From USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Erin comes the second book in the Aunare Chronicles.
Broken, beaten-down, and plagued by nightmares, Amihanna di Aetes is surrounded by the Aunare race that makes up the other half of her heritage, but she feels alien amongst them. She’s not sure which is worse: SpaceTech’s overt hatred of Aunare or the Aunare’s covert hatred of halfers. She hears their whispers whenever she enters a room and sees her death reflected in their eyes. Amihanna doesn’t know who to trust anymore, but she hasn’t survived this long by ignoring the warning signs all around her, especially when her instincts are screaming that a familiar choice is coming: flee or fight.
Her parents assure her everything is okay—that there won’t be any reason for her to fight, let alone flee—but with Amihanna’s sudden return, questions arise among the Aunare: who should be blamed for the start of a full-scale war with SpaceTech, how much danger will the war bring, and is Amihanna truly fit to be the next high queen?
Honestly, Amihanna wants to forget all the politics, her betrothal to Lorne, and the possibility of being queen. Her needs are much more basic. All she wants is a solid night’s sleep where she doesn’t wake up screaming with the phantom pain of her skin burning. All she needs is to live without fear of a mob tearing her away from her family. All she hopes for is a chance to dream of a future instead of constantly fighting for her right to live.
And yet, somehow, everything she does leads her back to Lorne. He always seems to know when she’s about to break under the pressures of her new life. His quiet patience is wearing Amihanna’s protective walls down, and she’s terrified of what will happen if they fall.
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican and 100% nerd-from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband, daughter, and mischievous mini bernedoodle in Texas, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.
To pull a quote from my review of book one, Off Planet, "I NEED BOOK TWO!!! AHHH!!!" So obviously I was thrilled when I was granted an ARC of this long awaited sequel! As you can probably tell I had a lot of excitement and hype for what would happen next and I am happy to share that I was not disappointed! Sci-fi type genres really have to hit me at the right moment. I read almost every genre but as I've gotten older I've become much more of a mood reader. That being said, it didn't matter what mood I was in because the moment I opened up the book I was recalling everything that had happened in the first book and was instantly pulled back into the story!
I'll get into it more later, but for now I just want to say...
Off Balance is a sequel worthy of the title. It instantly sucks you back into the world, the characters, the story, and makes it nearly impossible to put down once begun though with each twist you'll be thrown further off balance from what you think you know. Action adventure, space drama, political schemes, and just the right hit of romance has this series turning into an absolute must-read. Whether you think you're a fan of sci-fi or not I'd urge you to give this series a try because you just might find yourself unable to part from Amihanna's side as her life gets pulled into the unthinkable with war as the looming cost.
P.S. There's romance in this one and boy is it swoon-worthy!!
Off Balance is the second installment of the Aunare Chronicles. I honestly think it's pretty funny that I never knew about this series and only dove into it because I received the novella and the 3rd book for eARC's. It's also kind of interesting that those two reasons alone brought me to this dazzling series at the same time.
I'm quite happy that this didn't get hit by the second book syndrome. I think it's mostly due to how amazing the characters actually are. I mean, Amihanna is just completely intriguing to me and I just want to know more about her. Whether it's the powers, her past, or heck - her future. I just want to know more and what her next step is.
Especially after that ending. The amount of twists and turns this book gave me has completely sucked me in. I don't think I was ever a huge fan of SpaceTech since the first book so I have no idea what the next book will bring me. I just know that everyone should watch out for my girl Ami since she is done with being constantly underestimated.
She's a bad ass and I can't wait for everyone to find out. Super excited that I have the next two books and I can't wait to dive into them. I need more space adventures. Or just adventures in general. Plus more romance please! I just need more.
Sometimes sequels don't live up to the previous book, but that wasn't the case with Off Balance. It was just as lovely as the first one. The story and plot remained interesting, the book was quite engaging. Everything about it was consistent with the first one, the characters, the pacing, the writing... It's an amazing continuation to the series. I can't wait for more.
*Copy received through NetGalley. *Rating: 5/5 stars
Amihanna is back in this GRIPPING second installment of the Aunare Chronicles.
She's made it to her "home" planet, but it doesn't feel like home. Her early memories are gone. She doesn't remember the people, the culture, or even the language. The local media hate her, but the news isn't as big a problem as the people themselves--the ones who want her dead.
And then there's Lorne, her shalshasa, the man whose talents and energies are perfectly balanced with her own. But he's a stranger--a stranger who loves her. Her destiny is closing in, and soon she'll have to make a choice. Can she protect a planet that hates her? Can a poor waitress from Earth find her true purpose among the stars?
I LOVED this book!!!
It's rare to find an author whose books ALWAYS sweep you away, and Aileen Erin is one of my personal favorites. No matter what series (or universe!) she's writing in, every one of her stories is a perfect balance between the inner emotions of the characters and the heart-pumping action that grabs you and never lets go.
I couldn't put this one down. I RACED through it, and then (I confess) I held the last 3 or 4 pages for ALMOST TWO WEEKS because I DIDN'T WANT IT TO END!!!
So, imagine my EXTREME JOY to find out there will be TWO more books in the series!!! (At least. I'm going with at least two. A woman can dream, right?)
There are so many scenes I want to gush about but I won't because NO SPOILERS, EVER! But there's this one ... no, I can't ... and then when she ... AUGH, I CAN'T TELL YOU!!!
Okay, here's what I can say.
If you LOVE scifi, if you LOVE high-stakes action, if you LOVE a smart, slow-burn romance, if you LOVE the kind of book that keeps you up all night reading because you just can't stop, READ THIS BOOK!!!
Yeah, so I try really hard not to DNF books I receive for free from NetGalley, because it doesn’t feel very fair. But it also doesn’t feel fair to force myself to finish a book, because that will almost always result in a review it doesn’t really deserve. It’s my fault for being so lukewarm about the sequel after reading Off Planet; I probably should have listened to my gut and not accepted the second book.
I don’t think Off Balance is all that bad. I think this is definitely a cause of book and reader incompatibility—exacerbated by me already being in a reading slump and really wanting comfort food, which this is not for me.
So I’m going to explain what annoys me about this book, but just know that I don’t consider any of these universal flaws for every reader.
First, the soulmate-ish destined romance thing never works for me. I understand that Erin tries her best to distance Amihanna and Lorne’s … condition … from the classic idea of soulmates. Nevertheless, you’ve got two people who don’t know each other experiencing an irresistible attraction that causes them to want to marry each other. We’re not talking chemistry or “love at first sight” or whatever (even though those are blah). The whole amnesia thing is weird, and while I think it’s great Lorne at least acknowledges that, at the end of the day, Amihanna is all glowy-glowy, and I can’t. I just can’t.
Second, more generally, just not vibing with the whole “Aunare energy frequency” stuff (yeah, I said vibing). Again, there’s no reason this shouldn’t be a thing. It’s just not working for me.
Finally, the characters are just … ugh. Is one-and-a-half dimensional a thing when it comes to characterization? Because they aren’t exactly flat, but they’re close to it. I just have a hard time getting attached to these characters. I don’t really like any of them. I’m not excited to spend time with them or play in this world.
So … where does that leave us? Off Balance is probably a good sequel to Off Planet, but I’ve decided I’m not going to stay long enough to find out. I’ve let down this book, and I’m ok with that. There are plenty more for me to read!
Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy. I voluntarily All opinions expressed are my own.
Off Balance By:Aileen Erin
*REVIEW* ☆☆☆☆ I enjoyed the first book in this series, Off Planet, and I was worried that I would hate the sequel. Thankfully, Off Balance is not a disappointing read at all. The time and place are crafted beautifully, thus providing an immersive experience for readers. The heroine suffers trials and heartache that she must overcome, but it's almost too much agony and whatnot for her. Lorne balances out with her in an ideal complimentary way. The characters are genuine and easy to root for from beginning to end. This is a great second book, and I'm looking forward to number three.
What a wild roller coaster and the perfect sequel, it was everything I wanted and more!
Like with Off Planet, I was totally hooked from the beginning until the very end! The world-building is such a complex one and I love it so much. I love how you learn more about it and the characters, have all the cuteness of the romance and funny moments whilst also having these really intense parts with some bad-ass battles and heart pounding high stakes that I won't spoil for ya.
I adore both characters so freaking much! Amihanna (aka Maité) is battling with nightmares about everything that went down in the previous book and on top of that trying to adjust to life with the Aunare and all that comes with is as she is to be the next high queen. I just love her spirit and personality with everything in me. And oh boy how do I love Lorne to pieces, he is the most precious ever! He is super sweet and I adore the way he understands Amihanna and gives her space but also is there for her. The way he cares for her is just the purest thing!
Like I predicted, the slow burn romance between Amihanna and Lorne is literally everything, they are so adorable and their chemistry is off the charts! I also absolutely loved seeing bits and pieces of their childhood and learning about their connection, it made me love both even more as individuals and together.
This has all the bad-ass vibes, cool and lovable characters, amazing writing and the romance had me smiling from ear to ear, I just adored it all. I am so in love with this series and I can't wait for the third book to come out!
"She was my other half, and I wouldn't let anyone keep us apart ever again. Not SpaceTech. Not the Aunare. Not death."
Off balance is the second book from Aunare Chronicles. Btw I didn't read the first book but I'm not so lost so I guess that is great. It was a slow start but then the plot picked up quickly. It was full of emotions, action and suspense.
I love the plot, I love the characters goshh I love everything in this book 😂 I wanted to describe all the characters that I like but I like almost everyone lol I like Amihanna, Lorne, Roan, Declan, Ahiga, Eshrin and etc. See? I told you most of the characters are lovable!
"Please try to remember that the past isn't important. You can't change it, and you're in a good spot now. You're alive, safe, and free. Focus on the present. And when you feel like this life is too much, when the ghosts of your past are breathing down your neck, that's when you need to breathe"
Thank you Netgalley and publisher for this amazing arc!
Off Balance is the sequel to Off Planet, which I read and reviewed last year, and if you really want to make sense of this review, you may want to read the synopsis of that book first. This review will have some minor spoilers for Off Planet.
I’m reverting to the old pros/cons list for the this review to help me sort out my thoughts, since there were a lot of things I really liked, and several things that annoyed me:
Cons: --Amihanna is just so, so self-absorbed for most of this story. It’s all about HER and HER feelings and how everyone is going to respond to HER if she decides to marry Lorne. She spends a lot of time avoiding doing anything remotely ruler-like, yet also complains that she isn’t treated with respect/like a ruler. I guess part of this is that I’m not someone who tends to agonize over decisions, even big ones. Assess your choices and their probable trajectories, make the best decision you can, then don’t look back. Consequently, I don’t have a great deal of patience for someone who spends a LOT of time havering. --Way too much time is spent in a gym/doing physical training of some kind. We get it. She’s incredibly physically fit. --Explicit sex scene that I was not expecting since no such thing has appeared in any of Erin’s other books that I’ve read (including the entire Alpha Girl series). Also a few scenes that were more graphically violent than really seemed necessary. Like a lot more. --Overall a bit of second-book syndrome. A lot of this book is waiting for things to happen more than it is things actually happening. It felt like we could have cut out some of the scenes of Amihanna doing the same thing over and over and OVER again in the first book, cut out some of the incessant training scenes in this book, and combined them into one book with more action. --While I’m griping about Ami in this review, I do actually like her as a person. I just feel like she spends a lot of time talking like she’s super badass, but hiding from her actual responsibilities/decisions.
Pros: --World-building is great. There is a real sense of place and other-worldliness without being too crazy. Loved the glimpses of the Aunare culture and would love to see more of it. --NO LOVE TRIANGLE! Can’t tell you how excited I was about this! The end of Off Planet seemed to feel like it was setting up for one, but that’s completely avoided in this book, and I am definitely here for that, as I think having a love triangle is the dumbest trope of all time. --Which ties into another pro – LORNE. As a character, Lorne is definitely my favorite. Why Amihanna would hesitate for even half a second is mind-boggling to me. While not perfect, Lorne is incredibly patient, kind, thoughtful, and intelligent. He is eager to help Ami learn more about the Aunare but never comes across as condescending. I’m totally in love with this guy, and only wish we had gotten way more of his perspective, which was significantly more interesting than Ami’s whining about her (actually very comfortable) life. --While I didn’t like having an explicit sex scene in the story, I did appreciate that it didn’t feel like something the characters just rushed into. It felt like a thoughtful, serious decision, and I liked that aspect. --The actual story is solid. There are a lot of great characters, several directions the plot could reasonably take, and a lot of interesting things going on.
Conclusion: 3.5*, which is where I ended up with Off Planet, too. A good sequel, a series I recommend if you like sci-fi on the lighter side of sci, and a series I definitely am interested to follow going forward.
NB: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Receiving this book didn’t impact my review at all. Special thanks to the publisher!!
TW/CW: discrimination, trauma-related nightmares, frightening situations, violence, bombing, 10+ year age gap between protagonist and love interest*
*yeah, you heard me right…see the fourth paragraph for me freaking out about that
DNF at 68%
Oh god…where do I begin with this one? It pains me to write DNF reviews these days. Really. It’s so rare for my ratings for a series to drop this much…I gave Off Planet a solid 3.5 stars, and here we have Off Balance with a measly 1…I feel pretty bad about it, but YIKES.
I really wanted to like Off Balance. I really did. But it just kept getting more and more frustrating with every page, and with around 500 pages, there came a point where I couldn’t take any more of it. It’s like everything that I didn’t care about in book 1 was emphasized, and then made 10 times worse…
First off, let me talk about the Aunare for a second. I was excited to see what their culture and physiology and such was like, but…there were hardly any differences from humans. I tried to brush off the fact that Lorne looked like an ordinary human in book 1, but, alas, here we have the “aliens that look exactly like humans but with ✨pretty eye colors✨ and they’re all ✨ridiculously attractive✨" trope. And they glow this time. Oh, joy. Furthermore, other than some of the food and the whole glowing business, all of the culture that we got was just…wild parties in ballrooms and messy stuff with the royal family? If nobody had told me that this was a space opera, I could have passed this off as a fully human cast. All those parties got mind-numbing eventually, which…maybe that was the point? I don’t even know…
And then there’s the issue of Lorne. I don’t judge love interests by whether or not I’m attracted to them, which, I’ll admit, doesn’t happen a whole lot to me in books. He already put me off a bit because of my association of his name from Lorne Malvo from Fargo (oops), but he was just all kinds of frustrating in this book. He was just such a startlingly bland character – there was nothing that distinguished him from any other YA love interest. And the whole thing with him and Amihanna…I just felt…nothing? I wasn’t invested in their relationship in any way, and all of the lines that were supposed to be tender or heartwarming just made me roll my eyes. And…IS NOBODY GONNA TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT THERE’S AN 11-YEAR AGE GAP BETWEEN HIM AND AMIHANNA?
WHY IS NOBODY ADDRESSING THIS??
ALL KINDS OF CREEPY. AND NOBODY SEEMS TO BE BATTING AN EYE. WHY?
[waves hands around] okay, okay. Lemme cool off a minute.
Okay. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…
Other than that, the plot just seemed to be completely absent. It was an endless cycle of Amihanna doing some training, drama with the royal family, drama with Dylan, drama with Lorne…just drama. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that this was a book from an entirely different series than the first book. I’m still so puzzled as to how we got from such an action-packed first book to…whatever this was.
In the end, I just couldn’t stand to read another page. The plot started to pick up a little, but by that point, I’d lost all will to read Off Balance. So it was a DNF for me.
All in all, a bitter, messy disappointment of a sequel that lacked in everything that made Off Planet a reasonably compelling read. Off Planet is still worth a read, but…maybe just stop at book 1. 1, sad little star.
This book was seriously addictive. I’d tell myself I was only going to read for another five minutes, only to realize 20 minutes later I’d just finished the chapter instead! I should’ve expected that, considering this is an Aileen Erin book. Yet, she always catches me off guard with how powerful her books end up being.
In Off Balance, Lorne’s character gets developed and the romance gets good! In other words, it’s every fangirl’s dream.
I never thought about how an experience like Amihanna’s on Abbadon could impact someone until this book. Poor Amihanna... Luckily she had her awesome shalshasa by her side!
I can’t wait for you all to read this book! If you’re looking for romance, action, and sci-fi, check out this series!
(P.S. I had assumed that this was going to be a trilogy, so to read the letter to the readers in the back and find out there will be TWO more books was very exciting!!!)
I'm going to repeat what I said about the first book: although the ideas behind this book - the outline of the plot and the structure of everything were done extremely well, the execution lacked organisation and a general direction.
And the reason why this book gets a lower rating is because honestly, this is just frustrating. I expected the writing to be better by now, I'm used to authors' quality improving with each book - but I also realised why this is not the case with Aileen Erin. She puts out a few books a year, so she doesn't really have time for the editing phase, and it shows. Or maybe that's not the case. But it seems very likely to me. Anyways, that's all. I still am continuing with the series because this is escapism in its purest form, what SJM used to be before. And I also need to review the third book in this series which I got an ARC for without checking if it was a part of the series haha.
Do I recommend this series? Yes. But don't set your bar too high in terms of quality.
Aileen Erin has a romantic tale of human and Aunare who are similar enough to interbreed. The Aunare have spotted shapes, fao’ana, on their skin that glow with emotions and for some can give super powers. Maité Martinez is half -Aunare and trying to survive and get Off Planet (paper) since Space Tech, the ruling corporation on Earth, broke treaty with the Aunare and killed all Aunare visitors. After escaping Earth and surviving the mines she was assigned to when caught she finds her soul partner and future king of the Aunare Lorne. But she is still Off Balance (paper from Ink Monster, LLC) with her early memories wiped to help her survive her run. It doesn’t help that Lorne’s father and King wants break the arranged marriage contract. Heavily romantic and lots of fun. I’m waiting eagerly for the third.
I've never been a big SciFi fan. Most books/stories lead to disappointment, but NOT Aileen Erin! There's something about her writing style that draws you in from the very beginning! It's well balanced with action, magic, drama, political BS and some romance that you can't help but be sucked into in all the best ways of reading!
Amihanna has finally made it to her home planet, but it's not all rainbows and happy endings. Her character development is really felt through the pages and as much as she wants a life of peace, there's still a war on the horizon. Lorne's character development was absolutely amazing! You can't help falling in love with his charming yet broken character.
Off Balance is truly remarkable and I look forward to reading the next book!
3.9 stars I am loving this series! Some of the things I loved about this book was the friendship and loyalty between Ami and her best friend. The action in the book is pretty damm cool! The only thing I have a problem with is how Amihanna and Lorne act towards Declan and I get he made mistakes and that he is moody as well but honestly all three of them do not have time to have this animosity between them because how are they supposed to work as a team if they can not even be in the same room with each other for a while. With how close the war is and everything I expected her to be able to actually work on her powers a lot more. I also was hoping for her to go around the city on her home planet so that she can see more of where she came from and so that she can meet the people there. I was also hoping to see Amihanna and her mom talk more so that her mom could help her transition better on the Aunare planet. The relationship between Ami and her dad was complicated for sure but I am hoping it gets better. I also have to say that I loved the first book more then this one.
3.5❤️ So, I liked the last 100 pages better than the rest of the book. I still don't connect with the protagonist, I mean, I admire some of her personality traits, like her determination. But she is very impulsive and insecure, which she already did in the first one, so I was hoping to see some progress here. But thank goodness, LORDEEEEE is here. His point of view helped me a lot and I think that along with Roan, he is my favorite character. He is so cute. The world continues to grow, and now they are looking for a way to fight the problems that come with the kingdom and the acceptance of people. Yep, im going to read the next just for curious.
Aileen Erin is one of my favorite authors and the second book in her Aunare Chronicles is awesome!!! I lost sleep finishing this book and I needed lots of caffeine the next day but I'd do it all over again. I knew things wouldn't be smooth sailing for Amihanna when she arrived on her home planet but I never imagined the kick-butt character she would become. The chemistry between her and Lorne is off the charts hot without being raunchy. This book is even better than the first in the series and that's saying a lot! I can't wait for the next one!!!
*Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Science Fiction *Rating* 3.5
Off Balance is the second installment in author Aileen Erin's Aunare Chronicles. What you should know. The beginning of this story takes place 13 years ago on Earth. Lorne knows it is time to leave Earth before Liberation Week where all Aunare will be rounded up. Earth is getting more & more violent towards the Aunare, but for some reason, 6 year old Amihanna di Aetes, daughter of Rysden and Elizabeth, is about to be left behind instead of being brought back to Aunare where she will be safe. This one mistake will cost Amihanna/Maité and her mother years of terror.
Once again it was a slow start but picked up rather quickly and didn't stop. It was a bit repetitive in spots in the beginning also. Once the action started it was non-stop. Amihanna's powers are developing again. Her relationship with Lorne is progressing and her relationship with Declan is degrading. So much going on it ended up being a page turner. Hoping to see Declan get his HEA eventually. Enjoyed Roan and Amihanna's banter and relationship in this one.
This is the sequel to Off Planet and what an excellent entry into the series! I loved the first book and was very excited to read this one and it did not disappoint.
This one switches between Amihanna and Lorne and is set after Amihanna has made it back to her home planet. She faces trying to figure out who she is while also struggling with her feelings for Lorne who is a stranger to her. She's also up against a group of people who see her as completely unfit for her intended role. Lorne is just happy to have Amihanna back. He does everything he can to get closer to her and help her settle in. Well as much as she lets him. I love everything about him!
This story has a little of everything! If you like a slow burn romance, awesome action scenes, and well developed characters, I highly recommend this series.
So with this one I was a little......Ok somewhat a lot lost. I hadn't read book one and that was a bad idea. But with saying that I totally want to read book one now. This was an out of this world story and I really need the next book now.
I e read the first two books in this series. While it is an interesting concept, I really don't care much about the characters. Ami is tough and capable of defending herself, but she has no self esteem and makes dumb decisions. When she's first on the run from SpaceTech, she gets caught easily because she involves her friend and basically stands still in one spot for like 20 minutes despite knowing her enemies have the advantage. Apparently, it's more important to rant and rave and whine than to escape. Declan is completely unlikable; all he does is manipulate and use people. Lorne is boring and is in his early 30s but reads like a teenage boy.
From a plot standpoint, it all feels contrived and unauthentic. The sexual assault by Jason wasn't needed to move the story along - it could have been any number of non sexual things. I dislike when authors use rape and unwanted sexual contact so blatantly as a plot device. I find it disrespectful to victims of those kinds of crimes.
There are several other instances where the plot feels so contrived. I don't feel like I'm reading a story, more like a list of steps to get to the end. In book 2, the whole arena thing made no sense. There is no way she'd spill her guys to thousands on live tv after refusing to talk about anything for weeks. Her PTSD was a nice touch by overdoe. I got bored with the constant repeat of her dialogue and daily patterns. Honestly, she has very little personal growth and seems shocked she's not improving when she surrounds herself with negativity and fails to eat or sleep. All of this is teed up so we feel sorry for her. Instead, she comes across as a constant victim reveling in her victim-hood. All she talks and thinks about is how hard she had it and how she's not special and unloved (but she really thinks she's super special) and it's just so fake. And then Lorne and Roan swoop in and tell her she's amazing and wonderful and would be a great queen. Ad nauseam. There's no way she's a great queen with her constant need for outside approval and her complete inability to face her demons, and also her commitment issues. Also, she's 20 years old; because yeah, a 20 year old with no self esteem would make a great queen. She clearly lacks enough of a sense of self to be a leader of any type.
The repeat of how special she is, how important to Lorne, the endless cycle of her poor decisions and inability to even try...and then the romance. She's known him for like 20 seconds and he's asking her to marry him. The insta lust isn't acted on until late in book 2, and honestly the sex scenes are lackluster, but even still she's mentally and emotionally unhealthy, and she doesn't know him. The fated/insta-love stuff always falls flat for me when the relationship actually has no meaningful time put into it, and that's what this feels like. Despite the length of the books, they are mostly strangers. And while he frequently tells her she's a super special snowflake, she puts no effort into caring for him and he somehow still thinks she's perfect. In reality, it's a codependent mess that feels like we aren't even trying with the romance.
As for Ami, she remains a mess of contradictions. She's always saying she doesn't give up but she does give up a lot. She acts like she's strong but is incapable of facing her fears and runs at any hint that things aren't going to be super easy. She whines several times each chapter about being hated but says she doesn't care about other people's opinions. She lacks any self awareness, which makes her pretty unlikable. For someone on a righteous rant, she sure needs to look at her own failings and do some self improvement before asking everyone around her to do it.
I won't be reading this series further. I would not recommend unless your ok with a slow plot and lots of repitition.
This is the second book in a continuing series. You have to read the first book to understand this one. Though the story continues after this book, there is a natural break in the narrative at the end of the novel.
Amihanna is now on Aunare, living at her father’s estate and finding it difficult to recover from 13 years away from her home. With no memories of her life on Aunare and no recollection of the language, which she struggles to relearn she is torn between two worlds. On top of questioning her identity she is suffering from constant nightmares relating to her near death experiences. Lorne seems to be the only one who sees her struggles because he wakes up every time she has a nightmare. With her excessive training with Declan taking up most of her day on top of no sleep and a lack of appetite due to nausea caused by the stress she is losing weight and has become emotionally ragged. With a people who don’t seem to want her, Amihanna is struggling to find reasons to stay and fight against the Earthers, especially when she is derided on the media at every turn, her mother is wrapped up in her return to her husband and their life together and her father only seeks to push her to be better and strive harder. She is a woman close to breaking, but she’s survived too long to quit now.
I loved this book. It’s a while since I read the first one and I can’t remember what distracted me from reading this one straight after, however I’m glad I waited until I was in the right mood to appreciate this properly. The author takes you on an emotional rollercoaster in this book, which should be no surprise after the first book in the series. Aileen Erin is truly gifted at making extraordinary events and people seem real, believable and relatable. Reading whilst Amihanna is torn in two by her alienation from her own people is painful but I couldn’t stop turning the pages as I got trapped in her torment.
As a counter-balance to Amihanna’s emotional swings we see Lorne’s steady and overwhelming love for his Soul Mirror. Despite Amihanna’s loss of memory and distrust of her own feelings, he is a constant support and provides affection without any pressure for as long as he can. At first glance Lorne could seem a little dull, but through the book we learn more about him and why he seems to accept every crumb of affection without complaint. Lorne is not a doormat, he simply knows his own heart and what it’s been like to be alone for 13 years without his best friend.
The world-building is exceptional in this series and the author manages to convey so much information about the planet and it’s people in a natural and constantly expanding manner. The Aunare people, their culture and their physical abilities are complicated and fascinating and I loved learning about them.
Much of the book is devoted to Amihanna and Lorne’s emotional landscapes and being told from both points of view is enlightening. The emotional quality of the plot does not detract from the excellent storytelling and the balance between action and emotion is very well done. There is a action, political intrigue and sociological commentary in addition to the romance of this book and I loved every aspect.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, to see what happens to these great characters, but I think I’ll just sit and digest this one book for a while first as there is so much to think about!
I’ll just say the downside of this book first before I go on and on about how much I love Off Balance. A common complaint I found about this book and Off Planet (#1) is the repetitiveness. In Off Planet, it was Amihanna going through ordeals and painful recovery time and time again. In this book, it’s the same training in the gym and pushing Lorne away over and over again. I’ll just say that I totally get the necessity of it in developing our main character and I have no problem with it. I do understand that it is a major peeve for some readers and may even be a deal-breaker.
It’s rare that the second title in a series is able to hold a tighter grip on me than the first but Off Balance did it. I couldn’t put it down and literally flew through the pages! Even when I wake up in the middle of the night to feed my 2-month old and change diapers, I’ll read this on my Kindle for a few minutes before snoozing off again. Aileen’s writing touched me because it feels so close and real. Anyone struggling with feeling like losing themselves by being with a partner, being a parent, or just doing something that demands all your energy and attention will feel this.
While in Off Planet the theme revolves around survival and perseverance, Off Balance is about the identity crisis of Amihanna who is suffering from PTSD and faced with a better life that includes love, power, and responsibilities. She doesn’t know how to reconcile her past and her future with all the weight of expectations it promises. Due to her losing her memories as a child, she still hasn’t got some essential Aunere part of herself back no matter how hard she tries. Although, people around her insist the person lost in the memories is shining through and she doesn’t have to worry so much about it. Amihanna feels differently; If she can’t figure out who she is, then how is she supposed to be the leader that everyone is expecting?