I received this book from my Secret Santa, the lovely Jenn, because she felt I needed a nudge to give it a try and step out side of the box. It's turned out she was right. So I did my part and convinced a few friends here on GR to do a buddy read with me and am I glad I did.
'Claimings, Tails and Other Alien Artifacts' was an unexpected treat and one with more depth to it than I was expecting. The author is Lyn Gala so I was pretty sure going into this that I'd enjoy it. What I didn't expect was that it would also be thought provoking. Liam is a soldier stationed on the Rownt home world as a linguist and a trader. Most of his trading is done with Ondry. During the course of his 5 years on the Rownt home world he's managed to build both a strong business relationship and a friendship.
Life isn't going to badly until Liam gets a new commander. One who doesn't seem to be very fond of the 'enlisted' men and isn't above throwing anyone under a bus if it served his purpose. Ondry is drawn to Liam and wants to protect him.
Because this is a story about not just different races or cultures but species. Liam is human and Ondry is not, which is not to say that he isn't intelligent, sentient, capable of reason, emotion, logic and many other attributes that humans tend to attribute only to themselves. It is the fact that Ondry is an 'alien' that allows us to see not only human perspective towards another race of beings but the author's interpretation of how another race might view human beings and sadly that view isn't always very flattering. Ondry sees Liam's commander as being cruel, less than honorable, abusive of his position and power. He also values the uniqueness of Liam's nature and wants to protect Liam from further emotional and physical pain.
I have to admit I wondered how into this story I'd get I wasn't sure my brain would want to do the whole human/alien relationship thing and what I discovered was that I was just into this story and the human/alien factor was a non-issue. Truthfully I loved Ondry, I loved his confidence, how sure of what he was doing and his desire to be with Liam and to protect him from those who didn't appreciate him. Ondry was exactly what Liam needed. We don't get a blow by blow account of Liam's background because sadly the story is too short for this, but we do get enough information to know that Liam's life has not been easy or pretty. He's not an 'oh woe is me type' and he's learned from his past and he's tried to protect himself as best as he is able from further abuse.
Ms Gala has a wonderful gift for making her world building a part of the story and creating scenes and images with her words that I found my mind visualizing without any conscious effort being required. I'm looking forward to seeing what book 2 has in store for this unusual and adorable pairing.
I know my thoughts really are all over the map on this one. Hopefully by the time I get through book 2 I'll make a bit more sense, but suffice it to say I really, really liked this book!