Title: The Galactic Alliance, Book 3: Voodoo ‘n’ Vice
Author: K.C. Burn
Publisher: Carina Press
Characters: Gideon Arcturus and Tai
POV: 3rd Limited
Sub-Genre: Science Fiction Crime
After nearly causing a galactic incident, fleet captain Gideon Arcturus is disgraced, demoted and exiled with nothing to do but pass the time at a seedy club on seedier planet Elora Ki. It’s no place for a straight-laced soldier, but following the rules is what got him there in the first place. When he meets a mesmerizing fire dancer, he’d do anything to get close to the flame.
Tai doesn’t date customers–it’s far too dangerous for a man who was once for sale. But the shy, awkward Gideon entices him, and the two spend Gideon’s leave tangled together, neither knowing the passion that stirs within them won’t soon subside.
When a violent drug lord forces Tai back into slavery, Tai has no choice but to give up his new love. But when Gideon learns that Tai’s fate lies with those who brought about his own ruin, he’ll need to revisit his own difficult past in order to save them both.
“Voodoo ‘n’ Vice” is a crime/police romance set in a science fiction background. If you’ve already read the previous books “Spice ‘n’ Solace” and “Alien ‘n’ Outlaw”, then you know what you’re in for and will see a few reappearances. But if you haven’t, don’t worry—this book can be read as a standalone. At this point in human history, Earth has been dead and abandoned for so long that very few can actually claim an unbroken family line back to it. Humanity has spread across the stars, the various solar systems and planets forming the Galactic Alliance, and Elora Ki is right at the edge of the vast conglomeration.
Although you see what causes Gideon’s disgrace and nearly re-sparks the Wolframite War in “Alien ‘n’ Outlaw”, it isn’t necessary to read it because the relevant information is provided—and not via an info dump—as the story goes along. And Gideon’s impressions of the past events help you relate better to Gideon who, at the start, comes across as a “stiff, unyielding military man” (and yes, I am quoting), but as the story develops, you find out why he is that way and the person he is behind the facade of military propriety.
Tai is doing the best he can given his circumstances, and the fact that Tai and Gideon actually connect seems odd until you realise they have a lot in common. Strangely enough, I think I empathised more with Gideon than I did Tai, although I respected Tai more—Tai has actively made his own situation better and fought to have control of his own life, where Gideon has not. Yet.
K.C. Burn writes a good story that develops naturally, both in the plot and the romance. I would recommend this story (and the other two, if you are interested) to people who enjoy a light futuristic science fiction story that focuses more on the people and society than the technology. There are definitely dystopian elements, as you would expect of a frontier world first colonised by criminals and the dispossessed, but some aspects of society seem to pop up again and again, as they have here. Overall, a nice, easy read that will stay on my ereader for when I need to put my feet up and relax.
Reviewed by Alison