Monday, February 12, 2024

#Review - Only Hard Problems by Jennifer Estep #SyFy #Fantasy

 Galactic Bonds # 3
Format: Kindle, 198 pages
Release Date: February 20, 2024
Publisher: Jennifer Estep
Source: Author
Genre: Science Fiction / Space Opera


My name is Zane Zimmer. To most folks, I live a seemingly charmed life as a Regal lord and the heir apparent to the powerful, wealthy House Zimmer, and the gossipcasts breathlessly follow my every swaggering move across the Archipelago Galaxy. I’m also a powerful psion capable of telekinesis, telepathy, and telempathy, and my deadly skills and prowess with my stormsword have made me the golden boy of the Arrows, the Imperium’s elite fighting force.

But even golden boys have bad days, and the truth is I have more hard problems than I can solve.

The Techwave is building weapons to use against the Arrows in hopes of toppling the Imperium and taking over the galaxy. But even more worrisome is the fact that my old rival Kyrion Caldaren has a powerful new ally in Vesper Quill. Together, the two of them just might destroy everything I’ve sworn to protect.

I’m supposed to be relaxing with the other Regals during the Summer Solstice celebration, but when an enemy threatens the festivities, I’m forced to leap into action. As an Arrow, I’ll do whatever it takes to protect my family and the other Regals, even though my actions will cause only more problems—and just might end up being the death of me . . .

Jennifer Estep's Only Hard Problems is the third installment in the author's Galactic Bonds series. This story takes place 2 weeks after the end of Only Good Enemies. Whereas the previous two installments featured Vesper Quill and Kyrion Caldaren, this book is all about Zane Zimmer. Zane is the heir apparent to the House of Zimmer, and the new leader of the Arrows now that Kyrion is on the run with Vesper. But can he instill the same fear and respect that Kyrion did or will it be his unraveling?

Zane is ordered by Lord Callus Holloway to bring the couple back by any means necessary so he can siphon their magical Truebond and keep them around as science experiments. The problem is that Zane isn't so sure how to go about doing that since 1. Kyrion told him a secret that has blown his mind and changed everything that he thought he knew 2. Vesper's Truebond with Kyrian may cause Zane's world to implode, and 3. Vesper is being hunted by Techware to force her to fix their new weapon technology. 

In the meanwhile, Zane's grandmother expects Zane to court Lady Asterin Armas to gain more power and influence. Forget the part where his grandmother lied to him for his entire life, and that lie has now put Zane in a very uncomfortable position to go after someone he should have known his entire life. The issue is that Asterin may have other ulterior motives that don't align with what Zane or his grandmother intend. Astern is also friends with two women, Tivona Winslow and Leandra Ferrum, who are close to Vesper. 

If that weren't enough for Zane, Techware pulls a surprise attack during a Summer Solstice celebration which catches everyone off guard. Techware is a terrorist group that has been brazen in its attacks to steal technology and weapons to take down the Imperium. The Imperium seems unable to stop any of their attacks. This is a book that was meant to peel back the layers on the man who always seems to be the antagonist of our heroes. Zane, who will never be like Kyrion, now has to juggle a host of hard problems. 

This book is not a standalone. The characters who appear in this book, except for minor roles for Vesper and Kyrion, like Astern, Tivona, and Leandera have appeared in the first two books of the series. Let's call this the bridge to the next book in the series. So many questions: Will Zane be able to do the job that he is being paid for? Will Vesper be able to stay away from Techware long enough to go after Holloway? Will Zane and Astern find some common ground and maybe their own Truebond? We shall see!

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