“Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps.”
What happens when you take an outcast, the only non-believer of her entire race, and throw her together by chance with a being that appears to be one of the gods she doesn’t believe in?
That’s just one of the problems Neek, a pilot on the Mercy’s Pledge, is confronted with when she and her shipmates come across a stasis pod containing a young girl. The girl, Emn, appears to be Ardulan; one of the mysterious race who visited Neek’s home planet centuries ago and are now worshiped as God’s. But Neek finds that she doesn’t have must time to deal with the fact that the gods she thought were fairy tales are actually real, because someone is after Emn and is willing to kill to get her back.
Neek forms an unexpected bond with Emn and soon they, along with Neek’s Captain and a Journey Youth from Earth, find themselves in the middle of an escalating conflict involving races from all across the galaxy.
While dodging factions who want to capture, kill, or worship Emn, the crew of the Mercy’s Pledge also take on a quest to find the planet Ardulum, if it really does exist. What they find changes all of them.
This entire series is gorgeous. J.S. Fields writing style is thoroughly enjoyable and they manage to cover a huge amount of ground in just three books, not once going too fast or too slow. I usually find that in series’ that there is a lull at some point where I start to lose interest before being sucked back in again. That wasn’t the case at all with the Ardulum books.
The romance factor is handled really well in these books, thanks in part to Fields’ writing style, and in part to the inclusion of telepathy. Fields paces the relationship really well, and I especially appreciated the fact that even though the two characters could talk to each other telepathically, they still ran into troubles with their relationship that they had to actively work through. But it wasn’t all struggles. Telepathy also made for some fun moments when characters could have private exchanges in the middle of larger group discussions.
Overall, this story was new to me. I’d never read anything quite like it before. But at the same time it’s familiar and fits perfectly into my existence. That sounds cheesy but I don’t know how else to describe it. Well, ok. I do know how to describe it. But it sounds even cheesier. Reading this series felt like coming home.
I don’t have many more words to describe how much I loved this series, so I’ll leave you with this. Buy and read these books ASAP.
There is SO MUCH representation in this book. At least three of the races in this universe have a three gender system, with the third gender using zie/zir pronouns. In addition, at least some members of those races are polyamorous. And it doesn’t hurt at all that two of the protagonists end up in a f/f relationship.
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