Title: Song of the Navigator
Author: Astrid Amara
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 224 Pages
At a Glance: I found myself absolutely devouring this book, which is always a good sign.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Worst Possible Birthday: Being sold into slavery by none other than your lover.
Tover Duke’s rare ability to move anything instantly across light-years of space makes him a powerful, valuable asset to the Harmony Corporation, and a rock star among the people of the colonies. His life is luxurious. Safe. Routine.
He has his pick of casual hookups passing through Dadelus-Kaku Station. His one brush with danger of any kind—the only bright spot in his otherwise boring life—is Cruz Arcadio, a dark-haired, hard-bodied engineer whose physical prowess hints he’s something much more.
When a terrorist abducts Tover, hurling him into a world of torture, exploitation and betrayal, it’s with shattering disbelief that he realizes his kidnapper is none other than Cruz. As Tover struggles to find the courage to escape his bondage, he begins to understand the only way to free his body, his mind—and his heart—is to trust the one man who showed him that everything about his once-perfect life was a lie.
Warning: This story contains descriptions of extreme violence and assault. It also contains graphic sexual depictions. It also has a lot of birds. And pirate movies from the future. And romance.
Review: Astrid Amara’s Song of the Navigator gets a rock-solid-A for originality, while at the same time being a bit of an Icarus story, an allusion I loved from start to finish, as Tover Duke discovers hubris and betrayal will lead to his ultimate fall from grace. The man’s sense of self flew high but then suffered a devastating decent, one that came close to breaking him both psychologically and physically, and was made all the more destructive when the Judas kiss was bestowed upon him by his sometimes-lover, Cruz Arcadio.
Tover’s celebrity status as an improvisational navigator—someone with a hyper-telekinetic ability to move objects across vast expanses of space at warp speed—makes him an invaluable asset to Harmony Corporation, which is where the heart of the problem lies. Tover’s one of fewer than fifty who wield the sort of power he possesses, a power for which he was cultivated by Harmony at the tender age of five. He’s been using it to their benefit, and for his own monetary gain, since he’d become old enough to sign his life away to the company at the age of eighteen—a Faustian bargain for which he pays dearly. Tover is their gilded-caged songbird, a lesson he learns at the expense of everything—his pride, his humanity, his physical and emotional wellbeing—once he realizes that all the creature comforts and pretty trappings he’d once thought of as home were nothing more than an illusion of freedom.
After being kidnapped by Cruz in an escape from the Dadelus-Kaku Station, and sold with all haste to a group of space pirates, we play witness to Tover’s demise, in the figurative sense as well as the somewhat literal, in that Cruz’s utter betrayal and Tover’s treatment at the cruel and brutal hands of his captors effectively destroys the man he’d once been. We watch him, body and mind broken, as the realization begins its crippling effects on his emotions, coming to terms with how alone he is, how little he’d meant to the man he’d fallen in love with, and how his collection of birds (the juxtaposition evident in their role in Tover’s life) had become his only means of solace in a world where he’d been worshiped for his ability and possessed like a commodity.
Loyalty and trust are questioned and challenged in Song of the Navigator; one man’s naïveté and his learning to forgive play a pivotal role in his finding the strength and courage to let go of everything his life had once been, and to survive what it had become. Astrid Amara’s imagination brings an alternate universe to the page, with danger and espionage and a planet on the brink of destruction, if something isn’t done to prevent it.
I found myself absolutely devouring this book, which is always a good sign, and fell victim to the drama of Tover’s capture, his painful acquiescence, rescue, and his learning not only to trust Cruz again, but to believe in himself too. The building of their relationship took place largely off page in the beginning, with a flashback here and there, and while this is typically a detractor for me and makes it more difficult to become invested in a relationship, that didn’t hold true for Tover and Cruz because we get to see a new dimension of their relationship unfold as the story continues, one much deeper and more satisfying than they’d once had. I was not only rooting for them every step of the way, but I also loved the role Cruz’s mother and sister played in the mending of Tover’s body, his mind and spirit, and his heart as well.
If you’re looking for a good sci-fi fix that plays out in the story of a broken and rebuilt hero, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Song of the Navigator.
You can buy Song of the Navigator here: