Title: The Wayward Prince
Series: Mind + Machine: Book Two
Author: Hanna Dare
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 229 Pages
Category: SciFi, Romance
At a Glance: Dare has scored another great caper in The Wayward Prince. As a fan of character and action driven reads, this series is checking off a lot of boxes.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Spaceships, daring heists, and interstellar intrigue.
Since murderous AIs drove humanity from Earth more than a century before, people have been rebuilding civilization. That doesn’t mean the galaxy is anywhere close to being civilized.
A liar and a scoundrel – and he’s the good guy.
The thing that Captain Sebastian Garcia values most of all is his ship, The Wayward Prince, and like most of his possessions, it’s something that he stole. Now the ship’s original owner has found Sebastian and he’s looking to collect what he’s owed.
When you want something stolen, call a professional.
Ren is someone Sebastian never expected to see again, and the one he never could forget. But Ren’s not offering forgiveness. Unless Sebastian can pull off an impossible heist on a distant planet he’ll lose everything – including a second chance with the man he once betrayed and still cares for.
Review: Captain Sebastian Garcia isn’t a pirate, he just does an excellent impression of one, and there’s not a thing wrong with the mental picture of him that author Hanna Dare draws for readers through her narrative. Garcia is a rake, a rogue, a scoundrel, a liar, and his moral compass rarely, if ever, directs him towards the most virtuous route in his business transactions, but the man just has a certain je ne sais quoi. And, he’s a smuggler, not a pirate; to him that distinction is relevant. He and the crew of The Wayward Prince have hit a slow streak, though, not a smuggling job in sight as the story begins, and the ship is starting to run lean, but that’s about to break wide open when the greatest regret of Garcia’s life turns up to hire him to pull off a heist that will either mean enriching himself and his crew, or will break his heart.
The odds of both are ever in Garcia’s favor.
Dare has scored another great caper in The Wayward Prince, as well as offering up more of her imagination to entertain us SciFi junkies and enrich the character and world-building in this series. We also now have a long arc that will carry us into and through book three, and it’s a compelling one. I loved Garcia’s story every bit as much as I anticipated I would, and then some. Getting to know him, his backstory, his mind, and getting an intimate look at how he sees himself behind the façade of charm and humor only served to make him a more likeable character, and because he’s bold and cheeky (he and Han Solo probably would know a lot of the same clientele, if they existed in the same -verse), or, perhaps despite it, he inspires a lot of loyalty in his misfit crew. Garcia being approached by the man whose ship he’d stolen ‘four years, six months, and three days’ earlier—but who’s counting?—sets the action/adventure, not to mention the romance, in motion.
Ren was a young runaway when he first ran across the dashing and older Captain Garcia, and his own backstory is full of intrigue and a good amount of self-esteem issues. The weight of Ren’s responsibilities and his failure to live up to expectations always makes for a character that’s easy to empathize with, and that’s the case here. The desire to do the right thing for the many while resisting the urge to do what’s right for oneself is a relatable human condition, and that’s Ren to a T, making this not only a lovely age gap romance but a story of opposites attracting too.
Sleeping together wasn’t in the plans, at least not in Garcia’s, when Ren first encountered the captain, but the best-laid schemes of mice and men, as the poem goes, went awry. When things got complicated Garcia bolted, took Ren’s ship with him along with his broken heart, and that’s a shame that Garcia has never been able to shake. So, when Ren shows up again, unannounced and unexpected, Garcia knows Ren’s proposal is nothing at all like a second chance. There is no making amends for what he’d done all those years ago. But, he can do this for Ren, Garcia can steal back an important relic that was stolen from Ren’s family on the planet of Arcadia, and if he can do something good for Ren while making a little money for himself and his crew, all the better.
The subsequent action unfolds in swashbuckling detail and offers up plenty of suspenseful moments for it. As the lines between benefactor and hired thief begins to blur, the relationship between Ren and Garcia takes on a new tone, and Dare does an excellent job of baring hearts and confessing truths between them, rebuilding Ren and Garcia into something new and stronger. As I already mentioned, the long arc of the series has been set up, which also sets things up nicely for book three. Rylan’s brother Jonathan was introduced in Machine Metal Magic as was the bounty hunter Xin. The story arc promises that they will come together in none too simple ways, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Hanna Dare has in store for them. As a fan of character and action driven reads, this series is checking off a lot of boxes.
You can buy The Wayward Prince here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B07K1P459H?d” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]