Author: Valentina Heart
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages/Word Count: 211 Pages
At a Glance: Great start to a series with characters that are lovable if damaged.
Blurb: Jared, a guard on one of the many penal space stations, is good at his job, but painfully naive. Getting convicted for a crime he didn’t commit and being sentenced to a life in prison did not feature in his vision of the future. When he gets rescued, then promptly claimed as property by Sar, the most dangerous and biggest man on the penal station, he’s just about ready to gracefully faint.
But Sar is apparently a genius with a hidden face and big expectations. Sar wants Jared to learn to fight, he expects Jared to serve his sexual needs, and to socialize with Sar’s friends. So while Jared works on his stances and apparently can’t get enough of sex, he still has trouble cheerfully conversing with the same men who would rather kill him or claim him for their own.
All of that changes with new arrivals, a kidnapping, and secret agendas. Will Jared survive torture and is Sar bad and mad enough to rescue him, or are they more likely to perish when the clock ticks off and the station blinks out with the sound of an explosion?
Review: Writers shouldn’t be able to make you fall in love with convicted criminals as much as Valentina Heart does in Penal Station 05. Though it’s clear Jared and Sar are on the prison station for a reason, you’re immediately drawn into their world and you want to cheer for them even though it seems utterly hopeless.
In this future, prison is in space, and the worst of them all is Penal Station 05. After a riot decades ago, it has been locked off from the rest of the society. There are no guards since the riot caused half to flee and the other half to stay behind, doomed. Instead, supply drops and new prisoners are sent down every so often and the inmates regulate themselves. It’s a difficult life—if it can even be called that—but those on the station are the worst criminals out there.
At least, that’s what it seems.
Sar has been on the station his entire life. He’s one of the biggest, and one of the baddest, and not many want to cross paths with him. He conceals his face behind a bandana and keeps to his cell, reading whenever possible.
Jared is new to the prison. He’s been convicted of something and given an unfair trial, which lands him on Penal Station 05. He is immediately taken under the wing of Sar, who keeps him safe from the other inmates who would rape, beat, and possibly kill him. Jared has little choice but to go along with whatever Sar plans for him because, while being one man’s property is not an option he wants, the alternatives seem far worse. At least Sar seems kind and promises to ensure his safety.
Not all is at it seems with this book, however. There are interesting revelations about the main characters, and so many lovely twists that keep the reader engaged. Despite the odds, I really rooted for Sar and Jared. Their relationship might not be conventional, but they seem to truly care for each other.
That said, there are some major trigger warnings for this book, so if you cannot handle violence—both physical and sexual—then this book is not for you. If you can handle it, I highly recommend it. There is rape that happens in the background, near rape, violence, murder, disfigurement. It’s really brutal. But rather than being used gratuitously, I felt Valentina Heart truly depicted life on the station in the best way possible and revealed just what was at stake for Sar and Jared.
I loved the ending and I hope the next book in the series continues to follow Sar and Jared. Will I read it? Absolutely! I want to know what happens to them in their new situation. I can think of several characters who will be recurring, and I can only imagine what difficulties are in store for them now.
You can buy Penal Station 05 here: