Stinger by Katya Harris

Stinger by Katya Harris
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (67 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Kara was born and raised on the cold mining planet of Reach, and has dreamed her whole life of being somewhere else. Stuck with an abusive mother and a dead end job, she longs to experience the worlds she only sees on the vid-screens.

Then those other worlds come to her by way of a stranger, when she saves his life the night he arrives. From a planet called Haven, Sarit is a breed of human created to survive the unhospitable planet and who are now seen by many as less than human.

Though it causes resentment and brings her new trouble, Kara defends Sarit against abusers and builds a friendship with him that soon becomes the best part of her world. Try as she might though to enjoy the time they have together, even with the danger they face, it’s impossible to forget that eventually Sarit will return to traveling the stars and she’ll be left more alone than ever.

How much would you risk to help a stranger?

I was impressed with how much attention the author paid to the setting and backstory. The world building was so well done that this felt like the introductory chapter of a book. It was simply that complex and vivid in many small but important ways that are hard to condense into a review. Everything from the slang the characters used to the descriptions of the harsh land they lived on made me feel like I’d truly stepped into another world. This isn’t to say that this doesn’t work as a short story. It worked beautifully, in fact. I just didn’t want it to end!

The chemistry between Kara and Sarit never quite felt right to me. I liked them both quite a bit as individuals and thought they would be great friends. Their personalities were so different, though, that I had trouble imagining them in a romantic relationship. I would have liked to see a few more examples of them interacting in non-platonic ways before the final scene. The line between friendship and love can be a fuzzy one sometimes. All these characters needed was a nudge in the right direction. Having that extra information would have earned this tale a much higher rating as I loved everything else about it.

Kara was incredibly likeable. The plot didn’t waste any time describing all of the difficult things she’d lived through in her short life so far. Any one of them could be enough to make someone give up on helping other people, so her empathy caught my attention right away. Seeing how kind and sensitive she was to someone she didn’t know only made me want to get to know her better.

Stinger should be read by fans of science fiction and romance alike. It blended these two genres together wonderfully.

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