Title: The Harvest: Journey’s End
Author: M.A. Church
Pages/Word Count: 277 pages
At a Glance: Thrilling sequel that cannot be read as a standalone
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: Adapting is a word Dale Michaels has become familiar with. As he settles into his new life with the Tah’Narian starship captain Keyno, Dale has adapted to life with an alien, space travel, and having his body mutated so he can carry a young. He’s closed the chapter on his old life.
Living on Tah’Nar, Dale has a loving mate and good friends. He’s helped cement peace with the Onfre. Sure, being double-dosed during his harvest led to some serious drama, but that’s over. Dale’s happy.
But life is never that simple.
Even though Dale loves Keyno, he still struggles with the way the Tah’Narians harvest young males as mates. Dale finds himself hijacked by his own body, courtesy of his extra dose of Tah’Narian DNA. Then there’s the devastating secret his mate, Keyno, has hid all this time. And if all that isn’t enough, outside forces threaten to rip Dale’s hard-won peace apart as well.
Join Dale for a non-stop adventure and a love that crosses several worlds and transcends space.
Review: In order to read this book, you really need to read the first one. Though many books in a series can work as a standalone, this one cannot. When I received this book to review, I had not read the first one (though another reviewer on this site did). Since the story seemed interesting to me, I did go out and purchase the first one to read in order to better understand this book.
I regret nothing.
I absolutely loved the first book. So much so, in fact, that I stayed up until six AM, after what had been a long few days, and then crashed with my Kindle on my face. I then woke up and continued, finished the first, and then immediately dove into this book.
Book two picks up literally seconds after the first book ends. In fact, I think the two books would be best packaged together as one epic novel. For those who haven’t read the first book, there is a TEENY bit of information, but it really doesn’t do the whole story justice. I mean, the entire world building of the first book is necessary in order to understand how Dale came to be where he is, and what happens to him at the start of the book.
So, like I said, book two starts where book one left off. Keyno, Dale, and the others are returning to Tah’Nar from Onfre because Jolak is going into labor. And once they’re on the ship, Dale’s estrus hits out of nowhere. I felt for both Dale and Keyno, I really did. But it was funny. So many times during this book I laughed out loud. Usually whenever Keyno yelled/screamed/sighed/muttered “Dammit, Dale!” I also had a huge grin on my face the entire time. Like when Keyno tells his uncle, after Dale’s estrus, that he gave it his best shot. Died laughing. And then when Gibor says the he also gave it his best shot, and Doc chimes in with the same.
The characters in this book are great. While Dale is the narrator and his relationship with Keyno does drive the story, it’s far more than that. There’s the friendly banter between Dale and Chad, the mutual respect between Dale and Cielo, the adorable John, and later, Kia. The characters clearly develop between the two books, and it was fascinating to see them all deal with the changes in their lives.
And then there’s the BABIES! Or rather, should I say young? I’ve only ever read one other book with mpreg before, and that was way back when I was in high school, and it has remained my favorite science fiction book since then. But while Aristoi, by Walter Jon Williams, has a male pregnancy in it, it is not the central focus of the novel. Dale’s pregnancy is a major focus of this novel and drives much of the character actions. I felt that it was done in a logical manner. And you better believe I had a huge grin on my face while the boys bemoaned throwing up in the morning and no longer fitting into their clothes. But hey, they get off easy. Three month pregnancy? Nice.
I do wish there had been more to the story, however. There are some scenes in the beginning that are ripe with conflict but end too quickly, and then there are scenes in the latter half of the book that drag on when they don’t need to, and some of the daily routines could have been cut.
Overall, though, I adored this book. I want more but at the same time I’m afraid of it. I mean, the first two books were just so good, how do you top it? Perhaps a book with everyone adjusting to life on Aploi? Going on a space mission and meeting some new race that starts another war with the Tah’Narians? Exploring how the new VOLUNTARY mates get on in Tah’Nar? Doc and John’s story? Malk and Kia’s story? What about more with Ti and Cielo? Or heck, even the young? I’m not really ready to let this world go. I might just have to go back and start again with Book One.
You can buy The Harvest: Journey’s End here: