25 Mar 2018

Review - Oops, Caught by Alli Reshi

Title: Oops, Caught (Expanding Horizon #1)

Author: Alli Reshi

Synopsis:

Mark Noland can’t figure out how he got into such a fix. How does an ex-mercenary (okay, an almost-reformed mercenary) get himself caught, stuck in a holding cell, on a hostile alien planet? Held captive by strange bug-like creatures who’d just as soon eat him as look at him. How can a simple mission go so awry? To make matters worse, Noland’s not alone. His fellow prisoner, a certain high-ranking, elite Stella officer holds him responsible for their failed plan. Yeah, it was supposed to be a quick in and quick out sort of mission. But no… Officer Gavnson just can’t let it go.

It’s not so easy trying to plan an escape when Noland keeps getting distracted by how his mission partner so very nicely fills out his uniform. And he suspects Gavnson is hiding something, too. As tensions run high, secrets are revealed that will change the both of them. There’s nothing like gunfights and running for your life to make that special bond.

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

I would give the first half of this novella a higher rating than I'd give the second half. I rarely come across a situation like this but here it is. The first part deserved three stars (pineapples) in my book, the second, one. The overall result: a sad two-star rating.

Noland and Officer Gavnson are shut up in a cell together. A mission went wrong and they both got caught by the Awoknain, nasty bug-like creatures who aren't famous for their hosptality. They have to plan their escape and define a not-so-clear relationship between the two of them.

The beginning was so much fun! What I expected. I liked Noland, he had a few tricks up his sleeve and he had an entertaining personlaity. He bought time for them coming up with an insane idea, they were also able to escape the cell because of his heroism. 

The way out was exciting too: first they hid, then they fought their way through the bugs; at this point the book had all the potential to turn into a very decent Firefly-esque story. However, once they reached a spaceship that was fit to escape in, this sci-fi tale started to bleed from many wounds.

It was obvious while they were at the bug-base that something was not right with Gavnson. He wanted to sacrifice himself all the time, it seemed like he was eager to die. Noland started to ask him about the war they fought on the same side and what happened since, but Gavnson didn't open up easily.

He was also very willing (almost pushy) to engage in sexual activity with Noland who kept turning him away (even though he wanted him too... the bugs told them they have to mate and Noland thought Gavnson was only willing because he didn't want to be tortured, but it was so clear it wasn't the only reason). 

The second half of the novella was a huge disappointment. Stuck on a spaceship with hours to spare Noland finally prodded Gavnson into telling him about his past and why he chose to come on the mission with Noland and his group. 

The story we get is confusing and incoherent. Noland's fleeting presence in it doesn't really explain Gavnson's infatuation with him since they'd never actually talked or at least it is not clear if they've talked since the war or not. I found this part a bit muddy, past happenings were too vaguely described to give us a full explanation regarding Gavnson's motivations or his behaviour.

The writing takes a turn for the worse here too. It is repetitive and preachy. The subject they talk about is important but the converation is full of clichés, not to mention a talk like this is unlikely to occur between two persons who have started to get truly close to one another only a few hours ago.

Yet another unfavorable review from me, I know. At least I liked the beginning this time...

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