ARC Review: Taken to Voraxia by Elizabeth Stephens

Title: Taken to Voraxia

Author: Elizabeth Stephens

Series: Xiveri Mates (#1)

Page Length: 389

Publication Date: April 8, 2020

Synopsis: Miari
Here’s what I know: aliens invade our colony every three years, hunt and claim the most beautiful of our women, then leave. Here’s what I don’t know: why the king of them is here this time, and why his black, glittering eyes are trained on me.

A hybrid with red alien skin and brown human eyes, I’m not pretty. I’ve got no family and no plans to ever have one – least of all with this monster of a male. I’m an inventor, a mechanic, a tinkerer. The alien king wants me for reasons I can only guess at, but I’m not about to be taken for a slave and his response to me is something I know I can engineer my way out of.

He plans to come back for me when I’m of age, but he’ll have to find me first. Our little colony is a scary, desperate place and I’m less afraid to face it, than to face him or the strange, alien sensations he stirs…

Raku
She is my Xiveri mate, yet she runs from me – straight into the horrors of her small, savage moon colony. Slaughtering in her defense is easy, while gaining her trust will be the true challenge.

She fears my kind and the horrors my treacherous general has inflicted on her humans. Does she not know that it is my blood rite to keep her safe against him and his even more dangerous off-world allies? No, she thinks herself my slave and in place of acceptance, offers me only pacts and bargains. Shamed by her pacts, I still take them all gluttonously, because though she knows only hate, I know only need.

Eventually, we will need more than just these pacts between us if I am to convince her that she is my Xiveri mate and if she is to take her place at my side, not as my slave, but as Voraxia’s queen.

Taken to Voraxia is a standalone, interracial, SciFi romance. If alpha alien overlords, strong female heroines, fated mates, enemies-to-lovers, action-packed, steamy reads with epic world-building are your thing, then you will enjoy book 1 in this series. Books 2 and onwards can all be read as standalones, each one with a guaranteed HEA. NO cheating, no menage, no love triangles; however, some dark themes, illusions to (no descriptions of) abuse, and debatable consent breached over bargains may be trigger warnings.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon


My Review:

Taken to Voraxia is the first book in the Xiveri Mates series. Miari is a hybrid. Half-human and half-alien, she is only one of two hybrids in her colony. Miari, along with all the other humans, fears the Voraxians and their brutal ways, as they should.

So when Raku, the leader of the Voraxians, claims that Miari is his Xiveri mate, she is horrified. She pictures a life of slavery, violation, and abuse. Miari knows nothing of Raku or Voraxia save for the terrible actions forced upon them by Raku’s sadistic general. But she is drawn to Raku. Her body and soul come alive when he is near and feel a sense of loss when he is gone.

Raku knows from the moment he enters Miari’s small colony that she is his Xiveri mate, and he is overcome. He never imagined he would find his soul mate and determines to do whatever it takes to prove to Miari that she is destined to be his queen.

Raku takes Miari to his home planet in the hopes that he can win her distrusting heart. Miari, unsure of Raku’s intentions, slowly starts to see the protective, caring, and supportive male under the rough and tough exterior. Can Miari get past her prejudices against Raku’s people and learn to embrace this new world and new love? Will Raku ever gain her trust? What will happen to this couple when outside forces threaten their very lives?

I am always fascinated by the incredible amount of imagination and skill that must go into developing new worlds in sci-fi literature. Elizabeth Stephens didn’t just make a new world – She made a whole, magnificent universe.

The story takes place on two different planets (well, one planet and one moon), and everything is described in beautifully vivid detail. When in Miari’s colony, you can feel the heat and the dry sand. When arriving on Raku’s planet, you feel the majestic enormity of the trees and the beauty of the water sources. When traveling by glider, you can sense the wind in Miari’s hair. I love Stephens’ ability to create an original, immersive, and vivid world complete with customs, religions, varied modes of transportation, animals, food, clothes, and more.

Another strength of the novel is the excellent character development. Raku is my favorite. Though he has many attributes of a typical alpha male, there is so much more substance to him. He is honorable, sharp, and has integrity. Additionally, I love how he talks about Miari. Though his inner dialogue often contradicts his actions and words, this adds to his character. He is not used to expressing himself, nor is he used to the feelings that Miari elicits, and he is struggling to find an emotional balance throughout the story.

In addition, Raku is the king. He has tremendous responsibility as well as people who are working against him. This proves to be a major conflict in the story and, as his love for Miari grows, she becomes a target. Raku is fiercely protective of his mate and will do anything to keep her safe, which he proves again and again. This conflict not only serves to progress the plot, but it also adds depth to Raku and Miari’s relationship.

Miari, in turn, has to learn how to lead. She goes from being cast aside to being a queen. This is a tremendous change, and though Miari stumbles a bit, she ultimately relies on her own instincts as well as the support and knowledge of others to be the best partner and queen to Raku.

Miari is as richly developed as Raku, as are the minor characters. Miari, a strong, stubborn, and fiercely loyal female, has a strong friendship with two females from her colony. I loved these women and their strong connection. They are all willing to go to extreme lengths to protect the ones they love. Hopefully, they will be at the center of future books in this series.

I, of course, have to mention the romance. Steamy and sexually charged from the moment they meet, Raku and Miari’s story is a page-turner. I love how they make each other feel, the deep bond that they share, and their understandably confused and conflicted feelings for one another. They have amazing chemistry that makes the reader root for the unlikely duo.

As the story is told from both Raku and Miari’s perspectives, the reader has a deeper understanding of the thoughts and feelings of each protagonist. I appreciate this type of narrative, as I feel that I understand their motivations and rationales better.

Though this is a sci-fi romance, the story is much deeper than that. It explores topics like equality, the treatment of women, xenophobia, facing prejudices and one’s demons, invoking change, and protecting the vulnerable. I love when books delve into universal and relevant themes that add poignancy and depth to the stories.

This is a well-written, well-paced story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. With unbelievably vivid world-building, richly developed characters, and themes of female empowerment, this is everything I love in a romance novel. Filled with action, unusual creatures and planets, spicy romance, and relatable characters, this is a book that romance readers will love!


Rating:

Favorite Parts:

  • The dual narratives. I like that I knew the thoughts and feelings of both Miari and Raku.
  • The amazing and unique universe. The story takes place on different planets and on different ships. Everything is described vividly.
  • The romance, of course! 🙂 I am always a sucker for a good romance, and the instant soul-mate bond that they have is insane!

Favorite Quotes:

Miara: I can feel his hearts beat. More than one of them. I can taste his skin. I can hear his breath. Spices I can’t name. The pattering of water on smooth stones. A blessed coolness…I recognize those eyes, as if from another lifetime, and all I can think as the pain of a fresh fear drags me to my knees is where have you been?

Raku: “Raku…” she whispers and I’ll be damned to the universe’s lowest rung. The sound of my title on her tongue does things to me. I could sink cities for her, hearing her speak to me in such a way. “Please,” she begs and I shiver all over. Nox, not cities. Civilizations.

Recommendations:

Readers of steamy sci-fi romance will love this book. Also, people who like stories with dual narratives and engrossing universe building will appreciate this novel.

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: Taken to Voraxia by Elizabeth Stephens

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