Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: The Experiment
Author: Alicia Nordwell
Heroes: Ryker & Seral
Genre: M/M Sci-fi Romance
Length: 270 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 27, 2014
Available at: Dreamspinner Press
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads & Booklikes
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.
For five years, Ryker has been experimented on to look like a Caeorleian, not to mention tortured and abused. When his transformation is complete, he’s unwillingly sent onto the planet Caeorleia with the captured alien, Seral. Unfortunately, whatever the scientists did to him forced a bond between Ryker and Seral. He doesn’t expect to live for long but Seral surprises him and before he knows it, he’s created a life he never thought he’d have again. But someone isn’t happy about Seral and Ryker surviving, forcing them to fight off many attempts on their lives. Can they figure out who the traitor is before one of them is seriously hurt or will the war between the Caeorleians and humans only escalate?
A word of caution: The blurb is a little misleading, IMO. Specifically, “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.” Ryker never questions which side he’s on. Even in the beginning when he was scared of all Caeorleians, he knew, no matter what, he wasn’t going to do anything to aid the very humans that tortured him.
Regardless of that, I really enjoyed this sci-fi story. The world Ms. Nordwell created is very intriguing and I loved how different but similar the Caeorleians were compared to regular humans. The fact that they speak differently and communicate by humming and vibrations was fascinating not to mention the fact they’re alien vampires. I also loved experiencing the bond developing between Ryker and Seral. I found the idea behind the isitziu (the markings on their body) interesting and how in the bond, one person is the isit and the other the tzui. Honestly, I just loved the planet and the new customs surrounding the Caeorleians.
Ryker and Seral together are both hot and sweet. Ryker, while terrified and weak in the beginning, grows stronger and has no problems being stubborn to his mate, which I found very amusing. Seral is the classic alpha male. Very possessive, protective and ‘hear me roar!’ but I did love his gentleness when handling Ryker. Even though he had a tendency to coddle Ryker more than necessary, I loved their interactions together. By the end, Ryker grew comfortable enough to not only stick up to Seral when he did something brainless but they also developed an easy banter.
While I really enjoyed the book, I had a few issues. For one, I feel like Seral’s race and the planet are still one big mystery. By the end of the story, I had so many questions about everything. Why was Seral in on the strategy meetings but the heir to the throne wasn’t? Why did Dade have fangs and claws but Ryker didn’t? Those are only two of the dozens more questions I have. On top of that, there was a little too much sex for my liking and mixed with them doing it when one or both of them were hurt, it grew a tad excessive.
Overall, this was a great book. It captured my attention from the start when everything seemed so bleak and held it until the end when things worked out. I loved getting to see Ryker adjust to a new and strange world and seeing Seral do everything he could to make Ryker at home. I hope there’s more to come of this world because I’d love to see Fieo and Nicklaus find their happy ending.
Just a note, this story is told in both first-person and third-person narrative. Ryker’s point of view is told in first-person and Seral’s is told via third-person. It’s disorienting at first to adjust to the switches but once I got into the groove of things, I barely noticed it, even though this style is not one of my favorites.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*