Special thanks to the author for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
Goodreads: Aether Ones
Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group
Published: 13 October 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
Leilani Falconi is a top agent for the Imperial Investigative Service, tasked with policing the veil between two realities. Long ago, the Great Sundering tore the universe into two mirrored halves; aether space, which progressed using magical energy or eldrich, and kuldain, which advanced via electromagnetic technology. But now a series of suspicious deaths stretching back more than a decade has the agent trapped directly between secretive bureaucracies and their peoples. If she can’t solve the mysterious crimes in time, existence as she knows it could erupt into chaos.
Wendi Coffman-Porter grew up an only child in a military family. She spent a lot of time as a child inventing new friends and sharing them with others. She began writing her stories down at the age of ten and by the time her first child was born she’d written her first novel. Her passion has always been the colorful canvas and creative freedom of fantasy and sci-fi. Be it roleplaying or writing in her office at home in Texas, with her pack of furry friends, she is always developing something new and colorful to share with others. Her fervor for incredibly rich realities that are as authentic as the ones outside your own window, is what drives her to constantly find out what’s happening around the next corner. Enabling her to reach a deep new understanding of the nature of life, no matter what form that life might take.
TL;DR: If you’re looking for a fast-paced sci-fi set in space with an intense mystery and one of the most bad ass heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure to encounter, then this could be the book for you. We’ve got secret agents, corrupt military/navy forces, power hungry royals, a huge mix of alien races, a special kind of magic and crazy cool futuristic technology, and lots of battles. While so many elements made this an entertaining read, I did struggle a bit with the time jumps and minimal world building. Still, this was a very run read and I enjoyed seeing how the mystery unfolded!
I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started reading Aether Ones but it was quite unlike anything I’ve read before. I don’t read many stories set in space, and the few I’ve read have been YA, but I’m glad that I gave this book a chance! I’m not sure how to review this without getting into spoiler territory but this is the kind of book that you’ll need to read and experience for yourself in order to really understand because there’s so much that goes on in it. At its simplest, it’s a mystery set in space and within that story are complex lines tying to the very intricate and strained sociopolitical situation of this world.
What I enjoyed the most about this book were the characters! I won’t lie–we encounter a lot of characters and sometimes I forgot who was who (but maybe that’s more my shoddy memory than the book itself 😅). That said, Leilani and her crew were awesome! Leilani especially was probably the most badass heroine I’ve encountered in a while. She literally gives zero fcks and will do whatever she needs in order to get the job done, and she’s also fiercely loyal to the end. She’s definitely someone you don’t want to get on the wrong side of because she will make your life hell plus she has the protection of a special intergovernmental agency to back her 😂 I loved her take-no-shit attitude and I couldn’t imagine anyone else leading this story. The other members of her motley crew were Rothar Horrison, Melissa and BB. Although we don’t get to learn much about them, I really liked what we saw of them and their banter never failed to make me crack a smile! They’re definitely the “odd balls” and I love how they worked together.
What I struggled with the most during the read was the world-building. We get glimpses of what these worlds look like but I felt that it wasn’t very well established and that made it really hard to understand what was going on at times. For example, we’d get introduced to a scene and it would only be after whatever needed to happen took place that the situation/setting was explained and tied into the world-building and story. This meant that there was a lot of going back-and-forth to re-read passages (even chapters) in order to understand what was happening, and while that’s not always a bad thing, it did get frustrating as I kept having to do it constantly. Chapters also didn’t transition very smoothly and we’d have time jumps of varying lengths that came across as quite jarring.
Sadly, this does end in a surprising and out-of-left-field cliffhanger, although the mystery and main storyline is resolved. I am curious to see if it’ll remain a standalone or whether we’ll get a full series with Leilani and the motley crew. I think I’d enjoy seeing them in action again!
Have you read Aether Ones or is it on your TBR?