Online plot summary: ‘With the fate of entire civilizations at risk, the galactic battleground makes for unusual alliances and unexpected passions as two women from very different worlds join forces. When Commodore Rae Jacelon of the Gamma VI space station apprehends the alluring but decidedly dangerous Kellen O’Dal, it is the start of a breathtaking love story, as well as a dangerous rescue mission. A space adventure filled with suspense and a daring intergalactic romance.”
My review: Protector of the Realm is book one in Gun Brooke’s Supreme Constellations series. Call it science fiction, call it space opera, but PLEASE don’t use that awful neologism, sci-fi. Personally, I’ll go with science-fiction, as it seems to have a good deal more depth than what’s generally considered space opera. Whatever you call it, though, this is an extremely enjoyable novel. The writing is skilled, mechanically, the plot compelling, the drama abundant, and the pacing, for the most part, keeps you happily turning the pages. The entire cast of characters is very likable and the romance is, well, romantic. I don’t always like to compare writers, but, there’s something of Radclyffe, here. I don’t mean that it’s derivative in any way, I just offer it to those who may not be familiar with Brooke but do know Radclyffe’s work.
The two main characters are strong, resourceful, determined, independent and engaging women. If that sounds like the formula for a Mary Sue character, both women have realistic vulnerabilities to balance their strengths. Their romance proceeds slowly enough to be believable, but, when they finally “hook up,” wow! And, Armeo, the young boy they both vow to protect, will charm readers as easily as he charms everyone he encounters in the novel.
For those who are hard-core science-fiction devotees, you won’t find startling world-building here. The setting and the plot are genre standards. However, competent writing, an interesting story, admirable lead characters, a host of very likeable, well-drawn supporting characters and plenty of suspense, all make for a very entertaining reading experience.