Dark Matter by Elsa Jade

Dark Matter by Elsa Jade
Big Sky Alien Mail Order Brides #3 ~ Intergalactic Dating Agency
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (141 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Dating and mating are the irrational pursuits of mortal races while the rare vrykoly species watches dispassionately from afar. But after his captain and first officer find love with the extraordinary females of Earth, this vrykoly is forced to wonder if he was—dare he say it?—wrong. Piloting the deathly cold and vast distances of space is why he was meant to exist, all he’s ever known, and even his dreams have always been black and still. Can anyone ever love a soul-sucking space vampire?

The third and final finding their bride story is on Earth for only a little bit of time. Outer space calls and the adventure begins when the heroine accepts the invite to climb aboard a spaceship to map a solar system.

Most of Dark Matter takes place between Del and Ivan once they leave Earth for what is expected to be a quiet, scientific exploration of Sin’s (the hero of Alpha Star) new solar system that his grandmother gave him. It’s the perfect opportunity for Del to have the adventure of a lifetime by getting a chance to go into space and she thinks it’s going to be a piece of cake. Well, after she gets used to the blackness of space, being on a ship, a panic attack, eating a very strange food product and the realization that she’s got the hots for Ivan, the hero. Oops.

From the previous two books in the trilogy I got the impression that Ivan was a risky member of the team because he ‘ate’ people; based on something Honey alluded to in the first book. It was related to a reader that he was dangerous, cold and unfeeling. Well, along the way Del finds out that yes, Ivan is dangerous, he is cold but there’s a reason for that and he doesn’t stay unfeeling for long. And the reason he’s been dark and mesmerizing is because of the type of being he is. Honestly, I never saw that coming. I was impressed. Anyway, being in proximity to Del is stimulating something in Ivan’s psyche – perplexing elements of a past genetic history thought long gone. The poor hero was very confused but unwilling to stop exploring what Del is doing to him. He’s discovering that there’s something intriguing about male/female physical relations after all. It’s at that point a reader is assured that the relationship between Del and Ivan was making significant progress. This romance story sure has a different kind of courtship in store for readers.

The drawbacks for me in this novella were that the villain called Blackworm wasn’t a successfully developed plot conflict – sure he’s been a threat since the second book but I never got to meet the scoundrel; that even in this third book in the trilogy it was never resolved as to WHO the traitor was on Sin’s ship, Sinner’s Prayer that was left dangling in the first book, Alpha Star; and the biggest thing was, I was confused about Ivan himself. The descriptions of his species and his references to cold, the elements that consist of his very existence and his matrix and relationship to the universe, and the threat to his continued survival all left me perplexed and baffled. They were certainly unique and fascinating, but I couldn’t follow it enough to decide if it had the capacity to be super sexy, profound or I simply could not grasp the sci-fi aspect of it all. I did like his innocence with the subject of sex and how quickly he caught on, but once again the use of science fiction words for things threw me. How do I pronounce ‘exciton’ anyway?

One thing that the author excelled at was in describing the crash landing, the landscape of the alien environment, and my favorite, the eel. That was a strong and amazing bit of creativity. Even the idea and description of the space lily pads was cool. The one thing Ms. Jade has in spades is a great imagination and I did enjoy most of it.

On the whole, Dark Matter was a good read. Yes, it was a challenge at times but the dynamics and dialogue between Ivan and Del were what kept me flipping the pages. I did enjoy reading about the challenges they both faced as they tried to survive in a very unforgiving landscape. I totally enjoyed Ivan’s enthusiasm once he figured out that sex in action was a lot more fun than he thought, and I thought Del and Ivan were good together. So, as far as the romance goes in Dark Matter, it worked and I totally enjoyed the happy ever after at the end. For Ivan and Del, it was a perfect ending to a very unusual courtship.

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