Author Name: Anna Butler
Publication Date & Length: February 18, 2015 – 317 pgs
Earth’s last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesn’t need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his father—or with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesn’t expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to
Gyrfalcon is a somewhat good military space opera book with a somewhat poor romance tacked on. The protagonist, Bennet, is likeably brave and smart. A good hero to follow to Hell. His love interest is the charming Flynn, a hotshot pilot who has as much swagger as talent.
Bennet, however, has two issues I didn’t care about as a reader. First, his daddy issues, which come to a head as he’s assigned to his father’s ship after a long, estranged period. His father doesn’t approve of his homosexuality, which seems a very grafted-on 20th century problem that wouldn’t exist in the distant future without some world-built explanation. (I know science fiction is a metaphor for our lives, but the keyword is metaphor).
Second, Bennet has a lover back home, Joss, who he doesn’t seem to like or get along with. This does cause a reasonable amount of angst eventually, but it remains tedious in concept. Bennet’s struggles with his identity are real enough, but his life choices aren’t helping him. Except for his career, which is, admittedly, awesome.
The world-building is excellent, as are the sci-fi elements, which all perhaps deserved a better plot to inhabit them. The sex, too, is worth waiting for, neither too much or not enough. Everything fits together nicely. Gyrfalcon isn’t my cup of tea, but judging by other reviews, many find the flavors enchanting.
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