ARC Review: "Beyond the Red" by Ava Jae

Beyond the Red by Ava Jae
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.


 When Ava had first revealed the cover of her new book I was excited. Sci-fi with romance? Sign me in!

On "Beyond the Red" I realised how easily discrimination can exist in a planet that is NOT Earth and the humans are second (or even thrid) rate citizens.

Cora is one of the alien queens in this planet. Everyone is ruled by a higher royal family while other royal failies obey the later. Forced to the throne and with a brother who has other plans Cora has a lot of burden to carry.

Eros is a half-blood. Half Human-half alien, his kind is killed in birth, yet when he is taken as a slave to Cora's castle, he will realise that the Queen is not the only one he should be wary of.

Let's take first the world-building. I liked how cared the descriptions were. From the castle and the city to the fabrics and foods. Not only Ava wants to deliver a well made 'other' world, but she also builds a society which deals with many 21st century issues, like religion and sexuality. I liked a lot how she described the aliens. With glowing tattoos and tall bodies, they were quite amazing to my mind.

As for our main characters, I liked Eros more than Cora. He is strong and cares for his tribe and family, even when everyone else shuns him. He is a survivor who also becomes the center of attention without wanting it. As for Cora; although she began with the promise of a strong heroine she quickly became meek to the point of letting others lead her around. Not something you'd expect from a queen.

Also there were some parts in the book which became to me quite obvious quickly and I didn't like the love triangle. Despite the ending, I didn't even like the loss of some characters.

I don't like characters dying. Period.

The romance was nice. There was the touch of forbidden, yet to me it needed more development. Surely there will be a sequel, even if there is no information about it on GoodReads.

This was an enjoyable read and I sincerely hope to have news for a sequel. Recommened to those who like a nice start on the sci-fi genre for 2016. :)

About the author:

YA writer. Author of BEYOND THE RED (Sky Pony Press, 3/1/16). Insatiable reader. Entangled Assistant Editor. Rep'd by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency.