Title: Song of the Navigator
Author: Astrid Amara
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Run Time: 7 hours and 41 minutes
At a Glance: Aside from the story’s somewhat abrupt ending, I thoroughly enjoyed Tover’s journey, and I thought Russo was an excellent choice for the narration. I absolutely love his voice, and he did an excellent job, as always.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Worst possible birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover.
Tover Duke’s rare ability to move anything instantly across light years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation and a rock star among the people of the colonies.
His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine. He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku station. His one brush with danger of any kind – the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life – is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he’s something much more.
When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation, and betrayal, it’s with shattering disbelief that he realizes that his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind, and his heart is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie.
Review: I’m truly in awe of authors who write science fiction and write it well. It’s no easy feat to produce an imaginative, well-written, thought-provoking sci-fi story, but Astrid Amara has done just that with her novel Song of the Navigator. The book was originally published in 2015 then re-released this past January, and as of just a few weeks ago, it’s also now available in audio, narrated by the fantastic Nick J. Russo. I was so stoked when I saw that the audio had been released, and that Russo was performing it; I’d wanted to get to the story for a few years, and the audio release was the perfect opportunity!
Tover Duke is living his best life as basically the teacher’s pet of navigators for Harmony Corporation. He’s one of only forty-two people in the entire galaxy who has the talent to be an improvisational navigator, i.e., to move any object instantly across any distance or point in space, and as such is extremely valuable to his employers. His celebrity status at Dadelus-Kaku Station has afforded Tover many luxuries: a fancy hotel suite, VIP entrance to every party, his own private aviary, and any man he wants in his bed. He’s got it all. At least, that’s what the shallow, blissfully ignorant Tover from the beginning of the book thinks.
At his birthday party, as he’s about to give a thank you speech, Tover hears shots ring out, and then the voice of the only man he truly wants in his bed, his long-time crush and sometime hookup, Cruz Arcadio. But, Cruz’s voice in his ear isn’t the voice of a lover, it’s the voice of a desperate man, a man who is there to take Tover captive and sell him to pirates in exchange for some information that he needs. It’s a moment that will change Tover’s life completely and challenge every single one of his beliefs.
There’s a warning after the blurb, which cautions readers about some descriptions of extreme violence and assault in the book. Take this warning to heart, people. Amara pulls no punches with her depiction of Tover’s time in captivity. He is beaten and tortured, and ultimately broken, both physically and mentally. The betrayal by Cruz and his exploitation by his cruel captors are almost more than Tover can bear, and it’s a long road to recovery after his eventual rescue.
I loved Tover’s character arc in this story. He starts as an arrogant, shallow asshole, at what he thinks is his highest high, hits his lowest low after being taken hostage, and then begins his transformation. He learns to trust again, learns what a family actually looks like, learns some difficult truths about people and things he had always believed in, and learns to love. I adored every single bit of the Arcadio family’s efforts at helping Tover heal. I fell in love with all of them right along with Tover. And, I loved Tover and Cruz’s re-discovery of each other.
My one beef with the story was the somewhat abrupt ending. I felt like everything was wrapped up way too tidily and quickly in that epilogue. But, aside from that, I thoroughly enjoyed Tover’s journey, and I thought Russo was an excellent choice for the narration. I absolutely love his voice, and he did an excellent job, as always, giving distinct voices to every character, and in bringing the unique world Amara imagined to life.
You can buy Song of the Navigator here:
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