“Stinger” by Katya Harris
Synopsis: Kara was born and raised on the cold mining planet of Reach, and has dreamed her whole life of being somewhere else. Stuck with an abusive mother and a dead end job, she longs to experience the worlds she only sees on the vid-screens.
Then those other worlds come to her by way of a stranger, when she saves his life the night he arrives. From a planet called Haven, Sarit is a breed of human created to survive the unhospitable planet and who are now seen by many as less than human.
Though it causes resentment and brings her new trouble, Kara defends Sarit against abusers and builds a friendship with him that soon becomes the best part of her world. Try as she might though to enjoy the time they have together, even with the danger they face, it’s impossible to forget that eventually Sarit will return to traveling the stars and she’ll be left more alone than ever.
5 out of 5 stars
This is a sci-fi/fantasy novella that I really enjoyed. Even though it’s a short read, the author does an amazing job of building the inhospitable world that our main character, Kara, lives on. It’s an icy, dirty planet and the people living there are much the same. The main source of work is mining – hard, brutal work for hard, brutal people.
Kara works as a barmaid, serving drinks and trying to stay out of arms reach of the men who frequent the bar. On her way home, she sees a stranger attacked by a group of men and helps save his life.
The stranger is Sarit, a breed of human from the planet Haven. The Haven people had to use nanotechnology in order to survive their planet which left them with the ability to control electricity. The name stinger is slang for that use as their fingertips glow when they use it. Sarit is on the planet of Reach to repair some of the mining equipment.
Sarit is shunned by the entire populace; all except Kara. She feels safe with him for the first time in her life. Safe from her abusive mother and safe from the predatory men on her planet. Sarit is only there for a short time and Kara is left to face what life will be like when he leaves.
I haven’t read anything by Katya Harris before, but I will definitely be looking for more of her writing. It’s very original and I connected so much with both Kara and Sarit. I’ve also never read any story where one of the main characters is asexual and/or aromantic. I very much liked the exploration of platonic love vs romantic love. Sarit can’t feel romantic or sexual feelings, but that does not mean he doesn’t need and crave friendship, kindness and simple human touch.
The only thing I did not like about this book was the cover. It was dark and gloomy enough to show the planet, but I think a book like this deserves a better cover.
ARC provided by NetGalley