Aries has lived on the spaceship the New Dawn all of her life. Traveling towards a planet where humanity can start over, she's one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe. Even though they'll never reach the new planet in her life time, Aries duty is to marry her genetic match and pass on her genetic code to the next generation for what has been a long voyage over several centuries.
But no one ever asked Aries what she wanted and she has other plans.
When her escape plan strands her on Sahara 354, Aries is shocked at the creatures who are the planets inhabitants. She's also surprised when she meets a dreaded space pirate, one of the descendants of humans her ancestors left on Earth to die. Handsome, though genetically "imperfect", Striker has what Aries has always wanted - his freedom. Attracted to a man she never planned for, Aries finds herself pursued by her match on the New Dawn, and hunted by the planets natural inhabitants. She learns her freedom will come at a steep price. The life of the man she's grown to love.
Paradise 21 by Aubrie Dionne is a charming, and highly entertaining science fiction romance taking place centuries after the destruction of Earth. The first book in the New Dawn series, it's a great introduction to a miniature world full of people who've never experienced what it's like to choose their own spouses, choose their own professions or walk on real ground. They've lived their entire lives on a spaceship. The dialogue is sharp, the action is fairly steady and the romance is sweet without becoming overly descriptive. This book would be fine for almost any age group.
Aries is a young, beautiful and smart woman who's been living a lie. For years she's gone along with life on The New Dawn, even if she didn't always agree with having someone else make her life choices. When she's denied the profession she wants and is matched to Lieutenant Barliss, she realizes she must find a way off the New Dawn. Something which is forbidden. Her "genetic code" is highly desired for future generations which will eventually reach their new world. While Aries is successful planning her escape, it's her execution which lands her on Sahara 354, a desert like planet. She wasn't expecting to meet a pirate or to fall in love with him.
Striker is a space pirate who's been betrayed by his crew and left behind on Sahara 354 to die. Tall, muscular and handsome, he stumbled across an alien ship, which he's repairing with plans to escape. He plans to rescue orphaned children on the space station he originally came from and locate a planet he's named "Refuge". When he stumbles upon another human, he's surprised by her beauty. While he's attracted to her, he's reluctant to get involved on an emotional level, he's already been betrayed by a woman once. When he realizes he'll need her help to finish repairing the ship and succeed with his plans for life on "Refuge", he accepts her as a partner. He didn't plan on falling in love. I thought Striker's character was a cross between a young Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, he's that loveable.
The scenes between Aries and Striker are fantastic. They have great dialogue, good physical chemistry and share a desire for a better life. Ms. Dionne did a great job of building their relationship and establishing the necessary trust between them on several levels, they'll have to trust each other with their freedom, their lives and their hearts. I really enjoyed how their relationship evolved. But they do have problems, both of their pasts aren't willing to stay in the past and they will find themselves having to rely on each other in ways they've never imagined.
The secondary characters in this story are great; I really liked how Ms. Dionne developed all of them. Barliss, Aries intended spouse, is older, ambitious and easy to dislike, though he has moments where you realize he's a product of his past and conditioning. He'll go anywhere and kill anyone who gets in the way of recovering his intended bride. Tiff and Drifter were members of Striker's crew, who betrayed him and left him on Sahara 354, but even they're not completely dislikable, they had their own reasons for what they did. Reckon and Loot are strangers who become very important in Aries and Striker's freedom and plans for the future.
The end of this particular story is full of action when the New Dawn locates Aries and Striker. Aries has to choose between her freedom and Striker's life. You'll have to read Paradise 21 to find out what choice Aries makes and where both of their futures lie. I highly recommend this book and can't wait to read the next book in the series, Tundra 37.
Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage.
But Aries has other plans.
When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price.
The life of the man she loves.