He’s awkward. He’s adorable. He’s alien as hell.
Zylar of Kith B’alak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he’ll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This ‘human being’ is not the Tiralan match he was looking for.
She’s frazzled. She’s fierce. She’s from St. Louis.
Beryl Bowman’s mother always said she’d never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn’t know what the hell’s going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants.
They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.
But her calm tormented him as well. Because it meant she trusted him, and he feared himself inadequate to defeat the monster he had roused.
Well, Strange Love certainly had pretty much everything I expected and wanted out of it. By which I mean weird alien sex. Actually I believe I said I wanted alien cock, which I got… even if that was a bit of a misdirection. Because there was nothing pointy about Zylar’s sexual bits. But I digress.
This is not a book for everyone. And probably not for most.
Strange Love opens with Zylar going to a planet to pick up his prospective mate. Only when he gets there, he finds things amiss, and something that is speaking to him that he doesn’t understand. Turns out to be a human – a primitive life form. And a dog. Zylar then knocks out these lifeforms, kidnaps them, and takes them back to his planet. Because he is on a time crunch.
Great start to any relationship, but especially an alien one.
Immediately after kidnapping, Zylar gives them a translation implant and proposes to this new life form, a human named Beryl Bowman, to be his mate. Because he is on his last chance of ever having one. After the initial, “I can’t believe this is happening”, Beryl decides, what the hell, why not. Her mother said she’d never get married, anyway. So she goes to this alien planet.
To participate in a tournament. That’s right, a tournament. Due to overpopulation issues, this alien race only allows a select few to mate, with their own race or not. And they have to compete to be allowed the chance. And it is dangerous and deadly. And then Zylar’s bully of a brother comes around and convinces the judges to make it even more dangerous, because he wants to make certain Zylar fails.
Overall, while I loved Strange Love, I also know it wasn’t for me. I really, really wanted to love this. However, the tropes just didn’t work for me. I did love some things. Zylar is a beloved cinnamon roll who just wants to do the right thing and has had someone following him around his entire life making sure he fails. Zylar’s overcoming this obstacle, with the help of Beryl… can you say adorable? I also really, really liked the fact that the aliens are alien. Especially their sexual parts. Also the dog stole the show. 100% my favourite character. Talking dogs are great, but the dog still had the intelligence and priorities of a dog, even when it could talk. Awesome.
However, the entire idea of a tournament to be allowed to mate wasn’t for me – I don’t like tournament arcs very much. Beryl Bowman also oscillates between being the best ever in tasks in the tournament to being mediocre. Which is after she accepts this whole idea of mating with an alien immediately after getting kidnapped and then further just kind of has everything go her way. A lot of the book just bypassed a lot of trouble areas that would take time to flesh out, for the sake of an easy story. Which just means that I never fully got hooked into the story, personally. Also the ending didn’t do it for me.
I am, however, looking forward to book two very much.