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Song of the Navigator

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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.

224 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 26, 2015

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Astrid Amara

29 books326 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 99 reviews
Profile Image for Martin.
744 reviews409 followers
April 29, 2020
I don't think there has ever been a sci-fi m/m story that fascinated me more than "Song of the Navigator".
Thank you for this amazing recommendation, Katerina.

In the m/m genre, sci-fi plots aren't usually the most captivating ones and frankly, I read it more for the romance than for anything else.

Song of the Navigator is a perfect m/m story, no doubt about it, BUT it is a very rare specimen that also convinced me plot-wise as a science fiction piece.

And not only is the plot really elaborate and logical, even the world-building is spot on, beautiful and leaves no doubt that this universe is as real and tactile (in the reader's mind) as the world we live in.

And that says a lot, since the first few pages require you to swallow A TON of new information that had me roll my eyes a little, as in 'these sci fi stories and their weird concepts...'.

But before I go into any specifics, my biggest praise goes definitely to the author for giving us characters here who are neither good nor bad, but who are products of their environment - and whether this environment is good or evil is not easy to decide and depends a lot on perspective.

I mean, that's an angle that is so rare in many books.

Like, we all know that big multinational companies exploit the rainforest and employ cheap workers on the other side of the world who live in poverty on a full-time salary.

But still, we buy the cheap clothes or cornflakes or whatever it is these companies produce and don't feel like we're evil for doing so, even though WE are responsible for giving these companies our money and with it our silent consent to keep exploiting parts of the world.

In the same way these companies are not seen as evil, but are constantly justifying their actions with whatever reasons that make them legal companies and not villains in some Superhero movie.

These things are serious issues in our world and the fact that PERSPECTIVE has a lot to do with them, makes it so difficult to deal with them.

Anyway, "Song of the Navigator" shows EXACTLY such a grey area constellation for all persons involved and made me think on so many levels.

Here's a bit about the plot:

Tover is a Navigator. And better get ready to absorb THAT particular concept, because once you're accepting that, the rest is gonna be a piece of cake.

A Navigator is a person with a rare genetic ability who is able to create something like a wormhole (an 'orbifold') and transport himself to either the other end of the room he's in, or to the OTHER SIDE OF THE GALAXY! Just by sheer willpower. However, it takes energy and a far reaching jump will likely kill him.

However, humans have recognized this rare ability and technologically improved it, so a Navigator is now able to use an external energy source to transport himself (or, as it is most often the case) other people or cargo to far away space stations without harming himself physically. So the industrialized use of Navigators might remind you a bit of... Transporter Chief Miles O'Brien, if you've watched Star Trek TNG back in the day.

Only very (and I mean VERY) few humans have this particular ability and even fewer manage to complete (survive??) the Navigator training that is required of them to work as Navigators.

Tover is one of these selected few - and he's something like a rock star. The huge interstellar company Harmony employs him on one of their huge space stations and he is celebrated like a boyband member with girls who want his autograph or into his bed.

Too bad Tover is gay.

And it is bad indeed, because Harmony's company policy is quite homophobic, so any same sex encounters must happen in secret and most of the time, Tover needs to pretend to have a girlfriend in order to placate his employers.


However, he does have some guys he's sleeping with in secret. And one of them is an olive-skinned structural engineer *cough* hunk *cough* named Cruz that Tover has an especially deep crush on. So deep, in fact, that Tover only looks for Cruz's face in the crowd whenever he's at a station party and even considers asking Cruz to go on a vacation with him - although chances are Tover might be turned down due to company policy reasons.

The story starts by throwing us into Tover's birthday party which is a huge media event on the station. Handsome and popular, Tover is used to loads of attention, but he's still surprised when his lover Cruz suddenly grabs him on the stage and puts a gun to his head while Harmony security guards are flooding the room.

He begs Tover to save him from being captured by taking him to a far away satellite - and Tover, more shocked than thinking rationally - creates an 'orbifold' with his mind and transports himself and Cruz to the requested far away destination. Unassisted and without the aid of any power source other than his own body.

Tover is paying a high price for the jump, but the worst is yet to come for our poor Navigator.

This story is brilliant. It's is so f*** genius, I am excited just writing my thoughts down like this.
Who is Cruz? Is he a bad guy? I hated him for what he did, for what resulted in unbearable consequences for our innocent handsome Navigator.

And still, I couldn't dislike him.

I love this about a story. The ambiguity. The need to make up your own mind about a character because you realize they are neither good nor bad and might be able to convince me of their viewpoints or not.

I found Tover's struggles absolutely spot on. He was in the same boat as me regarding Cruz.
Also, you should know that this book has REALLY dark parts. If it was a movie I would have closed my eyes A LOT. Just saying.

A perfect, perfect novel and a definite recommendation for everyone!

A 5 stars favorite that goes on my top 10 reads in 2020 !
Profile Image for Ami.
5,806 reviews499 followers
April 29, 2015
I will be honest with you – I approached this book with a LOT of trepidations. See, sci-fi is a genre that resides in the lowest of the low in my reading genre totem pole. I just can’t connect with the idea (I can watch sci-fi but not exactly enjoy reading it). All those weird names with nothing but consonants, living in other planets, ALIEN … yeah, my brain just shuts down.

But … Astrid Amara is one of my favorite authors. I first read her work almost five years ago when I started reading MM genre almost exclusively. Let’s just say that I had that in my plus corner going in, but still, it was reading something out of my comfort zone. I was dragging my feet, not wanting to do it but needed to. In fact, I told my friend that I would keep the light/fluffy contemporary romance to-read books as my “reward” after finishing this one, as I predicted that it would be a difficult read.

When I opened the first chapter, the whole explanation about navigator’s job, technology with strange terms like TEUS and orbifolds, weird places like Dadelus-Kaku Station, Kepler 7-b, Thereon Galaxy, or Aremdar Nebula, were able to give me cold sweats. But, then, "something happened on the way to heaven" … because slowly the narrative reeled me in. It only took the ending of the first chapter to make me irrevocably hooked.

Song of the Navigator is a wonderful piece of storytelling with heartbreaking but rewarding journey of a character that undergone life-changing experience of being betrayed by someone he loves the most. In the beginning, Tover Duke is basically a rock-star, worshipped by people in DK Station. He is one of the elite group of forty-two people in the whole universe who are capable of manipulating space in improvisational movement, to move goods and people into unexplored regions of the galaxy and beyond.

Tover is cherished, he lives in a penthouse, with private elevators, and has his own greenhouse for one of his passions – the birds. Until that day of his thirtieth birthday when his occasional lover, Cruz Arcadio, kidnaps him, and later trades Tover to slave pirates, which brings Tover to forced labor. He is physically tortured if he refuses to do what the pirates tell him. In an instant, Tover’s life turns into hell.

Written solely from Tover’s perspective, I must say that I loved Tover from that moment on. There is an inner strength and tenacity that Tover shows during his ordeal and later on when he recuperates. Tover learns that the life he enjoys before is not as perfect as it seems. He learns to stop being ignorant. Because when Tover is healing, living alongside the so-called terrorists, which involved Cruz and his family, he understands that there are always two-sides of every story.

I loved Tover’s character-growth happened gradually. He doesn’t immediately accept Cruz’s reason out of love. It doesn’t magically happened in one night…

“You can’t convince me that my life has been something it isn’t. I was the best at something, and I did my job with pride until you came along.” His voice broke. “I won’t let you make me believe it was worthless.”

However, Cruz challenges Tover to change his way of thinking, his way of seeing the world. At the same time, Cruz also makes Tover see that he is worth more than just what he can do.

“…Yes, you are valuable. You are worth billions. They have made you into a commodity that everyone wants a piece of.”
“You’re no different,” Tover said.
“You’re right. I want you too. But not for what you can do. I want you because of who you are.”

For me, this book is simply amazing. Yes, it has some difficult scenes related to the brutal treatment from the pirates in the beginning, but it also feels hopeful, moving, romantic, and fulfilling. I loved the characters (this novel has two notable female characters too, which I highly appreciated), I loved the setting (each location feels different yet vibrant, and acts more like supporting characters themselves), I loved the writing (beautifully engaging, as I know Astrid Amara’s would be) … and most of all, I loved the story. When I finished, I was enfolded in that pleasant feeling of satisfaction, that I refused to immediately start reading another story because I wanted to bask in the feeling for a while.

One thing for sure, Song of the Navigator is my best read of the month, and one of my favorites of the year. It also has done something quite the impossible: it makes me start thinking of perusing more MM sci-fi novels to read. That is an achievement no other books have done before. For that, it deserves my perfect 5-stars.

Readers’ Advisory : For those of you who are worried with the warning tag of extreme violence and assault and graphic sexual depictions, rest assured that this story does NOT contain any rape or non-consent sex scenes what-so-ever. The violent and assaults are all physical beatings but even those don’t last as long as one might expect. The graphic sexual depictions are between Tover and Cruz and they are definitely consensual.

The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
Profile Image for Lisazj1.
2,072 reviews147 followers
February 19, 2021
This was a blast, an incredibly well done sci-fi story, from a new-to-me author! ❤

The world-building is phenomenal, the writing and plot are exceptional and the chemistry and angst between the MCs was believable and burning-hot. *and not always the good kind*

I loved Tover and Cruz both, though my feelings for them definitely went through some changes along the way. This book isn't for the faint of heart. The first line in the blurb tells you how the story starts for Tover, and it's damn hard to read. As events unfold and Tover realizes how very badly he's been lied to his whole life, I loved seeing him grow. And when he's forced yet again into a different kind of servitude, I really loved seeing him fight back.

Cruz's part was a little harder to forgive but the things that happened to Tover were definitely not what he intended, and he did redeem himself in part by not giving up on Tover. But what really made me love Cruz was the way that he put Tover first and showed him how important he was to him, once he had a second chance. I loved how easily Cruz's family made Tover a part of them.

I was pretty unhappy to find out there's no more from this world *sigh* but I'm definitely looking forward to checking out some of the other books Astrid Amara has ready to be read!
Profile Image for Tully Vincent.
Author 3 books83 followers
March 21, 2018
This book isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s extreme violence, torture and betrayal. It’s harsh and hard to read in parts, BUT it’s also romantic, poignant and absolutely amazing.

Seldom outside of an epic fantasy series have I encountered such excellent world-building. From the DK station to the green and vibrant Carida, the settings are so vibrantly alive and peopled with characters so real that I felt like I could step right into the book and shake their hands (or punch them out as the case may be). Beautifully written.

In the afterward, the author indicates the possibility of stories set in this world eventually coming from two other authors as well, Ginn Hale and Nicole Kimberling. I’ll be crossing my fingers.
Profile Image for MLE  .
Author 3 books86 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
February 3, 2016
I really wanted to like this book, but the dynamic between the two main characters was stale, and read like old style het romance. I also can't buy Tover forgiving, and falling in love with the man who sold him into slavery. Especially considering how badly Tover was treated.

Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,365 reviews39 followers
May 6, 2020
Absolutely fabulous.
I loved pretty much everything about this.

a. the world building:
Brilliant. That’s all I can say. I was intrigued, fascinated and awed. Astrid Amara paints a very imaginative and vivid picture of a futuristic world that can be as beautiful as horrifying. The idea how navigating works is unique and rather ingenious.

b. the two MCs:

I adored Tover. I understood him and sympathized fully with his fears, his anger and his conflicted emotions. Despite everything that happens to him he is good man, through and through.
I loved how his views about his own situation and the world he lives in change gradually. How he starts seeing the truth. And how he becomes an even better man for it.

As for Cruz– he’s definitely the tall, strong and brooding type. However, the author makes very clear (even though we get Tover’s POV only) there is more to him than he shows. It’s almost inevitable that you’ll hate him to start with just as much as Tover does. But then … you can’t help loving him and the tender way he treats Tover.

c. the plot:
Being sold into slavery by your lover is quite the storyline, and there’s no doubt, it’s done really well here.
Tover is torn between hate and love, while Cruz seems unapproachable and cold before we find out what he truly feels - just crushed and sad. Watching how Tover slowly finds his way to forgiveness and back to Cruz is one of the best aspects of the book.
And the whole world-saving plot line works beautifully, too!

A word of warning though: The torture Torven is put through is quite horrific and a tough read, and we are right there with him and his pain.

If you are even vaguely interested in sci-fi, you can’t miss this one!
And if you’re not, read it for the fabulous love story!
Profile Image for Leanne.
358 reviews35 followers
June 16, 2015
Oh, it's so good to have Astrid Amara back again. I read this in one sitting, on a typically wet and cold Cape winter's day (perfect for reading) only stopping briefly to brew another cuppa and hug my Kindle. Yes, this one of those rare gems....a book I couldn't stop reading but didn't want to end.
A wonderfully real,totally immersive and gripping read. I loved the world building and strong characterisation of all the characters (loved Cruz's mother and sister),but Tover was something special. Seeing him start to rebuild himself after his charmed life was so brutally stripped away, realising what he'd been missing...the sense of home and family he'd never experienced before- had me tearing up and then cheering him on until the very last page.
Apparently, this was meant to have been part of an anthology with Ginn Hale and Nicole Kimberling. I for one am thrilled it went on to star on its own in a full length novel but if either one of those two awesome authors want to continue the project at some stage.... *bats eyelashes* :)
Profile Image for Elena.
767 reviews58 followers
February 27, 2017
5 otherworldly, exotic stars!!! Loved it!
¡¡Que libro tan increible!! Me encanto...

That book is truly amazing. It's so NOT simply sci-fi. Categorising Song of the Navigator like that wouldn't do it any justice...

First of all, it took me by surprise from the very beginning. Let's face it, Star-Trek-style teleportation or even moving things/people through space by the power of one's mind is nothing new! I've seen it on screen, I've read about it... that's standard. But using one's special vocal cords amplified by some special equipment? And actually "singing" the cargos to some distant places? "Jumping" them by sensing the universe's vibrations and answering to them? Well, that's not standard at all!! Let me just tell you - the "song of the navigator" is really what it sounds it is!

And Tover is one of only 42 people across the universe who can bear the title of the "Improvisational Navigator" - and he wears it proudly! So much so that he is considered by everybody (even his own selfish self) a demigod - rich, handsome, powerful, untouchable (and spoilt!)

Tover lives in his "tower palace" - the penthouse in the most prestigious, luxurious hotel on the whole state-of-the-art DK Station.

Unfortunately, Tover doesn't even realise that outside his warm and cosy station and the best job for the Harmony Corporation, there is a totally different world - a whole universe of crime and poverty, of exotic worlds on the verge of extinction and of people fighting to keep their planets and families safe and free.

Cruz is Tover's once-in-a-couple-of-months' tryst, his hidden, guilty pleasure - you see, you CAN'T be gay on the perfect DK Station and in the perfect Harmony Corp. Cruz is handsome, muscled and intelligent. He's funny and quick-witted and, what's more important, dominating - exactly what Tover needs and craves. But Cruz is also... dangerous - a trait of which Tover learns rather painfully...

The world-building in the book is excellent! The different places/worlds described beautifully and detailed. Astrid Amara did a wonderful job here. The MCs are vivid and you can easily love/hate them and feel for them all the way through their adventures... And the plot got me hooked from the first page.

¿Y los fragmentitos en español? Pues, ¡fueron una sorpresa deliciosa para mi! Ingles + español es mi combinacion favorita ya que me pasa intercambiar las dos lenguas tambien. Debo decir que continuamente... ;) Entonces, ¡GRACIAS, Astrid Amara!

For me Song of the Navigator is a book of wonderful contrasts. The contrasts between the places:

First, the cutting-edge high-tech DK Station:

Then the shabbiness and decay of Jarrow and The Baroque :

And finally, the beautiful, exotic planet of Carida! With it's green sky, lush, overwhelming jungle of flowers and wildlife:

But it is also a story of contrasts between totally different people: artificial and phoney corpexecs, violent and brutal smugglers, dedicated and dangerous guerillas and finally the ones who care and who help and who become your family...

Be aware: the first part of the book contains...
Song of the Navigator touches a lot of difficult and painful issues (i.e. ecological problems, soullessness of corporational environment) etc. But, all in all, it's a wonderful, wonderful story, full of action and adventures, natural beauty and hope...

Highly recommended for nature lovers!!! Cause wouldn't you fight for something so beautiful??? ;)

I must tell you - the book had me thinking of all those gorgeous images all the time!!! :)
Profile Image for Lila.
843 reviews9 followers
September 16, 2015

2,5 stars

I love when authors take their main characters and strip them of everything first-not just their freedom, but ruin every important thing they believe in before they finish their journey.
It's kind of an ultimate character development story- one that leads to transformation.
So, that's, essentially, what Song of the Navigator is about. Sure, there are scifi elements and there are elements of romance, but, imho,they are more in service of story of Tover Duke.

So, Tover Duke we meet at the beginning is a man with unique talent: he is improvisational navigator. That means that his voice creates "controlled vibrations to recalibrate sub-atomic strings to make enclosed orbitfolds, which traveled through subdimensions of space and appeared somewhere else." <---this means he can teleport himself/people and objects, even big ones like ships, to any place in space as long as he has coordinates and he does it using only his voice.
This is very rare ability (there is only 42 people who can do what Tover does in human population of 36 billion). That makes him practically treasured on his space station. He has adoring fans, he is worshiped as deity; everything he wishes for, he gets. As a consequence of such life, Tover thinks very highly of himself. He is vain, he values his good looks and he doesn't want to give speeches because his navigator skill makes his voice rough, growly and hoarse (apparently, this is considered unattractive, so roll with it). He has a lot of men available for sex, but he grew attached to one particular engineer who is smoking hot and fun in bed.
On his birthday, at parade held in his honor, he is abducted by the very man who's dear to his heart and who turns out to be terrorist and who sells him to pirates.
So, this is where I get back to total deconstruction of Tover- he is betrayed by one man who means something to him, treated as slave, beaten into obedience and abused both physically and psychologically*; he lost his good looks and even his ability suffered. But this is not where it stops, because Amara takes it even further- Tover ends up on Carida, green planet planned to be terraformed by Harmony- company he works for and people he meets and new experiences makes him question his life, his beliefs and if his coveted status isn't actually just a golden cage.
Total deconstruction of Tover's character and building him from pieces into someone new is the one aspect of this novel that made the strongest impression on me.
But here is a downer:
Other elements of this story are really weak:
- I ended up being disappointed by plot because the more I read the more rushed it felt and I find the culmination to be particularly unconvincing. To be blunt, if you are in it for the romance then you will be happy with our charters ending up together at the end. But if you are following backstory like I did, you will probably come to conclusion nothing is really resolved... I don't know if this is building for a sequel, but this ending doesn't work the more I think about it
-romance is ok, but it's a bit generic and predictable. Unlike Tover, other mc is not developed beyond dark, beautiful and "fights for his people."
- Book opens with scene where Tover uses his navigator skills. It is the most scifi thing about the story. Whole idea about "singing" and vibrations as means of space travel is cool, especially because it touches good old question of sound wave travel in space and especially because in 2003. NASA discovered that black holes do "sing". How cool is that? I find it to be really interesting concept. But beside this part, we get some vague view and vibe of setting with rather generic visuals of soulless and fake Company and green planet. In fact, Carida felt particularly unfinished
I had this feeling that author had this bigger vision and that there is a bigger story she imagined set in this world, but we don't get to see it here. I am actually leaning toward this explanation because at the end, there is note that this was supposed to be joint project by Nicole Kimberling, Ginn Hale and her (and now I need this in my life really bad.) so maybe there is more to it.

I went looking for more Astrid Amara books after reading fantastic The Devil Lancer, but this book is not even close to the same level of complexity and quality. It's a fast read that will certainly not bore you. So, if you are in for something less challenging than The Devil Lancer and The Archer's Heart and you crave for mm romance set in space, this is a good choice.

*Book contains scene of physical violence toward main character. It's not vague or toned down, but it's not overly graphic either. Still, warning stands.
Profile Image for Em.
648 reviews132 followers
June 27, 2015
I'm always on the hunt for a good sci-fi and pounced on this one when I came across it. A really different concept and a very engaging story. Well done.
Profile Image for Tess.
1,871 reviews26 followers
May 19, 2021
4.75 stars “Without family, Tover had spent many birthdays in lonely places, but being sold by his lover to a bunch of unscrupulous pirates definitely won the prize as being the worst birthday present ever received.”

This was one INTENSE ride! I think I'm either a sci-fi convert or an Astrid Amara convert because I so want more like this.

The first half of this is violent, it's intense and it's gripping. Tover is a "rock star" of a navigator of extreme importance to Harmony Corporation. He lives a somewhat shallow and oblivious life until he's kidnapped and then sold into slavery by his occasional lover. What Tover must endure is extremely brutal, especially knowing he was betrayed by the man he was falling in love with.

I won't go into any more details other than to say that I loved watching Tover grow during the course of the story and I LOVED the dynamic between Tover and Cruz and how it changes throughout.

Overall, a gripping story with a lovely romance!
Profile Image for Tina.
1,658 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2015

4,5 stars

The blurb intrigued me... but in all honesty, I didn't expect a story like that. I'm still flabbergasted! Astrid Amara's writing style is gripping and powerful, and Tover and Cruz's story sucked me in from the start.

Song of the Navigator was a thrilling, entertaining, emotional firework, and I read it in nearly one sitting.

Need to check out Mrs Amara's earlier books now...
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,578 reviews103 followers
June 26, 2020
4.5 stars

My first full-length Astrid Amara novel and my first audiobook by Nick J. Russo was a success. I was very pleasantly surprised by this book.

I took this more as fantasy than sci-fi. This is very much a Star Trek/Star Wars approach to sci-fi, but everything made sense according to the in-universe rules.

Tover is a pampered, spoiled navigator who can use his voice and devices embedded in him to transport things and people across the galaxy by creating folds in space. Kind of like A Wrinkle in Times meets Star Trek. He's the darling of Harmony's eye, Harmony being the corporation he works for. Cruz is his occasional lover who ends up being much more than Tover originally thought, and after Cruz betrays him, he has to try to figure out how to get back home and seek his revenge.

Tover has a lot of growing up to do in this book, and that may make some readers impatient with him. But he's all too human, and his pampered status means he never had to think about anyone or anything else outside of his own interests before this. Watching him grow, well, it wasn't a treat. It was often painful and there were a couple of occasions I wanted to smack him on the head, but I was also rooting for him the whole way. Cruz makes a terrible mistake, but once we find out why he did what he did, well, it didn't make it better but certainly more understandable.

I was loving this book and this world and these characters, and Russo's narration really helped draw me in. My mind rarely wandered while listening to this, which is rare in itself. I just wanted it to keep going, which is why the somewhat abrupt ending was so jarring. It felt too easy. I was expecting more and it was just over. Not that the ending provided didn't make sense, and the epilogue was a nice touch to help soothe that, but I guess I just expected more to happen than ended up happening.
Profile Image for Gabi.
673 reviews115 followers
September 23, 2021
Hi, it's me again with the expectations. *waves*
I can't say anything bad about this book, only that I was expecting more action.
I loved the worldbuilding, it is very science-y, but I think it was okay that I couldn't quite grasp the technical stuff in order to envision it.
But it was just all so-so to me. :/
Profile Image for Danny Tyran.
Author 21 books184 followers
May 11, 2020
What a complete idiot! I'm talking about Tover here. I'm perfectly disgusted with him. A grown man who is made to understand that millions of people are going to die because of the company (Harmony) he works for and who says that he don't care, that those people are nothing to him, and who has nothing to worry about but his own self-pity, his own physical suffering and his love pain for having been left behind does not deserve the slightest interest from me. If he really existed, I would tell him what a total egoist and moron he is.

Besides, he only starts worrying about Arcadia's fate when he finds out that pretty birds are going to die if the planet is terraformed! Oh, gosh! That an author could imagine such a fool and make Cruz fall in love with him... I don't believe it! Why would an smart man like Cruz, who cares enough to save his planet and its inhabitants to risk his life many times, fall in love with an ignorant, selfish and stupid man like Tover?

I stopped in the middle of the novel, when Tover finds out that the birds can't survive. You, idiot! No, really, that was too much for me. In real life, I could try to get him out of his intellectual and moral limbo, but with a novel, all I can do is stop reading and give the novel the only point it deserves.

And don't tell me that Tover improves later in the book, that he'll discover that what Cruz told him was true, and so on. I don't care.

This MC has no redeeming qualities─nor intellectual (he knows nothing about the politics of his world) nor human (he is a navel-gazing, self-centered being)─worthy of my interest.
Profile Image for Denise (in a reading slump).
714 reviews138 followers
March 11, 2022
4 Stars

Really liked this! Interesting world and good characters.

I loved Cruz and Tover together. After what Cruz did, he has to plead, beg, and grovel his heart out to make it up to Tover. These two go through a lot and have to fight to be together, despite all the obstacles keeping them apart.

I do think the ending was way too abrupt without enough closure. I understand why the author summarized the conflict as it occurs over a long time and it was still , but there was not NEARLY enough closure for Cruz and Tover's relationship and their future. It almost felt like this was the beginning of a series - that's how unfinished it felt to me.

Overall, a great read that balanced sci-fi and romance very well with plenty of emotion and angst.
Profile Image for Erica.
1,503 reviews29 followers
December 4, 2022
2019 Re-Read:

An audiobook by Nick J. Russo? Yes, please!

I like this story anyway (as evidenced by the fact that this is my third read through) and this audio performance brings great life to an already great book.

I thought it was hard to read about Tover's trials, but hearing them out loud makes it even better. Or worse, I guess. He really goes through the wringer before finally getting some control over his own life. Cruz is nice enough, and all, but this story is really about Tover's journey.

Good world-building and great characterization, with a nice romance "sauce" drizzled on top. I would love to see what kinds of adventures these guys have in the future.

2017 Re-Read:

How did I not remember how brutal this book is? It was hard to read everything Tover went through, but it just makes the redemption better, in the end. That's probably why all the hard stuff in the beginning slipped my mind in the past couple years since my first read-through. Great premise, great writing, great story.

Original 2015 Review:

Sci-fi and M/M romance are my two favorite genres, so when they merge successfully I get double the fun. This had an interesting premise and was, all in all, a fun read.
Profile Image for Lilia Ford.
Author 15 books186 followers
June 27, 2015

I love M/M sci-fi, and read this through in one sitting. Amara is a terrific writer, I loved the hero, Tover, and the entire concept of the navigator was fascinating and original. I also found the scenes of Tover's ordeal to be harrowing without crossing the line into gratuitous. My main problems were with the second half, which fell into some of my least favorite tropes. It is very possible that these criticisms should be written off as pet peeves, things that bug me unduly but that others probably wouldn't be bothered by to nearly the same degree. Moreover, as I indicated above, I couldn't put the book down, so my peeves were minor irritants in an overall enjoyable read.

Bottom line: I think most fans of M/M sci-fi will enjoy this.
Profile Image for Theresa.
3,029 reviews
July 12, 2015
The romance was really on the back burner. It wasn't minimal enough to just be one of many plot lines, but it was too much to not be developed properly. This was a very weak love story. There was actually not much page time between the love interests and most of it was during passive memory flash backs by the one and only MC. And not any sexual chemistry either. The relationship was more Stockholm Syndrome than anything.

Neat sci-fi and world building though.
Profile Image for Jax.
845 reviews33 followers
May 31, 2015
I was totally swept up by the storytelling, but do heed the violence warnings. Tover undergoes some brutal treatment in the first part of the book.
Profile Image for Aimora.
278 reviews37 followers
April 6, 2023
I'm changing this from 3 to 4 stars. In reality probably 3.5. The sci fi part of this book was a lot of fun. Had some depth to it. I could have used more of the book, but that is likely just my preference for more = better. The first bit of the book after the party was surprisingly brutal (yes that is a good thing).
Profile Image for Teresa.
3,276 reviews35 followers
August 3, 2018
My rating stands on second read. Sometimes they change when I see characters again, but they still loved this.

****Reviewed for Prism Book Alliance®****

4.75 Stars -

I was expecting something a little different based on the blurb. The warning at the end scared me a little, to be honest. However, I was not disappointed with what I did get. Son of the Navigator had unique technology and worthy causes. Though parts of the story are a little familiar, big bad corporations threatening a planet and its population, others are different. And it is presented in an interesting and engaging way.

I felt so bad for Tover’s betrayal by someone he cared about and the resulting pain he is put through. It was brutal but I didn’t find the descriptions traumatizing. The truths that he faces later are even worse. I liked the conflict with Cruz and the position Cruz is put in, the decisions he is forced to make. It made the story real. I liked Cruz’s family and all the people that seemed to genuinely care for Tover.

The book flowed well and I found myself not wanting to put it down. Definite recommend!

Prism Book Alliance®
Profile Image for Reggie.
172 reviews
August 15, 2015
This book was well written and the word building is EXCELLENT!

My rating reflects my personal taste in recreational reading.

This story has very well written--- torture, abuse and the PTSD that follows. It is an integral part of the story.

It was overwhelming for me. I was mildly depressed and nauseated when finished.

But....world building was truly excellent.
Profile Image for Vero.
1,420 reviews9 followers
October 11, 2015
Very good SciFi M/M story. This had creative world-building, drama, adventure and an unsual love story.
I enjoyed reading it. Tover was an interesting and engaging protagonist, he changed so much over the course of the story - he was vulnerable, and he got hurt, but he fought through. 
Cruz remained a little pale in comparison.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,385 reviews122 followers
October 4, 2015
Five glorious stars.

This was a gut-wrenching read, deeply atmospheric with beautiful prose. The characters were fully developed, the tech felt sound, and the world building was amazing for a mere 225p novel. All hail, Astrid Amara. More, please.
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