Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: The Planet Whisperer
AUTHOR: E.E. Montgomery
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 280 pages
Jonah Starovski, a Planet Whisperer, harnesses the energy surrounding dead planets and redirects it into new growth. Abandoned by the man who bought him from a brothel sixteen years ago, Jonah flounders in a world he’s ill equipped to deal with. He must accept the help of a stranger in order to rebuild his life.
First Lieutenant Marcus Davis volunteers as Jonah’s assistant without realizing the terraforming process requires Jonah’s sexual release. Balanced on the knife-edge of fear and ambition, Marcus is faced with his mother’s machinations and threats to his career. Marcus’s parents bring their illegal scientific experiments to the planets Jonah is terraforming just as Marcus learns to accept himself and his feelings for Jonah. At the same time, Jonah’s past catches up to him, putting them both in danger.
Jonah and Marcus must trust in each other to put a stop to the illegal activities, rescue an endangered animal, and create the future they both want—a future they can share.
Jonah Starovski has had a tough life; sold to a brothel when he was a child he’s since made a name for himself as The Planet Whisperer, a man who can terraform a new planet in a matter of weeks with the power he possesses. Tired of never having anything for himself, however, he makes plans to find a place he can call his own when he finds himself betrayed and left to survive by himself for the first time in over two decades. Marcus Davis just wants to do his job to the best of his abilities, even if it isn’t where his passion really lies. Ordered to assist the reclusive Jonah when Jonah’s manager runs off isn’t what he expected to be doing but he considers himself a good officer and he’s prepared to do his job. Too bad the job description didn’t mention he’d need to help with Jonah’s ‘release’ when he works, or that he would find himself in the middle of a battle to do what’s right at the cost of everything he has.
I love a good sci-fi book and based on the blurb, this one seemed right up my alley. I found the set up interesting and the abilities Jonah has were unique and added depth to his character. You could see how hard his life has been and how it affected the way he sees things but there was also the opportunity to see him grow over the course of the book. Marcus also goes through a great deal of changes as the story progresses and I loved seeing him stand up for what was right, even though he knew it would cost him his career and possibly his life. The point of view changes between Jonah, Marcus and one other character but I think that actually made the book better as there were so many things going on.
One thing I didn’t care for too much, however, was the interactions between the two main characters. There were so many instances of miscommunication and times where one would say something the other took in a completely different way than what was meant and after a while I found it frustrating. I’d get to a point where I thought their relationship was progressing nicely and then one of them would open their mouths and it was like starting at the beginning all over again. I never really felt as though they were making satisfactory progress as a couple even though you could see their feelings towards each other start to change. There was also a bit of non-con at the beginning of the book that I never feel was resolved; communication was just really needed in this book.
By the end of the story, I found I had enjoyed most of it but still felt the residual urge to punch someone in the face out of frustration. I’m not entirely sure I’d call it a HEA but definitely a HFN, since there was still work to be done and a possible threat. I might read it again in the future but I don’t think this is one that I’ll read a ton; I’d recommend this to anyone who can deal with a pair of troubled/insecure main characters and doesn’t mind a bit of sci-fi on the side.