Title: Taken to Nobu
Author: Elizabeth Stephens
Series: Xiveri Mates (Book 2)
Page Length: 475
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
There’s no way I’m letting this alien who calls me his Xiveri mate claim me as his. He may say the right things and stir emotions in me I never expected to feel again for any male, but his kind has already taken too much from me as is.
Trapped now on his harsh, snow-consumed planet waiting to be hunted, with no way of escape, I’ll do the only thing I can. The one thing I’ve been training for since the aliens first came to the human moon colony to hurt us. I’ll fight.
But when our enemies become one, will I be able to leave my prejudices behind and fight, not against, but alongside him?
She hates me, my human mate, but she honors me all the same. Nobu has never seen a queen before who is able to wield sword and staff, fist and tongue. A warrior queen, and mine to claim in the ceremony of the Mountain Run.
But when she fights me, it is not out of honor. She fights out of fear. She has been hurt before and views me as she does him. As a monster. Perhaps I am, because the one who harmed her will suffer torture upon torture at my hands.
I will need to catch him first and unfortunately, he has plans of his own and allies off-world. My queen and I will need to fight together to bring him to his knees and bury him once and for all… Trust, first, is what I need from her.
Taken to Nobu is a fabulous addition to the Xiveri Mates series. We first met Kiki, the protagonist, in Taken to Voraxia when she valiantly defended Miari from vicious beasts and was severely injured in the process. Kiki spends the remainder of that story incapacitated and recuperating from her wounds.
At the beginning of this book, Kiki, now healed, learns that she is on a foreign planet, and she is about to participate in a hunt. Traumatized by the hunts practiced on her home planet and the sexual assault she experienced by a sadistic Voraxian, Kiki is horrified by her present situation and decides that she won’t relent without a fight. She hates the aliens and the hunt, and she trained to fight so that she would never be a victim again.
So, why does she feel so connected to Va’Raku? Is he really her Xiveri mate? Kiki’s body and mind want two different things, and Kiki is more confused than ever.
Va’Raku/Okkari admires his warrior mate and is devastated to learn of her past trauma. He is determined to do whatever it takes to get Kiki to trust and love him even if it means courting her, or worse, letting her go.
Can Kiki put aside her misgivings and prejudices, and can Okkari convince her that their love is worth fighting for?
The story alternates between Kiki and Okkari’s points of view. This dual narrative is effective in providing multiple perspectives and opinions of the events that unfold throughout the story. I find that it also worked well in describing the different traditions of Roku. Kiki experienced things differently than Okkari, as she is not from Roku and he is. Seeing events unfold from different perspectives shows how different Kiki and Okkari are culturally, and yet how similar they are in their actions and feelings.
Kiki is tough. She’s jaded, and she has a smart mouth. She doesn’t trust easily, and her prejudice against the inhabitants of Roku is palpable. Considering her past, this isn’t surprising, and it takes time for her to come to terms with her new reality. She feels conflicted and afraid of giving in to her feelings and desires.
Abandonment, loss, and sexual assault riddle her past and makes her distrustful of men. Kiki has a lot of justified anger and hurt, which she uses to keep people at arm’s length. Okkari is one of the first males to break through that wall, even though Kiki tries hard not to give in to the feelings she develops for him.
Okkari’s acceptance of Kiki, his understanding of her needs, and his desire to please her make this Alpha alien a perfect partner. His pride in her strength and skill, as well as his tenderness and protectiveness, says a lot about his character. He treats Kiki like his equal and his queen, and he feels honored and favored by the gods for binding him to Kiki.
Some of his swoon-worthy moments include learning and practicing human dating customs to show her respect and honor, giving her a home of her own to live in until she is ready to live with him, and taking her on a “date” to combat training instead of the typical date. There are also lovely moments like this:
She beams up at me, all radiant light. She would make Voraxia’s suns jealous…I nod, mute, feeling every bit a boy. Feeling every bit a King.
Taken to Nobu is a well-crafted, well-paced romance with dynamic characters and edge-of-your-seat action. I love Kiki’s warrior personality and Okkari’s love and admiration of her. In addition to the amazing characters and immersive world-building, Elizabeth Stephens has a knack of successfully addressing difficult subjects within her stories. Thanks so much to Elizabeth Stephens for an advanced copy of the book.
- The romance, of course! Kiki and Okkari have a unique love story, and I love how it develops.
- The amazing world-building. Stephens continues to fantastically develop this dynamic universe.
- The depiction of strong females that challenge societal norms.
Readers of sci-fi romance will love this book. Also, people who like stories with dual narratives and engrossing universe building will also appreciate this series. This is the second book in the Xiveri Mates series, so, though you could read Taken to Nobu as a standalone, I would recommend reading Taken to Voraxia first. It provides context to some of the character and events in this story.