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Equinox - Mel Keegan

4 Solid Stars!

Before I start in on my review, let me just say that I am surprised that Mel Keegan isn’t as well known in the M/M community on GR as I thought he would be. It makes me wonder if it’s because many of his books were written over a decade ago (this is based on the fact that the more popular M/M books are more recently published/written). Any who, on with my review…

I’m assuming at this point, readers have read Death’s Head as Equinox is actually book 2 of the NARC series. I’ll be honest: I was skeptical about starting Equinox. I had a lot of niggles after finishing Death’s Head (my review can be found here). Fortunately, Mel Keegan seemed to improve upon many of the things I disliked about the first book, yet continues to retain many of the facets of good science fiction (or at least the ones I like). Basically, if you liked the first book or were on the fence about it, Equinox will not disappoint.

Unlike Death’s Head, Stoney and Kevin are actually together for almost the whole book! This made my M/M heart flutter as I absolutely LOVE this couple. “Why?” you ask. Because unlike many M/M relationships found in fiction nowadays, there is absolutely NO bullshit when it comes to Stoney x Kevin. They are absolutely, 100%, devoted to each other: both body AND mind (literally!). They are intimate with one another without it being corny. The sex between these guys is beautiful and written in enough detail to satiate my perverted mind, without feeling like pornography. They don’t have stupid communication problems that plague many M/M relationships (and cause unnecessary arguments and additional problems). That’s not to say their relationship is perfect. Far from it, because empathic partners have their own plate of problems. And in their line of work, the empathy can be just as dangerous to these guys as a civilian riot armed with military weapons!

The POV is also strictly between Stoney and Kevin, whereas in Death’s Head it was stretched over several additional side characters. This, I approve of, since to be completely honest – I don’t care about what the other characters think (okay, maybe Del, but that’s it…). I am completely devoted to my two captains. :)

The plot in Equinox is a lot more complex and enjoyable than its predecessor. The book blurb does a good job explaining, so I won’t go into the details. As usual, there’s a huge focus on the investigative role of NARC in the plot as Stone and Kevin try to find proof of an Angel connection in the Zeus system, a precarious balance between the civilian and Equinox corporation, the ethical implication of NARC involvement in a politically stressed situation, and some interesting plot twists.

The action scenes are enjoyable as usual, and the pacing of the story is a LOT better than Death’s Head, probably due to the shorter word count. Needless to say (but something I still have to mention), Mel Keegan does a good job with world building. I know this is a cliché thing to state in a review, but it really is important when dealing with science fiction. Even during the rare dull moments in the book, I could always appreciate the carefully constructed world. I could see myself in the blue/green twilight of Avalon with the hues of Zeus peeking through the evening smog of Elysium. The technology, the environment, the fictitious characters and organizations (i.e. Starfleet, NARC and Tac) all comes together to construct a universe that can only exist in the pages of a well written book.

So despite all the praise I am giving Equinox, there were still niggles or things I didn’t like. So formatting seems to still be an issue. There’s no more weird word salads like in Death’s Head. But my epub format had issues with quotation marks and paragraph spacing. This made things confusing, especially when quotation marks are missing and you realize a character has finished talking. Or when there are quotes within the dialogue. The paragraph spacing became an issue as you realize the next ordinary looking paragraph actually takes place the next day or at a different place.

Since I love me some romance and Death’s Head had some FEELS, I was hoping that Equinox would deliver in that aspect. While there were tender moments between Stoney and Kevin, and issues of emotions that were made apparent with the empathy, I felt that Equinox was less emotionally charged than Death’s Head. I am hoping the next installment will include more of the emotional issues that these guys will have to face in the future.

So wow, huge review! If you’ve read up to this point, then thanks a bunch! So overall, I really liked Equinox and will be happy to start the next book in the near future.