The Akseli by Dianne Duvall, Kirsten Potter (Narrator)


The Akseli by Dianne Duvall, Kirsten Potter (Narrator)
Aldebarian Alliance, Book 4
Publisher: Self-Published, Tantor Audio (Publisher)
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Action/Adventure
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Simone has hunted and slain psychotic vampires night after night for hundreds of years and desperately needs a change. When the leader of the Immortal Guardians offers her an opportunity to guard ten mortal women who are venturing to another planet, she dives right in and finds traveling into space and meeting amazing alien races just as exciting as she’d hoped… until an enemy attacks. Simone saves everyone she can before she’s thrust into an escape pod and the ship explodes. Alone, fearing some—if not all—of her friends have been killed, she vows to seek vengeance.

Despite his fierce reputation and propensity for violating the law, Janwar has formed a friendship with strait-laced Prince Taelon of Lasara. When the prince’s ship is destroyed, Janwar joins the massive Aldebarian Alliance-wide search and rescue mission and soon locates the Gathendien ship that launched the attack. An odd thing happens, however, as he and his crew stealthily approach it. The lifeforms inside begin to perish, two or three at a time in quick succession. Much to his surprise, someone else has reached the ship first: one of the very Earth women he hoped to rescue.

Fascinatingly fierce, Simone bands together with Janwar and his crew to search for her missing friends and wreak havoc upon those who wish to harm them. She also widens eyes, drops jaws, and sparks laughter and mischief as she banishes the warriors’ world-weariness and makes each day seem like a new adventure. The friendship that grows between Janwar and Simone swiftly deepens into love. But the enemy warriors they face are tenacious and boast more weapons in their arsenal than the alliance knows. Can Janwar, Simone, and such a small crew vanquish them?

Looking for an edge-of-your-seat, romantic suspense, sci-fi adventure that will knock your socks off? The Akseli is definitely the book to check out. There are space battles, sword fights, alien monsters, narrow escapes, action behind enemy lines on an ice planet, an A.I. program that can actually be considered a secondary character, and a romance that made my little heart go pitter-patter.

That list is only a tiny fraction of what made this story stand out as it amazed and enthralled me and had me listening to the audio version twice – some scenes, thrice. Lest a reader worry that it’s all flash-bang action, I assure you that there are tender moments, sweet moments, character dialogue that made me sniffle and my heart hurt for some of the guys in the scenes. Janwar’s crew each have their own story, and I will tell you, every single one needs their own HEA. You want tortured heroes? Men who’ve been hurt, scorned, made examples of and treated as pariahs by either their culture or their families? My heart broke for each of these brave men that Janwar now calls family. They all have good hearts, are actually noble and, even having chosen an unorthodox career in order to survive, have resisted becoming villains and instead kept their honor and are fiercely loyal to Janwar and to each other. How could the heroine NOT fall in love with Janwar and his ‘family’?

The Gathendiens are back being their dastardly, disgusting, vile, smelly selves – they are the perfect villains. They hate everyone and are bent on genocide towards any civilized planet that has something that they want. And they are not the only characters with defunct moral compasses – a reader finds out there are more deviant, greedy, power-hungry beings that will do anything for power and/or money. One of them reminds me of a character from the second set of Star Wars movies, and the other, is too close to a real-life villain. But I won’t go there. This novel is about a hero and heroine who defy and overcame incredible odds, all in order to rescue victims and friends from evil aliens. The story is about Janwar and Simone falling in love even while in the thick of things. It’s about a man who becomes better, stronger, more focused and more heroic all because of the love of a strong woman with a zest for life and adventure. It’s about acceptance, embracing differences and finding common goals. All of that is woven in throughout the novel with excellent storytelling skill.

If fans listen to the audio version, they are in for an experience of delight, entertainment, laughter and being 100% engaged and invested in every character’s wellbeing. The narrating talent of Ms. Potter is second to none. Each character has their own voice and Ms. Potter uses her voice skills flawlessly. I’ve yet to experience another narrator with her consistent range and ability to express emotions only through voice. Yes, the writing has to have it first, and it does, but the narration explodes the story into brilliant life. It’s one of the reasons that, when it comes to Ms. Duvall’s books, I purchase them in all three formats, audio, print and ebook. I’m always so satisfied, I find it well worth the investment.

The Akseli is a star-quality novel that gives readers a top-notch reading experience that thrills and entertains non-stop, all the way to the perfect and romantic happy ever after ending, with an irresistible hook for the next adventure in the series. Sign me up! I simply can’t get enough of this wonderful universe Ms. Duvall has created through the Aldebarian Alliance. It’s a book addiction worth having.

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