Samantha's Reviews > Bonds of Brass

Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie
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really liked it
bookshelves: arcs

I'll admit, this book was a complicated read for me in a lot of ways.
The plot was tight and well-crafted, with no extra fluff and a breakneck speed from the first chapter. In fact, I think the story would make an incredibly compelling action/sci-fi movie, if Hollywood would give us some proper (not blink-and-you-miss-it) space gays for once.
That being said, while I went in fueled by the hype about the romance plot, in the end, the romance ended up being the least interesting part of the book, and I almost wished they were either straightforward best friends or that the romance had been amped up a bit sooner. I didn't feel any of the momentum building in their relationship lended to a romantic arc. All of their difficulties and the distance building between them felt detached from their romantic feelings for each other, so I was skeptical that everything could be resolved by affirming their feelings and fixing it all with a kiss and some I love yous.
What added to my skepticism was that in the context of the rest of the story, their focus on their own relationship is *incredibly selfish*. Ettian is constantly justifying his decision to betray thousands upon thousands of his own people by saying that he can't live in a world without Gal, etc. etc. So essentially, this teenage boy is so completely out-of-his-mind in love with this boy (who, quite frankly, I didn't care for) that he is willing to basically commit genocide against his own people and side with a brutal regime that killed his own parents.
I kept waiting for the moment when Ettian would figure out what a completely batshit crazy trade-off that is, and I really thought that moment would come, because it's what the entire plot seemed to be leading up to. And when it seemed like it wasn't going to happen, I thought maybe Gal would be the one to pull the plug and realize he couldn't follow through with his plan.
Neither of those things happened, and it completely threw me, especially when the final twist came at the end and Ettian's parentage was revealed. That reveal made it even more shocking to me that he was completely ready to lead all of those people to their deaths, just so he could help his boyfriend get home. (And it wasn't even so they could be together, which would still be a ridiculous justification! He literally was taking direct responsibility for the deaths of thousands of his own people, and at the end all he was getting in return was being able to wave goodbye to Gal as he went back home and married some rich space princess and maybe sent Ettian an intergalactic postcard once a year.)
Whether or not he thought it was the lesser of two evil evils, the choice was indicative of a drastic shift in mindset, and quite honestly, I can't imagine he'll make much of a king in the sequel if he was so willing to lead his own citizens to the slaughter all to help Gal, who didn't seem to even understand the magnitude of the choice he was making.
All of that to say, I still really enjoyed the read, and while the above is a glaring eyesore for me and will definitely make me wary going into the sequel, the great pacing and the fantastic twist at the end improve significantly on what would otherwise be a 3-star read for me.

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Reading Progress

November 30, 2019 – Shelved
November 30, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
January 2, 2020 – Shelved as: arcs
April 17, 2020 – Started Reading
April 17, 2020 – Finished Reading

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