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In Enemy Hands by KS Augustin

June 14, 2010

In Enemy Hands by KS Augustin

I stumbled on NetGalley when Joely mentioned it as a way to get a hold of an ARC for The Bloodgate Guardian for a chance to win her BREAK 20 GIVEAWAY.

To be clear, she had already sent me an ARC of TBG, but I, being of curious mind and always looking to find new authors and books for review, decided to take a look around. I had seen KS Augustin’s post on Joely’s site earlier and found both the cover, and the blurb (seen below), completely fascinating.

I also hadn’t had the opportunity to review a lot of SFR aside from Nexus Point by Jaleta Clegg, so I jumped at the opportunity. It helps that I’m also dying to read more Carina Press books. After all. How does one resist the tag line: Where no great story goes untold. Not good, mind. Great.

If In Enemy Hands and The Bloodgate Guardian are any indication? I think I can safely say I look forward to reading and reviewing a lot more Carina Press books!

The Republic had taken everything from Moon—her research partner, her privacy, her illusions. They thought they had her under control. They were wrong.

Srin Flerovs, Moon’s new research partner, is a chemically enhanced maths genius whose memory is erased every two days. While he and Moon work on a method of bringing dead stars back to life, attraction between them flares, together with the realisation that they are nothing more than pawns in a much larger game.

When Moon discovers the lethal applications her research can be put to, she knows she must rescue Srin and escape the clutches of the Republic. But there are too many walls around them, too many eyes watching. They want to run, but they’re trapped on a military spaceship in the depths of space, and time is running out…

In Enemy Hands starts off with a prologue. I know Prologues grate on some reader’s nerves, but I actually *like* prologues (when they fit), and this was one in particular that I felt was well done. Without giving away too much, we see the events that led up to Moon needing to have everything taken away from her and her loyalty being called into question. Through no fault of her own other than sheer ignorance and apathy, and for this she is held at a detention centre (and I loved that the book was in UK-English, being a commonwealth citizen) for three years.

During that time, her family and friends fall away from her, she loses trust and respect in her field …even after the effects of the prologue, and when Chapter One kicks off, when she’s allowed to go back to her research, she knows she’ll always be labeled. If not as a traitor, then as someone who’s loyalty to the ominous Republic was called into question.

On board The Differential, the ship Moon is assigned to in order to conduct her research,  she finds that accommodations are not to her specifications. A piece of technology that Moon has relied on for a long time and requested is not aboard the ship. Drue Jeens, Captain of The Differential, assures her he has something far better.

In walks Srin.

Srin…well, how could one not love him? You’d have to be pretty damn heartless. He’s super intelligent, witty and compassionate. And even though he is a victim for most of the book, he is by no means weak. The premise, or rather, Srin’s predicament, was the ‘hook’ for me.

Although here’s where I have to admit, I didn’t take to Moon immediately. She didn’t rush to Srin’s aid like the blurb had me believing. There was more than a little hesitation there. And while I don’t mind characters being selfish- I mean, we’re human right? -what bothered me was that I didn’t believe what held her back from taking action for so long. I *knew* consciously that she was under pressure, (see above for effects of the detention centre had on her life)…but I didn’t believe it. Maybe because it wasn’t ‘shown’. It was just told. So I didn’t buy it.

Which is ok, because I don’t have to ‘like’ a character, per say. So long as I understand them, and Moon is understood. She’s highly ambitious and analytical. Her work drives her above all else that she doesn’t even take time out to get to know her colleagues and coworkers, isn’t interested in any of them, before Srin.

These sort of women frustrate me in real-life so I think it’s only natural that Moon frustrated me as a fictional character.

It wasn’t until their escape plans got set into motion, the last few plot points of the book, that I began to like Moon. It’s not so much because it was action oriented, because even after the dust settled, she still TOOK action. She was in charge even though the scenes themselves were no longer action oriented.

And now that I think about it, it was Srin that came up with the plan to escape, so once again, she didn’t initiate the action. I guess that was the problem, she was a passive protagonist for most of the book. She did redeem herself for me, but, it’s just sad that, when I finally got to like her, and was willing to follow the rest of her story, the book ended.

Srin’s arc, and the chemistry between he and Moon, more than made up for it. As did Captian Drue Jeen’s arc, another character whose fallen victim to my love-for-side-character-syndrome. Kad…didn’t so much have an arc, but I quite liked his character along with Leen’s. And I’d tell you about them but I’d have to kill you to ensure my no-spoiler policy remains in tact.

I think my heart broke along with Moon’s every time Srin was forced to forget her. Although, I must say, KS Augustin made their “first meets”, “first dates” and subsequent “firsts” just as remarkable, memorable and engaging as the real firsts. I don’t imagine that was easy to do. In spite of the odds, Srin’s loyalty and dead-set determination to remember Moon is was so heart warming and romantic that I think he just wormed his way into my favorite heroes list.

Also, I loved that Augustin used ethnic characters, something that I think is far lacking in all genres of fiction. It’s actually more than a little unnatural to me when a cast is all white since I’m usually the only white girl in my group of friends but again, I live in the Caribbean. You mileage may and indeed, probably does vary.

I did wonder why there were no female soldiers above The Differential, the ship that Moon is assigned to conduct her research. At first I thought maybe it was because they were an infantry unit but no. There were engineering soldiers and doctors aboard and probably some logistics soldiers too. There were mentionings here and there that the Republic was chauvinistic, but well, so is today’s military in some regards, and there are women fighting now. It could be that these soldiers were an elite group however, sort of like Special Forces in Space, and in that case, it would be realistic but I can’t be sure. Maybe if KS Augustin is kind enough to grace my blog with her presence, she’ll also be kind enough to clarify for me?

Overall, In Enemy hands was an enjoyable read. Great premise, interesting characters, sound science, bittersweet romance with a touch of spice, and one intriguing universe. I definitely want to check out the rest of the Republic books. Especially since there seems to be one that takes place on Bliss, the ominous prison planet that sent chills up my spine every time it was mentioned in In Enemy Hands.

I’m  hoping there will be a sequel…but I heard the author had no immediate plans for it.

To find out more about KS Augustin, visit her website or stop by her blog. (Where you can win a copy of In Enemy Hands!) If you’ve liked, or are intrigued by anything I’ve had to say about In Enemy Hands, you can purchase it at the Carina Press main site, or Amazon. Please let me know if I missed anywhere!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2010 9:20 pm

    Hi Shannon. Wow, what a thoughtful review, which is the best any author can hope for. The answer to your question on all-male crews is probably going to be a little longer than you’re expecting, but here goes. I’ve noticed that history moves in waves, peaks and troughs. There is no way we, for example, can say we’re at the pinnacle of social development because there have been other civilisations that have been more liberal, just as there were others that were less so.

    We know, from the novel, that one reason Moon was actually released from the detention centre was probably because she was a woman. Even Drue makes certain assumptions about her luggage when they first meet! So there’s a very very strong chauvinistic angle to the Space Fleet. In fact, NO combat-ready ship contains ANY females. That’s not true about the Republic’s civilian government, as evinced by Rosca Moises, but it certainly holds true for the combat military. Ancillary functions, however, do allow females to contribute. And the word “allow” is key here. Along with the word “control”, they both define the Republic.

    And yes, Moon may not be that likeable when we first begin. She has to be pushed in order to realise exactly what she’s capable of, trapped in a corner before she finally takes charge. I’m glad you got to like her as the book progressed, though, that tells me you saw some real change in her. Thanks for that.

    • Soleil Noir permalink*
      June 14, 2010 10:54 pm

      Thank you so much for stopping by KS , I love hearing from authors. And also thank you for the explanation. Makes more sense when put in that light. And I like thoughtful responses so you’ll hear no complaints from me!

      Yes-I think character growth is one of the most important things where character is concerned for any piece of fiction and I can definitely say that Moon grew. So much so that I would love to read a sequel if the demand arises from other readers. And of course, to see she and Srin’s HEA continued.

      And having me want more is definitely a good thing. Best of luck and success to you KS!

  2. June 14, 2010 10:59 pm

    Please call me Kaz. And, slightly off-topic, but I agree completely with your summation of Joely Sue. She’s not only a fantastic writer but a fantastic person. If it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t have even known you’d reviewed my book. So thank you Joely Sue (and you!) so very very much! 🙂

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