Review by Sherry Perkins
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
“You cannot do this to me. You cannot simply show up and expect us to pick up where we left off.” —The Aurora Conspiracy
But that is exactly the premise of “The Aurora Conspiracy” by Lexi Ander. It’s a second chance romance between human-leonid hybrid ReginValentaand a grey, horned alien named MakariGan’Sey. The two men become tragically separated by a mining accident that causes them not only physical separation but emotional trauma and its attendant self-recrimination. The trauma could have been overcome except Makari’s family deftly manipulated the hapless lovers during the period immediately post-hospitalization.
Nonetheless, Regin and Makari survive, their lives diverging. Regin goes on to work for the same mining company as a crane operator and Makari, a police officer (to the dismay of his clan). There is no contact between them again until Regin gets involved in a conspiracy and terrorist threat against the mining company.
Makari is from a species called Brakkayn, whose abilities include psi capabilities. He is one of the constables tasked with investigating the conspiracy. In addition to psi methods, criminal suspects are often interrogated using drug enhancement, the drug selection based upon the species. Perhaps the most clever passage in this book is that catnip is the truth serum used for human-felines, giving us a familiar connection to the speculative evolution and off-world species traits found in “The Aurora Conspiracy.”
“The Aurora Conspiracy” is a first-person short story. Regin’s point of view is easy to follow, where Makari’s is more jarring. That’s OK; it reinforced he was the more alien of the characters. Both characters clearly have unfinished business with the police investigation being the catalyst for the romantic, family and political intrigue that follows.
I would have preferred the story to be longer with more character and plot development. The dialogue was substantial. It felt like filler, less integral to the relationship between Regin and Makari or in solving the criminal conspiracy. And I was disappointed there was so much dialogue between Regin and Makari when I wished they would be demonstrative rather than conversational. Taken in whole, it was an interesting but not riveting book. Therefore, I’ve given it a 3.5-star rating.
Ander appears to be a prolific writer with at least twelve novels or short stories including “The Aurora Conspiracy.” Of those, there were five series. I’ve no doubt Ander’s readers will enjoy this futuristic second chance at romance short story.
An interspecies, interstellar love story in the setting of loss and criminal conspiracy.