"THE LAST HOUR OF GANN.
(I can't figure out how to import or copy & paste my review from GoodReads, so this is it)
This is a weird one for me to rate because parts of this book I would rate really high and other parts I would rate really low, yet to split the difference and give a middling rate doesn't feel right.
I thought the world-building and complexity of the relationships/politics between characters was top-notch. I liked the slow build of the romance/relationship between the hero and heroine: from repulsion to a grudging sort of respect and reluctant fascination/friendship to giving into attraction, and eventually love--each stage was fully represented.
There was a section were they were learning each other’s language, which I thought was really well done and somewhat amusing for the reader. I appreciate that the author didn't go with the expected 'universal translator'.
The many unpredictable plot twists and turns of what is essentially an epic road romance, kept it exciting/engrossing with lots of runs-in with dangerous animals, bad guys and the daily grind of dealing with the inhospitable weather of the planet.
I LOVED the hero, Meoraq. Loved his steadfastness, his dedication to his religion, his fierceness and gentleness, his struggle for growth understanding. Also liked the fact that he truly was an alien, and not the usual blue-skinned drop-dead gorgeous human alpha hero alien with silky tresses down to his ass, or whatever. He's a bi-ped lizard man with a short snout of limited mobility and rows of articulated spines on his head/neck that he uses to express emotion. Like I said. Alien.
The heroine didn't have the same struggle with personal growth, but she was forced to change. Lastly the touches of humor were sly and fun. The larger arc of the story that ties into the hero's journey, and to a degree was part of the conflict between the hero and heroine, was pretty fascinating in terms of the world-building.
Based on all the above, this is a +5 star read for sure.
Where to start...
Length, I'm not sure how long this thing is, I read it on my kindle ap and can't be arse to check on amazon for page length, but it is HELLA LONG. I have the sneaking suspicion it's the amalgamation of a series of shorter books. I skipped--not skimmed, but actually, swapped ahead through many, many, many, many screens of story at a time and don't particularly feel I missed out on anything necessary to story/character development. I'll probably go back and read them at some point, but having said that, even of text that I did read, it could have been severely edited/tightened/cut down.
The heroine. *sigh* Amber was a hard-ass and her fellow humans didn't like her because she was being pragmatic about surviving on the planet and refused to wallow in the unrealistic hope of returning to earth. She was a strong chick, and I dig that. What I didn't dig was her lack of understanding/acceptance of how much these people did not like her and even hated her. I mean, d'uh already! There were attempts on her life and she was willing to turn the other cheek. This stubborn blindness on her part made me want to smack her upside the head time and again. There were a couple of hateful idiots in the group of humans that I just couldn't understand how they managed to survive for as long as they did in the story, not only did the heroine give them a pass on their offensive/dangerous behaviour, but other more villainous characters. Just didn't make sense to me (was quite aggravating) and felt more like a plot device decision. Also, there were a number of times she went and did some dumbass thing that put herself in danger and the hero who had to rescue her. And speaking of her brushes with death, there were too many of them. They lose emotional efficacy for the reader after a while.
All these issues and a few other nitpicks--like the heroine should have been literally scraped/chafed bloody both inside and out from intimate interactions with the hero given his scaly/rough reptilian skin--if weighed on their own, would make this book a 2 star read.
But overall, I really enjoyed this story and will re-read it. I've read HEAT by this author and enjoyed that very much, so she's an author I trust to deliver an unique, original, boundary breaking and entertaining story.
A definite recommend, keeping in mind the drawbacks noted.
Warning: if rape is a trigger for you, don't read this book"