages of emotional turmoil, a certain amount of repetition creeps in.

No matter how good the trick is, a one-trick pony has only one level of appeal and cannot hold the attention of the average reader for the length of a novel. This book is recommended for hardline Romance fans only.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This review was originally published on Reedsy Discovery.

About the Author: Gordon Long

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