RED DAWN by Annie Nicholas
Red Dawn by Annie Nicholas
Reviewed by Patrice F.
Sadie Beckit is thrilled about her latest assignment as Liaison to the Cygni, an enigmatic alien race. The downside is the information chip she received has little information and her charge, Ambassador Nual, refuses to offer more. Sadie learns what truly matters when their ship, Red Dawn, is attacked with a slim to no chance of rescue and survival. She pits her wits against a brutal enemy while struggling with her feelings for Nual and her sense of duty.
What’s a Liaison to do when her job, friends, life and heart are on the line?
It’s always a pleasure to discover a new story with endearing main and supporting characters (human and non-human), solid writing and inventive storytelling. Red Dawn fits all of the above, and can best be described as a remarkable intense read. Sadie is smart and strong, my favorite kind of heroine, without all the clichés you sometimes get in stories. Her consciousness as a Liaison added sensitive vulnerability. She is courageous enough to sacrifice her life for her cause and honor. In love, of course, there are no limits. What special man could partner this rare woman? Well, say no more. Nual compliments her in every way, while teasing the reader as mercilessly as he teases Sadie. In all fairness, the Cygni are reticent for a good reason. The few glimpses and revelations offered, threw me, thrilled me and surprised me! There’s no way I will offer a hint about Nual and his people, you’ll have to read this one for yourself!
My only complaint is I wished the author had spent more time on Sadie and Nual as couple before rushing into the action and danger. The sexual tension is there yet I felt as if the author was shying away from actual sexual intimacy; not just the act, but details. Without being graphic (I respect that stance) the author could have offered more insight about whether Nual was more alien or human in the areas that count in intimacy. Perhaps this was the point, to keep me in the dark, which kept me reading. I appreciate the conflict, Sadie’s hungry eyes roving all over this “blue Adonis” despite the fact she’s struggling to keep her professional composure, yet the delivery felt like a mixed message from the omnipotent point of view. Nual doesn’t have any restrictions, and I wish Ms. Nicholas would have explored this further with Sadie besides brief encounters which felt rushed and hesitant.
As I finished reading Red Dawn, I experienced the same kind of excitement from reading my dad’s old sci-fi short-story collections. This author combines all the early insight and innovation of the genre in her work, makes it shine with clear, crisp writing and freshness. I hope she will continue this series because Ms. Nicholas revives sci-fi fiction with narrative vigor, while staying true to herself. She grasps the concepts and foundation set long before by authors such as Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Poul Anderson and others. What sets her work apart is she does it with emotion and technical finesse, which is why I have the pleasure of recommending this story.