Title: Bonds of Brass
Author: Emily Skrutskie
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Publication Date: April 7th, 2020 (TODAY!!!)
Source: e-ARC (Netgalley)
One Sentence Synopsis
Ettian, a young solider training to fight for the Umber empire (the empire that dominated his people in a bloody war), finds himself having to protect the Umber heir who just happens to be his best friend, Gal.
This quote is from an uncorrected copy and may change in the final version
“But I don’t believe in the empire that pulled me out of the rubble and glued me back together. And I don’t trust the empire that crumbled to dust and left me to die.”
Before I jump into this review, I want to say thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Also, thank you to Penguin Random House/Del Rey Books for sending me links for some cool additions to this post. It is very much appreciated!
Have you ever read a book that made you pace as you read it? That made it impossible to sit still while the story unfolded? That caused you to actually yell when Big Things happened?
Yeah, this is that kind of book! I was so freakin’ HYPED while reading Bonds of Brass and it’s been a long time that I’ve read something so action-packed! I was just going through my notes so I could start writing this review and I got hyped all over again 😂
Our main character, Ettian Nassun, has had a rough life. His world was destroyed when the militaristic Umber Empire invaded and overthrew the Archon rulers. Ettian spent years just surviving, but now he has fought his way into the Umber military academy and is one of it’s top pilots. He’s striving to forget the past and try and build a life for himself in this new empire. But then, Ettian saves his best friend (and possible crush), Gal Veres, from an assassination attempt and learns a disturbing truth: Gal is the heir to the Umber throne. Now, he has to try and safely deliver Gal home, but he finds himself torn. Does he throw his lot in with a Gal, the man who he has fallen for and trusts to not be as cruel as his parents? Or does he join the brewing rebellion and help them to take back their empire?
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I don’t know any other way to say it! This was a heart-pounding ride that snatches you in, buckles you up, and says, “Ya better hang on to something.” The plot grabs you from page one and rolls out in such a well-paced, thrilling way that you can’t help but enjoy the journey! The action has your heart in throat and you pumping your fist. And, even though it’s a mile-a-minute, it doesn’t feel rushed or unreal. It’s perfectly paced, in my opinion, and such a delight to experience.
And the characters! Can I just gush about Ettian for five pages? Because I absolutely adored Ettian! He’s so conflicted and nuanced and brave and wonderful. Emily Skrutskie did such a fantastic job creating a character that has two sides of himself in constant conflict: the side that is a proud Archon and the side that is trying to be a dutiful Umber citizen. It’s such an interesting dynamic and one of my favorite parts of the book. Gal is pretty alright, too… I guess…
Can you tell I have a favorite? Naaahhhhh 😅
Kidding aside, all of the characters in this book were beautifully written. They were all well fleshed-out, which I appreciate in the first book of a trilogy. I want to be able to get a feel for the major players right away, not wait til book three to finally get some layers. I also thought the romance was super adorable. Just… so freakin’ cute! I was rooting for our boys from the moment they took off on their journey. I don’t really like it when romance takes over the plot of a fantasy/sci-fi story, but this was perfectly balanced.
Another aspect of this book that I really appreciated is… kind of hard to describe? I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in the military and was in the military for over six years. When I was reading about Ettian and Gal’s time at their military academy, it just brought back so many memories! And the descriptions of the base was so spot-on for many an Air Force base where I’ve worked. I just really loved that feeling of the familiar. I know, I know, it’s pretty niche, but it’s yet another reason this book was so incredible!
Also, THE ENDING! Prepare yourself. Honestly, even if you prepare yourself, YOU ARE NOT READY! So. Good.
Final thoughts: Are you in the mood for a thrilling space adventure with a dash of m/m romance, a pinch of rebellion, and a hell of a lot of conflict? Then you will absolutely love Bonds of Brass! It’s a white-knuckle thrill ride that will have you bouncing out of your chair. I’m stupid excited that this is the first book in a trilogy!
As a fun addition to this review, I want to share a playlist that was sent to me by Penguin Random House/Del Rey Books! Because I do love a good playlist and this one looks pretty (pun: incoming)… stellar 😁