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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 4 star ratings
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    A-MAZ-ING follow up!

    Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my copy of this book. This is book 2 in the Oberon Cycle, and you really REALLY must read book one, Skythane, first. These are NOT stand alones! What they are though, is brilliant! Reeling from their discoveries that they are not who they thought they were, Xander and Jameson thought they had fulfilled their prophecy, but it seems there is more in store for these two, as joining the worlds of Oberon and Titania has bought them more than they expected! Told from both Xander and Jameson AND a whole host of other characters who I don't recall having a say in book one, we get the whole picture of what is happening on this little planet that was put back together. There are some things laid out for book three, some things that I'm not sure how will play out, but that's not an issue here, because I loved this book! What made it, for me, *and please don't fall off your chair when I say this* is how very CLEAN this book is! Xander and Jameson shut you down, right at the good bits and they do it so well, its brilliantly written! Their love, even when faced with the possibility that it might be chemically induced, is evident, even when they take time apart get to the bottom of what they are really feeling, and it comes across in all the right places. Also, Quince and Robyn, while they don't get to their "good bits" yet, I expect they will shut me down just as good. The general world *and I mean this quite LITERALLY* building is amazing, and you still don't get a massive info dump, its comes in dribs and drabs, but I again stress, you NEED book one first. The world building here is not the same as book one because, you know, they joined this world and everything is different, and not recapped the same way as it comes across in book one. I cannot wait to see how this pans out, I'd love everyone, and I mean each and every member of this massive cast, to get their own happy ever after, I just don't see how that might play out. I have hopes for some people, I really do! Coatsworth skill continues to grow, and I look forward to reading the final part to this series, even if I do have to wait another year! 5 amazing stars!
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    Strong SF Gay Romance with Complex World Building

    Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over Lander is the second in The Oberon Cycle and a middle book, though one with its own issues and resolutions. It starts right after Skythane, making me wish I’d binge read the two though I rarely do that. There’s a large cast, some introduced in Skythane and others new. Most I could remember based on the introduction or re-introduction context. I only noticed one I didn’t know when Xander clearly did, and her backstory wasn’t critical to this tale for all she played an important role. While most books hold to a few main characters, and often restrict the POV even further, Lander uses a broad range of voices. This allows the reader to see the characters through many viewpoints. You get to know the characters much better this way because they interact with people differently. The mentions of Xander’s ex in Skythane are ambiguous at best. They are seen through Xander’s perspective, and only after abandonment taints those memories. I didn’t realize this until Alix reappears and we get to know him from his own POV. He’s much more complex than I imagined, with a surprise or two up his sleeve, and he truly cares for Xander. This last is a big issue because what’s good for Xander isn’t always what Alix wants. There were hints of a better solution that hasn’t come to be yet, but Alix grows on me as much as others in the story. Lander starts in a new POV, but one we know of and which complicates the situation right off. I thought Jessa, Jameson’s fiancée whom he hasn’t broken up with yet, would just be a plot point to balance Alix at first. But like the other characters, Jessa develops into a full person with strengths and weaknesses, who I came to enjoy spending time with. It’s a sign of the character complexity that I worried at points when a rescue came at what might be considered a little too perfect moment. It was hard to know for sure if a character had been compromised. Speaking of characterization, I enjoyed how each character’s history, good or bad, offered details that helped them in their current life, though not always in favor of others. The book has a good number of simultaneous plot threads. Some are primary, but you only figure that out when they resolve at the end (yes, this book has its own resolutions), while others carry the series forward. Still, even the latter type often adds layers to the main plots, especially when the POV moves rapidly from one group to another, ramping the tension as events collide. I found it interesting how the book both has religion as a consistent element (two different ones at least) but none of the main characters are particularly religious. At the same time, many turn to faith when in danger, and the lines between blind faith and misunderstood truth blur during the story. Jessa also provides a broader perspective on Jameson’s adopted home and reveals his parents to be the conservatives rather than the entire planet. The book has closed door, gay, intimate scenes along with a good bit of kissing, but unlike the first book, relationships are a primary, driving force. I found the actual description was inconsistent in heat level between the initial scenes and the later ones, but not so much that it changed the closed door standing. While this part focuses on romantic relationships, though, the many ways people can care for each other, along with some of the possibilities for dysfunctional or harmful relationships, play a role in this book. I think the blurb gave away one conflict too early, but for the most part I liked how Xander and Jameson’s relationship developed through rocky times and how they each worked through the problem differently. I like the more well-rounded presentation of homosexuality in lander society over what we saw in Skythane. There is bias for sure, but it’s less a generic everyone and more specific to certain people. I don’t know whether this is a sign of the world maturing in the author’s mind or getting a broader view of the world through the wider POV. It’s one advantage to spreading the viewpoints out across more characters. Seeing the strategies and hard decisions that bring about success helped increased my engagement with the events, especially as Xander and Jameson mature into their new responsibilities. Nothing comes easy or without cost, but Xander’s commanding presence, something odd in a former lone wolf as much as it suits him, both invigorates and secures the willing commitment of their people. The setup for the next book is also intriguing, opening many opportunities for disaster to come. We learn more about the ancient peoples who came before and their technological prowess, which I find fascinating. Lander offers a satisfying read all on its own while increasing the characters I care about and pulling me toward the next book in the series. It maintains the complex world building I enjoyed in Skythane and reveals even more layers.

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