The Tide of War, by Lori A. Witt
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (June 22, 2015)
Page Count: 371 pages
Genre: M/M and M/F Sci-fi/Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5
Summary: Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots in a war against a vicious alien race. So far, he’s refused to join the Fleet’s Elite Squadron, stationed across the galaxy. But when his family on Earth are killed in an alien attack, Kyle feels a need for revenge that only the Elite can offer him. It’s on the Elite’s home station of Epsilon that he meets Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, and they attraction results in Kyle disobeying orders… an action that uncovers secrets the Fleet wants to keep hidden.
Warnings: suicide (highlight over to read)
My Thoughts: Geeze, Witt has some serious talent! Also, possibly a time-machine, given that she has four novels coming out this summer under various pen-names (see also: Kneel, Mr. President (Lauren Gallagher), What He Left Behind (L.A. Witt), and Lead Me Not (Ann Gallagher)!). I’m not sure how she puts out so many novels that are consistently so well-written with original plots and intriguing, well-developed characters, but I suppose you don’t ask a magician to reveal their secrets, right?
This novel was a blast! It was full of action, had a great plot and some fascinating world-building, and had some intense battle-scenes. The imagery of the alien planet was so vivid that I could picture it easily, and the danger seemed so realistic that I actually got chills when the characters found themselves in a tight spot. I will say that I guessed the plot twist pretty early on, but the writing was so good that I still felt the same emotions as the characters when it was revealed.
The main relationship in this novel is between Kyle and Andrei, but both are actually married as well (to Emily and Ogrufina, respectively). The Fleet requires its pilots and gunners to be married, so both men have always kept their attraction to other men secret. The required-to-be-married trope was admittedly hard to swallow (after all, aliens are invading and the Fleet is short on good pilots, so why require married couples only?), but I loved Emily and Ogrufina’s characters.
Without going into any spoilers, I think the women of this novel got the short end of the stick. Ogrufina and Emily were both fantastic, badass ladies, but I almost felt like Witt didn’t want them in the story because they got in the way of Andrei and Kyle having a relationship.
Overall: An immensely enjoyable read. I think a lot of people (Lori herself included) would say that this novel isn’t a romance, because it doesn’t fall under the strict definition of what defines the romance genre. But it’s definitely a science fiction novel with a romance in it, and I enjoyed reading about Andrei and Kyle and seeing them support each other as they uncovered the Fleet’s secret.