Daughters of Persephone I & II by Julia Barrett is a memorable mix of thought-provoking sci-fi and fun, sexy read. It’s the kind of book that works on the surface but also has layers of ideas, themes, and elements to ponder and discuss with a friend over cocoa.
This book is really two parts of a four part story. Ostensibly, it tells the tale of the daughters of an exiled Empress as they lead a resistance to overthrow the oppressive Coalition forces, but it is just as much about their relationships with their lovers and the roles of men and women.
It begins after the eldest daughter has already been kidnapped and rescued. The author makes an interesting choice here, choosing to set the book in the period where they are gathering followers to go into battle but effectively skipping over that battle and leap frogging to the resolution. It is a surprising story structure that really works for a tale that is more about characters than military conquest.
The first half of the book focuses on the development of the relationship between Aja, destined to be the Thousand Years Empress, and her consort, Kyr. Aja has the ability to see possible futures and the ability to see into men’s hearts and minds. Using these abilities, she discovers that one of Kyr’s men plans to kill her. Together Aja and Kyr find pleasure (lots of pleasure) in each other’s arms and explore the moral dilemmas that go hand in hand with foresight.
The second half introduces the developing relationship of Aja’s sister Ennat and her consort Karna and continues to unfold the very special ancestry and abilities of the Women of The Blood. Elements of genetic manipulation, time travel, history, mythology, and adventure are woven together in a fascinating tapestry.
What I loved about the heroine: Aja is willing to do what is necessary for her people but she has no real interest in ruling. She is confident and trusts both her abilities and her love, Kyr.
What I loved about the hero: Kyr totally respects Aja and is willing to admit she is a better pilot and a better fighter than he is. He takes pride in her strength and compassion.
Other cools stuff: Both the love interests in this story have long braided hair. Why I like this, I do not know. Just do. Davi Fedd, Kyr’s best friend, is a really great secondary character and provides humor.
As the relationship and trust between Aja and Kyr develops, they get some very cool dialog. Here is one of my favorite exchanges…
Aja: “Then swear that whatever you see, you won’t try to wrestle the controls from me. If you do, we die.”
Kyr: “I swear I won’t take control of the ship, but I may,” he pointed at the approaching maelstrom, “scream like a little child.”
Aja: “Well,” commented Aja, “I didn’t hear you scream.”
Kyr: “Inside, lover, screaming on the inside.”
Genre: Sexy Sci-Fi
Primary format: E-Book
Publication date: July 2010
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing
Julia very kindly arranged for me to have a reviewer’s copy of Daughters of Persephone I & II. Thanks, Julia!