Title: Throwaway Mate
Author: Ellen Cross
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Pages/Word Count: 63 Pages
At a Glance: Good premise that would have been better executed as a novel.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: One man’s trash is another man’s destiny.
Aiden is the black sheep of his family. Of course, always being covered in grease hasn’t helped, but put anything mechanically broken into his hands and he can fix it. His cold-hearted parents have lived off his talent for years, but apparently, it wasn’t enough. They sell Aiden to slavers and plan to use the funds to buy themselves a life of high social standing within the city. Dumped on a refuse recycling planet along with other enslaved women and children, Aiden uses his talent to transform an ancient wreck of a cargo transport into their escape plan. His plan would have gone off without a hitch, if he hadn’t been shot in the escape. Bleeding, dying, Aiden locks himself into the cockpit of the ship the second help arrives and aids their landing, knowing that unlike the other slaves who have eager families to return to, he has no one. It’s just better if he fades away from this existence.
Jaylon lost all hope of love years ago, when his intended killed herself on the morning of their wedding, rather than face him over her betrayal. Now, as a medic, he has no time to think of what could have been, until a hunk of metal posing as a ship literally falls from the sky. When Jaylon breaks down the cockpit door to the sight of a pale, skinny, yet breathtaking man, bleeding out on the floor, he has to wonder if fate has sent him a second chance at a future, or if it is just reopening an old wound and pouring salt onto it.
Review: I had high hopes for this story because the blurb sounded fantastic, but in the end, it was just too much packed into too short a space.
The author has a good idea: Aiden is treated terribly by his family, and when they need money, they sell him off to slavers. Aiden manages to save other slaves but endangers his life to do so. A healer named Jaylon is there when he crash lands and has to fight Aiden in order to save him from himself. In order to do that, he needs to mate with him. There are a lot of twists revealed, and several different alien species with complex societies that I wanted to know more about, but it really needed more space to fully flesh them out. Sixty-three pages just wasn’t enough.
I liked Jaylon and Aiden. Their unique abilities make them a good pair. Once Aiden is rescued, the truth of his origin is revealed, and everything moves too quickly. A hidden species is very quickly found and brought into play, even though they’re supposed to be secretive and nearly extinct. And did Aiden’s captors ever come back? They seemed to give up so quickly.
I should also mention that the title is actually pretty clever. While it at first appears that Aiden is the throwaway mate, it could actually go both ways if you take into consideration Jaylon’s previous circumstances.
There is a lot of telling rather than showing in this novel, and quite a bit of info dumping. If this were rewritten as a full novel, however, I think that would take care of those problems. A strong edit would also help tighten everything.
You can buy Throwaway Mate here: