Book Title:
Beyond the Red
Book Author:
Ava Jae
Publishing Date:
March 1st, 2016
Sky Pony Press
Date Read:
March 7th, 2016


Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

My Review

I really love science fiction and fantasy, but for some reason, I find myself not reading enough of it.  So when I heard about this book, I was more or less through the roof about reading it, because I had a feeling I would absolutely adore it.

When I first started reading Beyond the Red, I was reminded why science fiction and fantasy books are so amazing – they completely recreate the world (or just put us on a new one, which is the case in this book), and it’s so easy to get lost in the wonderful world-building and completely new cultures and characters that make the book so captivating and addicting.  Beyond the Red has all those things, all wrapped up with a gorgeous cover that you will just keep staring at when you aren’t reading the book.

The story is told through alternating viewpoints – the first is of Eros, a rebel soldier who is a half-blood.  He is the child of a Sepharon and a human, and he is pretty much unwanted by both sides.  While half-bloods are normally killed upon birth, Eros was kept safe, and now he fights the Sepharon armies and tries to keep them from destroying the humans and their families.  The second viewpoint is Kora, a Sepharon queen who is trying to do what her people need, while under constant scrutiny from her brother, who wants the throne for himself.

When Eros has his camp raided by Sepharon soldiers, and everyone is killed, except for women and children, he is taken to Kora’s palace where he will be forced to become a servant.  When tracking nanites are injected into Eros, however, he has a horrible reaction which leads us to find out that he isn’t just half Sepharon and half human – but he’s a lot more special than that.  Kora decides that until she can get to the bottom of the situation, Eros shall become her personal servant, guarding her and making sure she is protected.  While Eros isn’t thrilled about the deal, he would rather that that be killed – something that was sure to happen if Kora hadn’t stepped in.

What followers is a bittersweet, forbidden romance between Kora and Eros, and while it’s impossible for them to be together, I couldn’t help but find myself wishing for them to overcome the odds.  While this is going on, a threat on the life of a potential suitor for Kora has her being blamed for the attempt – even if she didn’t do it.  Forced to run or be executed, Kora must give up everything she has ever known and is faced with the reality of what is really going on with her people when she flees into the desert.

The one thing about Beyond the Red that I really enjoyed was the fact that the Sepharon have a language different from that of the humans – so it was interesting to learn some of their language while reading.  There’s even a handy little glossary in the back of the book (and I’ll admit I kept it bookmarked the whole time I was reading so I could easily flip back and re-check things when I wasn’t sure about something).  This was clearly well thought out, and as a reader, I really appreciate the work that Ava Jae has put into this book.

The entire novel is fast-paced, so if you’re like me and you enjoy a lot of action and things happening in your books, this is a great one to check out.  I really loved Kora’s character – despite the fact that she was a Queen and had servants, she knew when to put her foot down and speak up when she knew something wasn’t right.  I admired her independence and her ability to say “Hey, this is what’s going to happen, deal with it.”  I loved her and Eros together.  While it did seem like a rushed romance, it wasn’t something that ruined the story – in fact, I thought their instant attraction to each other kind of made it better.

I really hope that this book turns into a series instead of just a standalone, because I absolutely love the characters and would be thrilled at the chance to return to this world and have the story continue.  While there isn’t a cliffhanger or anything at the end, it kind of does leave room for this to turn into a series, so I’m crossing my fingers!

If you like fantasy and science fiction, you won’t want to miss this one.  It’s such a fun read and it was so easy to get into!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

4 stars
This entry was posted in Fantasy, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

  1. Denise says:

    I really want to read this one! The cover is so beautiful, and I’ve only heard good things. I like how badass the protagonist sounds, and I’m glad it’s fast paced too. The thing that usually makes me not enjoy sci-fi and fantasy books is slow pacing, so it’s good to hear these aren’t like that! 😀

    Denise | The Bibliolater
    Denise recently posted…Popular Books I Don’t Want to ReadMy Profile

    • Kelly says:

      If you like fast-paced fantasy, this is definitely one to add to your TBR list! If you do pick it up, you’ll have to let me know how you like it!

  2. The cover is GOOOOORGEOUS and I’ve been seeing this one around a LOT lately, though I don’t recall exactly where I’ve been seeing it… Regardless, I’m going to be looking into it more and might just pick it up myself! Thanks for the awesome review!

    • Kelly says:

      Thank you! Yes, the cover is so pretty – it’s definitely what captured my attention at first! I hope you can get a copy and read it, it’s awesome!

  3. Alicia Avila says:

    I’ve been eyeing this one for a while and I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it! I’m going to have to check to see if my library has it the next time I’m there. Fantastic review!

    • Kelly says:

      Thank you! I hope you’re able to get ahold of a copy – it’s such an awesome book! If you do get a chance to read it, I can’t wait to see what you thought!

  4. FORBIDDEN ROMANCE?! You sold me. A friend read it and didn’t like it because of the romance- but liked the rest of it. I hoped it would work for me because I am usually a fan of romance, and now that you tell me about this forbidden romance, I am SOLD! Between her liking the world building and such, and you vouching for the characters and romance, I am definitely in! OH- and that language thing sounds really fun too! Great review!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…March New Release Giveaway Hop!My Profile

    • Kelly says:

      Yes! The whole forbidden romance thing is what really sucked me in, too. I have a weakness for those, haha. I really hope you like it if you decide to read it!

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