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Book Review: Iriduan Test Subjects (#1-2), by Susan Trombley

I received copies of Susan Trombley’s The Scorpion’s Mate and The Kraken’s Mate in a Renegade Romance book box.
Iriduan Test Subjects covers

The Scorpion’s Mate:

Claire has never really fit in with everyone around her, but she’s carved out a life for herself using her own unique style and artistic ability to support herself on the Internet. The last thing she expects is to be abducted by aliens and dropped into a research facility, where a genetically-engineered alien soldier chooses her as his life-mate.

Thrax’s pheromones are compelling, and his status as a fellow unwilling test subject makes them allies, but Claire isn’t certain she can trust someone who is convinced she belongs to him, when all she wants to do is find a way to return home to Earth—a place that her devoted alien can never follow, because there’s no way the scorpion-like alien would ever be able to pass for human.

Still, she’ll accept help where she can find it, so she doesn’t hesitate to escape with Thrax from the facility, though their time running from their pursuers in the warrens beneath the research facility will forever change Claire, and could make it impossible for her to return to Earth.

But will there be anywhere else in the galaxy they can go where their love will be accepted?

My Review:

I thought this was cute. I appreciated a male lead that, while martially advanced, was gooey soft on the inside. What’s more, he was literally willing (and circumstantially able) to change himself to be anyone his mate wanted him to be. You see a lot of socio-cultural growth in him, even if it is only to make Claire happy. The flip side of this coin, of course, is that he lacked a little characterization. I also found the dichotomy between Thrax’s before-time life and questionable personhood and his now-time personality one of the most interesting aspects of the book. There could be a lot of moral issues to explore.

I did find the plot a little lackluster, however. The actual nuts and bolts of the story are very simple, and there isn’t anything that rises above the humdrum of interest. All in all, it was amusing enough to keep me interested but not anything overly special.

susan trombley covers

The Kraken’s Mate:

A desperate escape from a prison cell inside an alien research facility leaves Joanie in the clutches of an alien with a handsome face, a great body, and tentacles that could have come out of a horror movie. Her life back on Earth is a mess, but nowhere near as complicated as her new situation becomes when the alien test subject named Nemon decides that she’s his mate.

Nemon knows that Joanie is the mate he’s hoping for as soon as Thrax hands her to him, but he can also see that she’s frightened and traumatized. He must win a battle against his own body – which has a mind of its own–to maintain control, so he can win her trust and avoid frightening her further. His newfound friends warn him that Joanie will need time to accept him, and Nemon is willing to wait, but they all may have underestimated Joanie.

They have escaped their fate as Iriduan test subjects, but Nemon and Joanie can’t escape the legacy left behind by their captors. A legacy that brings them together – a legacy that also threatens to tear them apart.

My Review:

Do you like a cinnamon roll hero? Then Nemon is your man. Cinnamon roll describes him to a tee. I appreciated that about him and the book. It’s very sweet. And while I enjoyed the book generally, I also found it too constrained for me. The plot is contained in a very small microcosm that just wasn’t enough to feel satisfying. Here, you have a series about women being kidnapped by aliens, discovering the existence of aliens, discovering the galaxy, and this book occurs almost entirely in one room, focusing on two characters. There is so much sense of what is missing as the reader is given such a small window of focus. I won’t go so far as to say it was boring, as it is sweet. But there just wasn’t enough to it to truly grab and keep my broader interests.

Other Reviews:

The Scorpion’s Mate (Iriduan Test Subjects Book 1) – Susan Trombley

The Kraken’s Mate by Susan Trombley


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