New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Estep blasts off with an exciting new science-fiction fantasy adventure with a dash of historical romance. This action-packed space opera features a mix of magic and technology, along with a soul mates and enemies-to-lovers story. Perfect for fans of Star Wars, Bridgerton, and Pride and Prejudice.
A WOMAN WHO SEES EVERYTHING . . .
Few people know the name Vesper Quill. To most folks, I’m just a lowly lab rat who designs brewmakers and other household appliances in the research and development lab at the powerful Kent Corp. But when I point out a design flaw and a safety hazard in the new line of Kent Corp spaceships, everyone knows who I am—and wants to eliminate me.
I might be a seer with a photographic memory, but I don’t see the trouble headed my way until it’s too late. Suddenly, I’m surrounded by enemies and fighting for my life.
I don’t think things can get any worse until I meet Kyrion Caldaren, an arrogant Regal lord who insists that we have a connection, one that could be the death of us both.
A MAN WHO CAN’T FORGET HIS PAST . . .
The name Kyrion Caldaren strikes fear in the hearts of people across the Archipelago Galaxy. As the leader of the Arrows, the Imperium’s elite fighting force, I’m used to being a villain, as well as the personal assassin of Lord Callus Holloway. Even the wealthy Regals who live on the planet of Corios are afraid of me.
But everything changes when I meet Vesper Quill. I might be a powerful psion with telepathic, telekinetic, and other abilities, but Vesper sees far too many of my secrets.
Thanks to an arcane, unwanted quirk of psionic magic, the two of us are forced to work together to unravel a dangerous conspiracy and outwit the deadly enemies who want to bend us to their will.
A few weeks ago I was offered a chance to read ONLY BAD OPTIONS. I read the first chapter and thought, “This is so good.” And then I put it down, because we had to write the Innkeeper, and Ruby Fever was coming out, and Tapas comic was coming out, and… Yeah.
ONLY BAD OPTIONS came out this Tuesday, and I was going to read it in the release week so I could tell you about it. I cracked it open again late last night, read two chapters, and then I said, “Not tonight, Satan” because I knew if I read one more sentence, I would not get any sleep at all. So through the superhuman effort of will, I shut down my iPad, and then I read the book this morning, before brushing my teeth or getting dressed. Like a reasonable adult.
You know how you read a really good book and you’re slightly high afterward? This is not going to be a measured review in any way. Weeee!
Okay, so this is soap opera at its finest. There are both tech and magic in this universe. It’s not sword and planet, it’s sword and spaceship. For the older readers, this is the same genre as Deathstalker by Simon Green. For the younger readers, this is Dune without the gravitas, with more romance. This is my catnip genre, I love it!
In this galaxy there are several powers. This is explained really well so here is a quote:
The Imperium, led by Lord Callus Holloway, who was supported by the other noble families, collectively called the Regals, was one of the major ruling forces in the Archipelago Galaxy, along with the slightly less powerful Techwave and the Erzton. Each group controlled and focused on a different area. The Imperium dealt in magic, genetics, and bloodlines, while the Techwave eschewed such arcane things in favor of cutting-edge technology, experiments, and weapons. The Erzton maintained a neutral stance, selling minerals, wood, and other raw materials to both the Imperium and the Techwave, as well as to other wealthy organizations and individuals. Basically, the three groups boiled down to magic, tech, and minerals, although they would all happily use whatever they could get their hands on to acquire more wealth, weapons, power, and resources.Estep, Jennifer. Only Bad Options: A Galactic Bonds book (p. 13). Kindle Edition.
So you have Imperium, which are wizards with swords and spaceships and Techwave, which are cyborgs and mechanically augmented people with advanced weaponry and spaceships. The two are duking it out while Erzton happily supplies both.
Vesper Quill works for one of the Regal families, loyal to Imperium. She is a lab rat and she has spelltech magic. She’s basically a magically guided engineer. She can fix just about anything. She doesn’t know who her father is. Her mother abandoned her at an early age. Her boss is her ex-boyfriend and she hates him with a passion of ten thousand suns.
Anyway, one of the family’s new experimental warships crashes, and Vesper is part of the team tasked with figuring out why. The official story is pilot error. The official story is very wrong. Vesper finds things people don’t want her to find and then she ends up on the front lines. Where she runs into Kyrion Caldaren.
Kyrion is a sexy Darth Vader. Sword, woo-woo powers, high body count, etc, Kyrion is trapped in the very top echelon of Imperium power. He is reviled because he supposedly murdered his own father, but Emperor Holloway, who is an asshole of colossal proportions, made him into the head of elite strike troops. Kyrion’s mission in life to kill Holloway, preferably in the most painful way possible.
They meet. They cannot be together. Slooooow buuuuurn…
This is my new favorite thing. You have space battles and psionic powers, and there is a ton of competence porn, because Vesper can fix anything, and there is court intrigue, and the whole confused bloodlines thing. I love it. I’m going to be insufferable until I get the next one. In fact once I’m done here, I’m going to Jennifer’s Facebook to pester her.
In an effort to insert some objectivity into the review: I’ve met Jennifer before in real life and we follow each other on social media. As always, your mileage may vary. Please read an excerpt. I take no responsibility for my recommendation because this is my favorite type of story in my favorite genre. You are on your own.
Oooh, I will say this, it does start kind of slow, but it takes off like a rocket shortly after, so I would give it a couple of chapters. The best way to read this is to not overcomplicate it with trying to figure out how tech and magic work together. Just accept it and go with the flow. It’s a sci-fantasy.
And I went to Jennifer’s sit and there is no excerpt. You might have to go to Amazon and read using the Look Inside Feature.
And this concludes this incoherent review. I’m off to go nag Jennifer about the sequel.
PS. Please do not recommend other authors on this thread. This is the celebration of Jennifer Estep’s new work. Thank you!