Title: The Experiment (Saving Caeorleia: Book 1)
Author: Alicia Nordwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 270 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: In the distant future, humans wage war against the alien planet Caeorleia, with no tactic off-limits if it will help the humans get their hands on Caeorleia’s resources. Ask Ryker. He thought he volunteered for a simple experiment that would help his government in the war. He didn’t realize sadistic doctors would turn him into the experiment—by injecting him with blood from a captured Caeorleian, Seral Iorflas.
Nor did Ryker realize he’d be sent to sabotage a planet full of the very beings his world is battling, beings who kill humans on sight. But then, thanks to the experiment that irrevocably changed him, he isn’t exactly human any longer—and with each passing day, as his blood bond with Seral strengthens, he’s less and less sure as to whose side he’s on.
Review: Loved it! I know that there are dark elements to the story and what Ryker goes through is seriously disturbingly wrong, but most of that is off the page having already happened. What we really have is a sweet love story set in a sci-fi alien futuristic world where everything is just a little different except the way that love takes over and makes anything possible.
Ryker is so damaged when we meet him. Broken in body and, at first glance, spirit. We fear for him and his ability to survive. Then as we spend more time with him and see what he has gone through and what he continues to deal with as he adjusts to this alien world, we begin to see the spark that has kept him alive through everything those evil people did to him for the last five years. You see a man who has not only endured, but adapted and now begins to thrive. Still hesitant, but growing stronger, every day and with every loving caress and tender moment he shares with Seral. Ryker was an amazing character to get to ride through this adventure through.
Seral is wonderful. While he suffered some of the same hardships and ill treatment from the bad guys, he was much more valued and therefore treated better than Ryker. He was more a prisoner and blood donor than a tortured test subject. Seral is big, strong, tough and influential, yet when he gets around Ryker he is all that is patient and gentle. He fights his own needs and desires to try to make Ryker feel safe. He stands up for him and fights to make sure that his mate is secure and happy. I was so glad that we got the scenes that gave more insight from Seral’s perspective, it helped me to better understand him and added to the story as a whole.
While there is an element of mating it’s the best kind. Not so much a “one mate” as a compatibility and there is choice. They have to work for their happy ending. Between all that has gone before, dealing with the prejudices and hatred spawned by war and the dangers of that war, things are complicated. When you add in the normal adjustments and misunderstandings these guys have their work cut out for them. Then just to make things interesting they are different species and have very different cultures and backgrounds. So yeah, watching that all come together and Ryker and Seral time and again choose each other was great. I loved that all of the misunderstandings were logical and moved the story forward. I adored that those misunderstandings didn’t drag on or get silly. No unnecessary drama.
There was a great supporting cast who I loved and enjoyed getting to know. They fleshed out this alien world and made it a place that Ryker could be happy and have a future. There were some characters who demand their own stories and I am waiting impatiently to read those books. Alicia Nordwell, pretty please with hot fudge, whipped cream and two cherries on top tell me that they are already in the works and we will get to read them soon! Cause we are itching to get our hands on them.
I loved this book so much that I immediately told Beans about it and she devoured it and then went online to find the other books. She is crying softly in the corner and wringing her hands asking why, why there isn’t already more books she can read about this universe and these beautiful, brave men who need their own books, with maybe a couple more about Ryker and Seral.
Reviewed by Nina