By Ava Jae
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
This book was provided to me from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.
An alien queen, Kora, and a half-breed slave, Eros, have more in common than anyone would want to believe. Both are shunned and hated. Both just want to do what is right for their people. Both of their lives collide when they are forced to work together to save those that they love.
They live on a planet on the verge of revolution from the plots to kick Kora from the throne in favor of her war-hungry brother and the threats of rebellious humans. The only way to hinder the constant criticism of her rule is to quickly find a mate to share the throne. But finding love in a revolution is harder than Kora thought.
Eros and his human people are constantly being hunted and killed for invading the alien planets. Only a few nomads are left, despite the alien army's efforts to eradicate the human species. Unfortunately, those few survivors might not stay survivors much longer.
The key to keeping their separate people alive is to bring them together, in defiance of the years of hatred and fear between their species.
Beyond the Red is an amazing start to the rise of space science fiction in YA.
I hope that science fiction, especially of the space variety like Beyond the Red and Illuminae, becomes more popular in YA. I love reading about planets, times, and cultures different from our own. The aliens are a lot more than small green men with antennae, and I would really like to see more of that in YA books.
Speaking of the aliens, Jae developed her characters so beautifully that I nearly forgot that they were in fact aliens. Even though the book is set in space who knows how far away from earth, I could relate to and understand the extraterrestrial characters in the story. Her view of life beyond earth was different, unique, and fully incorporated throughout the story with the help of an amazing cultural setting.
The cultural development in Beyond the Red and the world-building was one of my favorite aspects of the novel. There was a culture on this planet that was reminiscent of human culture, but unlike anything I have read before. There were so many dynamic factors added into the culture, such as the religion, the variety of people, the language, the history, and the complexity of the monarchies. I loved how Jae fully dove into the world of her characters and never looked back.
The one, tiny drawback to the culture in the novel for me was the slang. It was a little bit weird and not consistent throughout the novel. There were only a few slang words from the people thrown in the story, like one every couple of pages, that I never quite got the gist of. The incorporation of slang words should have been more complete or left out of the novel.
On the other hand, one of the things that I absolutely adored in Beyond the Red was the romance. It was definitely not sugar-coated and I loved that. It was realistic (I mean, as realistic as love between aliens can be) and completely believable. There is no trace of any insta-love; all of the romance in this book was slowly built up.
The last thing I would like to rave about is the diversity in the novel. There are half-breeds, people (or aliens, which still counts) of color, and different sexualities. Ava Jae flawlessly incorporated diversity into a space fiction novel with mostly aliens as the characters. I think that is an accomplishment and I admire her for that. She showed me (and everyone) that if you can mix diversity with aliens, you can put diversity in anything!
I would recommend Beyond the Red to anyone who is loves amazing science fiction, space fiction, aliens, unique cultures, and diversity.
What do you think about space fiction? Are you looking forward to more space fiction and science fiction in YA? Do you have any recommendations of books with aliens?