Books · lgbtqia content · new adult · part of series · sci-fi / fantasy · suspense · young adult

REVIEW: Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie

The Official Description: A young pilot risks everything to save his best friend–the man he trusts most and might even love–only to learn that he’s secretly the heir to a brutal galactic empire.

Ettian Nassun’s life was shattered when the merciless Umber Empire invaded. He’s spent seven years putting himself back together under its rule, joining an Umber military academy and becoming the best pilot in his class. Even better, he’s met Gal Veres–his exasperating and infuriatingly enticing roommate who’s made the Academy feel like a new home.

But when dozens of classmates spring an assassination plot on Gal, a devastating secret comes to light: Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire. Ettian barely manages to save his best friend and flee the compromised Academy unscathed, rattled both that Gal stands to inherit the empire that broke him and that there are still people willing to fight back against Umber rule. As they piece together a way to deliver Gal safely to his throne, Ettian finds himself torn in half by an impossible choice. Does he save the man who’s won his heart and trust that Gal’s goodness could transform the empire? Or does he throw his lot in with the brewing rebellion and fight to take back what’s rightfully theirs?

Just the facts: science fiction, future, space opera, LGBTQIA content

Friendship is put to the test when Ettian finds out Gal isn’t who he thought he was. They embark on a crazy, dangerous ride to try and change the world for the better. But things … Oh!!! they’re not what they seem! Hold on… it’s a bumpy ride. – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: I’m new to Emily Skrutskie’s writing and “Bonds of Brass” was a wonderful introduction. Her writing style really works for me so I’m already anxiously awaiting the next book in the “Bloodright Trilogy”.

Ettian is a pilot and loving it when the book begins. He’s flying, he’s getting his life together after a terrible attack on his home and he is rooming with his best friend Gal at the Academy. Skrutskie skillfully presents a friendship in the early pages of this novel that is warm and loving, fun, and probably has the stirrings of bigger feelings.

In the blink of an eye, things change. Suddenly their entire squad turns on them trying to get to … Gal. At this point, the entire story changes. Gal hasn’t told Ettian everything about his life. In fact, he’s told him very little. It turns out that Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire; the exact same Empire that is responsible for the attack on Ettian’s home.

Gal means so much to Ettian that he doesn’t need to think about it. He simply slots right into his role as a best friend and takes on the weight of trying to help Gal. Gal needs to be saved so that he can claim the throne that is rightfully his.

This book comes down to Ettian having to decide how well he knows Gal. Gal claims that he wants to be a different emperor, kinder and more gentle. There are times when Ettian sees the generous spirit of his friend and can convince himself that things will be better in the future under Gal’s rule. Then there are times when he struggles to believe that things can change and worries that he may have made the wrong decision.

Gal and Ettian are both great characters. Ettian follows his heart regardless of whether it might be leading him into danger. He’s funny, quick-witted and strong. He is confident behind the controls of a ship but not so confident when it comes to everything else in his life.

Gal is a harder character to read because Skrutskie has done a great job of capturing the duality of his existence. For years, Gal has been trying to be someone he isn’t. Some of his upbringing has leaked through though. He’s a great negotiator, he has a commanding presence and he couldn’t care less about flying when it comes down to it. He can switch quickly into a commanding role… but has the most touching moments when he has to ask if Ettian will stay with him.

There’s a lovely set up in this first book of the series, and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen. I suppose it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger in terms of the friendship between Ettian and Gal. I’m not revealing much deliberately… there’s a rather intriguing twist at the end that I don’t want to ruin.

This book has all the good things! It has secrets, battles, intrigue, chases through space, epic friendships, betrayal, a love story and a remarkable girl who has come back from the edge of death.

This reads as though it’s a Young Adult book but it’s marketed as adult sci-fi. I can’t see a problem with either categorization! A good addition to anyone’s library.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) violence, deaths of minor characters, betrayal of friends, description of severe burn scars, description of assault that results in severe burns

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I borrowed Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie from my public library in exchange for an unbiased review.

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