Off Balance is the sequel to Off Planet, which I read and reviewed last year, and if you really want to make sense of this review, you may want to read that one first. This review will have some minor spoilers for Off Planet.
I’m reverting to the old pros/cons list for the this review to help me sort out my thoughts, since there were a lot of things I really liked, and several things that annoyed me:
- Amihanna is just so, so self-absorbed for most of this story. It’s all about her and her feelings and how everyone is going to respond to her if she decides to marry Lorne. She spends a lot of time avoiding doing anything remotely ruler-like, yet also complains that she isn’t treated with respect/like a ruler. I guess part of this is that I’m not someone who tends to agonize over decisions, even big ones. Assess your choices and their probable trajectories, make the best decision you can, then don’t look back. Consequently, I don’t have a great deal of patience for someone who spends a LOT of time havering.
- Way too much time is spent in a gym/doing physical training of some kind. We get it. She’s incredibly physically fit.
- Explicit sex scene that I was not expecting since no such thing has appeared in any of Erin’s other books that I’ve read (including the entire Alpha Girl series). Also a few scenes that were more graphically violent than really seemed necessary. Like a lot more.
- Overall a bit of second-book syndrome. A lot of this book is waiting for things to happen more than it is things actually happening. It felt like we could have cut out some of the scenes of Amihanna doing the same thing over and over and OVER again in the first book, cut out some of the incessant training scenes in this book, and combined them into one book with more action.
- While I’m griping about Ami in this review, I do actually like her as a person. I just feel like she spends a lot of time talking like she’s super badass, but hiding from her actual responsibilities/decisions.
- World-building is great. There is a real sense of place and other-worldliness without being too crazy. Loved the glimpses of the Aunare culture and would love to see more of it.
- NO LOVE TRIANGLE! Can’t tell you how excited I was about this! The end of Off Planet seemed to feel like it was setting up for one, but that’s completely avoided in this book, and I am definitely here for that, as I think having a love triangle is the dumbest trope of all time.
- Which ties into another pro – LORNE. As a character, Lorne is definitely my favorite. Why Amihanna would hesitate for even half a second is mind-boggling to me. While not perfect, Lorne is incredibly patient, kind, thoughtful, and intelligent. He is eager to help Ami learn more about the Aunare but never comes across as condescending. I’m totally in love with this guy, and only wish we had gotten way more of his perspective, which was significantly more interesting than Ami’s whining about her (actually very comfortable) life.
- While I didn’t like having an explicit sex scene in the story, I did appreciate that it didn’t feel like something the characters just rushed into. It felt like a thoughtful, serious decision, and I liked that aspect.
- The actual story is solid. There are a lot of great characters, several directions the plot could reasonably take, and a lot of interesting things going on.
3.5*, which is where I ended up with Off Planet, too. A good sequel, a series I recommend if you like sci-fi on the lighter side of sci, and a series I definitely am interested to follow going forward.
NB: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Receiving this book didn’t impact my review at all. Special thanks to the publisher!!