RogerBW's Blog

Only Good Enemies, Jennifer Estep 06 November 2023

2023 romantic SF, second of a planned trilogy. Vesper Quill is trying to pretend she doesn't have an unbreakable psychic bond with Kyrion Caldaren, so that the Emperor doesn't eat their souls (he has form). But to get through all the things being thrown at them they'll need to use not only their own powers but each other's.

It feels odd to praise with negativity, but many things that I like about this book are its differences from other books in the same general style. Vesper is a romantic heroine… who has female friends and confidantes, rather than being all on her own except for the hero. Vesper and Kyrion meet the woman who was lined up for an arranged marriage with Kyrion… and there's never a hint of cattiness or jealousy or even "if only". They have a common cause, they work together, they become friends. You know, the way people do.

Al right, I'm not entirely convinced that anyone would design a better handgun with the intention of improving people's lives, and later be shocked and offended that it was being used by bad people, unless they were extremely stupid. Maybe it's an American thing.

There's nothing especially surprising here, but it's the expected thing done very well. There is a minor character who is very definitely one of the bad guys who's being set up for a redemptive ending, and I have my doubts about whether Estep can pull that off convincingly… but I'll at least read the next book, a side story dealing with him, and find out.

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