Title: Black Sky Morning
Series: Mind + Machine: Book Three
Author: Hanna Dare
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 224 Pages
Category: SciFi Romance
At a Glance: Black Sky Morning isolates readers with Xin and Jonathan, which makes this novel more character driven and maybe even a bit more introspective than the previous books, and in the end, it all worked for me.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: A bounty hunter in over his head.
Xin knows how to look out for himself, and he knows when something sounds too good to be true. But a forgotten planet filled with riches is too tempting to pass up. Fortunately Xin also knows someone who can back him up – if he doesn’t arrest Xin first.
A government agent who’s lost hope.
Jonathan Gray used to believe in a better future. Now he’s not so sure. Then Xin walks in, with his dark eyes and maddening smirk, and Jonathan feels like he’s waking up for the first time in months. Well, parts of him at least. He knows Xin is trouble, but when trouble looks this good it’s impossible to resist.
Two men. One dangerous planet. To survive they need to trust each other – too bad neither of them does trust.
Review: Hanna Dare has added another lovely romance to her repertoire with Black Sky Morning, thanks to the forced proximity trope, the circumstances that enabled it and what that came to mean for Xin and Jonathan Gray, and I ended up fully on board with the evolution of their relationship. For a man like Xin—a bounty hunter who runs when things start to get a little too real, and a man like Jonathan—who’s all about duty and service to the Commonwealth and doesn’t have time for close ties let alone emotional entanglements, being stuck, in the most literal sense, having nowhere to go to get away from each other demands that they not only learn to rely on one another, but it also begins to build something neither of them does easily, if ever. Trust. They have to learn to trust in themselves and in each other in order to survive.
Stranded on a primitive planet where tech once existed before the AI rebelled against its human creators, Xin and Jonathan discover a lost colony that isn’t altogether welcoming to them. They become trapped by the rising tide, and an active volcano presents a consistent threat to everyone’s existence, which means the two men are confronted with more than a few challenges. It was never their primary objective to bond with each other. Their goal was to simply live long enough to get word to the outside world that they were MIA, not dead. And, to return to the village they had escaped from, for reasons that include stopping a rogue wizard from seizing power.
Black Sky Morning isolates readers with Xin and Jonathan; we are stranded with them on an uninhabited spit of land for a fair stretch of the storytelling, which makes this novel more character driven and maybe even a bit more introspective than the previous books. Jonathan carries a lot of emotional baggage that weighs him down to the point of despondency, and Xin was orphaned and on his own at a young age; together, it means that conversations and confessions were a necessary part of their growing connection. Watching Jonathan regain something like hope and seeing him reckon with some hard truths he learns about the Commonwealth that open his eyes to its imperfections, was a means of giving Xin’s self-interests an outward focus which turns the tide for them. The fact that Xin can tease and flirt and seduce Jonathan out of his controlled emotional distance and disciplined ways was a bonus to building the physical side of their alone time. But that’s not to say there was no suspense along the way to balance those quiet moments; there was. Spending time getting to know Xin and Jonathan as individuals, however, was integral to believing in them as a couple. Dare succeeds in allowing her readers to do that.
The concept that people are rarely all good or all bad, but are often a mix of both, worked for me as well. Not to mention that I loved the title of this book before I read it, and I loved it even more once I understood it within the context of the story as it worked its way into one of Xin and Jonathan’s moments of confession. What might have seemed a hasty step to the happily ever after for any of the other couples in the series, fit with who Xin and Jonathan became for each other when they were alone together, and in the end, it all worked for me.
You can buy Black Sky Morning here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B07T9WRH78?d” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]