II just realized today that I'd never added a "Sci-fi" category to my book tags, even though I adore the genre and always have. However did that happen? I've corrected the neglect for Outcast Mine by Jamie Craig, an extremely talented and new-to-me author.
One of my favorite things in books is being introduced to characters that are less then perfect at first--criminals, in this case--and learning to love them as the author unfolds their lives and motivations. Though vastly different in their sizes, background, ideology, race, and power, our two protags, Aleron and Jasak, were still evenly matched, and made a good team.
After dreaming of escaping the universe's worst prison, when Aleron finally gets exactly what he wants, he turns it down, having changed his mind on what meant the most to him. What tremendous character growth for him.
Jasak endeared me with his strong sense of honor, reflected even in his "crime." I listened to this story on audiobook, so have no idea how the spell the doctor's name, but I found him to be intriguing and a strong secondary character. And even though they might not have had the best of intentions, my heart broke for the other couple who didn't have so happy an ending.
What a believable world Jamie Craig created, pulling us down into the chasms of Tantoret to a brutal world where a life sentence meant just that--and a short life at that. A world where political greed was more important than human, and alien, life.
In the stifling mines where not even sunlight lifted the gloom, a bond formed, for reasons that changed over time, and grew into so much more. I must admit that at times I was doubtful of this story ending on a happy note, but common ground led to a HEA that left me cheering.
Is there a sequel?
Find it now at Amazon. Great price too!