Only Bad Options by Jennifer Estep
Galactic Bonds #1
Science Fiction Romance
September 20, 2022- Self Published
Review by Angela
I’ve always enjoyed Jennifer Estep’s fantasy and urban fantasy novels, so when I heard she was writing a book set in space I was immediately all in. Gimme. Only Bad Options features fated mates, enemies to lovers, and protagonists from completely different stations in life tropes. If fated mates isn’t your thing, don’t worry there is no instalove here, just two people stuck in an impossible situation, at first wary of each other (there might even be some death threats) and then grudgingly forced to partner together to take down the bad guys.
Vesper Quill is a lowly worker in the research and development department of Kent Corp. But she’s figured out that the company she works for is hiding something about the recent crash of one of their newly designed starcruisers. They are pushing the pilot error angle, but she knows that it’s actually a pretty big design flaw. What she doesn’t realize until it’s too late is that they will do anything to keep it a secret, including shipping her off-world and right into the middle of a war.
Kyrion Coldren is the head of the Arrows, a fighting force that strikes terror across the galaxy. He’s used to being in control and in command, then he meets Vesper during a battle and realizes that they share a truebond. One he will do anything to break, even if that means killing Vesper to get rid of it.
I jumped right into this book as soon as it hit my Kindle. Vesper is an intriguing heroine, with her seer abilities and affinity with technology. She’s smart, resilient, and takes no shit. I absolutely loved that she always knew how to fix all the broken things and her magic helped her instinctively know ways to make them work better. That magic also helps her when she finds herself stuck aboard a space vessel on its way into the middle of a bloody conflict. This is where she meets the infamous Kyrion and ends up being stuck with him and an unwanted Truebond.
It took me a bit longer to appreciate Kyrion, mainly because he was so cold and aloof. It could also be that his desire to kill Vesper to get rid of their bond. He does redeem himself, but it’s only after his backstory finally comes out and he and Vesper form a partnership of sorts.
If you are looking for a straightforward science fiction romance, this isn’t it (right now). Only Bad Options reads like a space opera with a romantic element. Although, being very familiar with this author’s backlist I believe that she will absolutely be expanding on that romance in the books to come. And I LIKED that this book focused on the world-building and extensive political players. I liked that readers aren’t thrown into an insta-love situation forced by a bond, but instead get to know Vesper and Kyrion as individuals. I’m hoping that their relationship builds bit by bit in future installments until it’s a choice to be together.
The ending was well done and wrapped up the conflict nicely, while still giving just a hint of what is to come. I’m looking forward to it.