Happy Sunday, everyone!
There are few sequels out there that are just as good or even better than the first book and Unbroken Fire by Anne Wheeler is one of the few. Filled with action, political drama, and even more of this particular character that I am in love with, Unbroken Fire is a book you just can’t put down until you’ve read the last page.
To recap the events of Asrian Skies (Book 1):
Avery Rendon is weeks away from realizing her dream as a Commonwealth fighter pilot when planetary politics intervene. Reluctantly, she returns to her home planet of Asria, still hoping to break free of her controlling family and their faith.
Not much has changed on Asria though, and after her almost-fiancé walks out on her, she’s not sure life can get much worse. She’s wrong. When the Haederan Empire invades Asria, intent on rebuilding their interstellar domain, Avery becomes a target. She also becomes something else—a Commonwealth intelligence operative. It’s not long before she stumbles upon information that could change the course of the war, and suddenly she’s on the run, forced to confront her fear of death and her lingering doubts about her faith’s teachings.
Swept up in something more dangerous than politics or flying, Avery begins to wonder if her destiny lies somewhere closer to home. If those old beliefs are worth clinging to. And if she’ll live to see the end of it all.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Also, review may contain spoilers, so read at your own risk.
Spoiler alert, she does live. Hence the sequel. All seems “right” in a sense. Avery is reunited with Merritt (though perhaps a little broken), a plan is being forged to chase (😉) away the Haederan’s who are still controlling Asria, but all Avery has to do is convince the Commonwealth to help. Simple, right?
Of course, the trip doesn’t go as planned. Avery and her crew run into a Haederan heavy cruiser and are forced to board.
To make matters worse, Avery’s treacherous, cowardly uncle is on board – the guy who may or may not have been responsible for the Haderan’s invasion on Asria – and he wants her to return to Asria to support his rule, even though Avery is the rightful queen.
To make matters even more worse (though I perceived it as much, much better), the Imperial Security Command Officer who had “interrogated” Avery is aboard the cruiser as well – and he’s got his own plans for her.
Once again, Avery is in a fight to gain back what she has lost, and to protect what’s left that she holds dear.
“Alliances will shift. Trust will be broken. And through it all, time is running out for the people Avery cares about the most.”
I honestly loved this book so much and some of you know that I don’t often read space opera, or even just sci-fi alone in general. I always find that there’s far too many info dumps then just having the story play out and the environment woven in. Which is one of the things that Wheeler does well with her books. She doesn’t overwhelm you with history, background stories, or descriptions to the point where it grows dull and you set the book down. Her books are mostly character driven, and the world and environment is pieced together as you read.
As for the story, when it seems like the sun is just breaking over the horizon, filled with hope, the dark of the night comes crashing down, and all hope is chased away. And yet, hope persists.
If you’ve read the first book, you’re probably going to be a bit more cautious with whom Avery should trust. And you would be right in thinking that way. Any new or old character Avery came across, I was narrowing my eyes at them, unwilling to fall for their act, even my favorite character had me confused a few times. Villains who I thought were just plain bad end up becoming pure evil to the point where I wanted to hurt them myself.
As for Avery, I don’t know how she does it – staying strong. I would’ve broken back somewhere in book 1 and run away from everything, but even through all these new trials, Avery will still hold her head high and refuse to give up and fight for her planet and people. Even when she is personally told to stop finding answers, sneaking around, and digging for the truth, she doesn’t. She’s stubborn, and I love that about her.
Of course, I’m going to talk about Chase. I could talk about him non-stop. I rarely love an antagonist – though in this story, he’s more of an contagonist. In other stories I’ve read, you never find out their motivation, you never find out about their background even if it’s just a little, and you never find out why they did the things they did that are perceived as bad. With Chase, he has the answers. He gives the answers or in some cases, others do. With the story being told through Avery, we don’t get to see the bigger picture. But Chase offers pieces of that bigger picture, as do the other characters. Even by the end, I still wasn’t sure who’s side he was on because he’s just so good at what he does and how he “fools” everyone. But I still trusted him and I know he has a heart, unlike some of the other characters, like one in particular, but sad to say, he had a good reason for his anger but how he chose to release that anger was very bad.
Unbroken Fire is an excellent continuation to Avery Rendon’s story, filled with high stakes, tension that has you clutching the edges of the book, and moments that will make you laugh and tear up. If you’ve read the first book and loved it, you’ll love this one too.
As promised, here is the cover for Unbroken Fire! The book will be available on Amazon June 19. For more information, head on over to Anne Wheeler’s website!