"You see, either we can embrace the spirit of subservience or the spirit of rebellion."

Memorable characters, passionate prose, riveting action, graphic combat scenes, and steamy romance make this technothriller a standout read for new adult audiences. This volume introduces a new girl in town, immigrant Akane Sugimori. Chosen by lottery, Akane leaves behind a life of second-class citizenship in NeoJapan on Colony 3 for Eden, the dazzling homeworld of humanity’s intergalactic republic. But this nearly unattainable privilege isn’t an easy step up, as Akane soon discovers. The Commonwealth Government may accept immigrants to keep the republic vibrant and populated, but the highborn native residents aren’t particularly welcoming toward the immigrants they view as impure.

The plot echoes Earth’s seemingly perpetual racial and social conflicts. Brooks employs a system of chapter interludes—flashbacks melded with the current story arc—to create a deeper understanding of the series’ first installment and current character development that makes this read both an offshoot of the previous plot and a standalone experience. The inclusion of a Japanese character gives this novel an anime, cyberpunk flavor as contrasted to the more classic warlike atmosphere of the first installment, which also addresses status and socioeconomic hierarchies.

Brooks brings back Randal Scott, a young warrior of the Commonwealth Defense Force, now distinguished as both a hero and a pariah by fighting with the Coalition of Rebel Factions during the Battle of the Quad in the first book. Sexual sparks and linked hearts and minds soar when Randy and Akane cross paths, but both must determine the course of their newfound attraction and the disparate ideals they hold dear. Brooks deftly explores social justice themes related to misogyny, racism, classism, and the balance between revolutionary ideals and maintaining functioning governmental systems while keeping his audience thoroughly entertained with the characters’ intertwined conflicts, romantic liaisons, and destinies.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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