Without a Front The Producers Challenge by Fletcher DeLancey is the second book in her Chronicles of Alsea series. It is not a standalone novel, so first read The Caphenon, if you haven’t already, and then come back to this review. Also, be warned that this book ends on a cliffhanger and you’ll want to have Without a Front The Warrior’s Challenge ready so you can immediately jump to it.
This review contains spoilers for The Caphenon. Proceed further at your own risk.
Weeks after the end of The Caphenon, Lancer Andira Tal is nowhere close to relaxing or basking in the glory of winning the battle against the Voloth. There are questions of what to do with the Voloth prisoners of war, some are calling Tal a war criminal for allowing empathic attacks during the battle, and there’s the small matter of every caste having an opinion about what to do with the matter printer technology.
Tal has been meeting with delegates from all of the castes to allay their fears about the matter printers when the producer caste’s delegate is replaced. Raiz Salomen Opah may be beautiful, but she has a biting tongue and isn’t afraid to let anyone know how little she agrees with Tal, convinced that the matter printers will devastate the producers. One day, their barb trading leads to a challenge: Tal will work Salomen’s farm for a whole cycle, and Salomen will accompany Tal in her work for a cycle.
Andira Tal is just as wonderful as I remember her from The Caphenon. She’s strong, brilliant, and conscientious, always making decisions that are best for Alsea, even then they aren’t best for her. Her heartache for Ekatya continues, but time and a challenging woman who actually sees her are great healers.
My fellow reviewer, Brooklyn, was disappointed at the end of The Caphenon that Tal didn’t end up with Ekatya. However, I was okay with that because I knew love was coming for Andira Tal. I can safely say that Fletcher DeLancey didn’t disappoint when she created Salomen Opah. She shares all of Tal’s qualities, but instead of thinking of Alsea, Salomen is always considering her family and its farm. When she loves, she does so with all of her heart and Tal has definitely met her match in this woman.
The Writing Style
The Producer’s Challenge is beautifully written. Although it has much more romance than The Caphenon, I would still classify it as a sci-fi novel rather than a romance. The enemies-to-lovers aspect of Tal and Salomen’s relationship is a lot of fun in the early days, but is moving as they grow to understand each other and their relationship deepens.
More Andira Tal and a woman who is truly worthy of her! Micah is also back and is just as great as he was in The Caphenon. And really, just everything. I loved this book.
If you like your novels to be standalones, this is not the book for you. Like I said, it follows The Caphenon, but also, it really is the first half of the story of Without a Front. We only see Salomen’s challenge fulfilled, and Tal’s is in the next book.
Without a Front The Producers Challenge is an excellent sci-fi novel with a romance that made me do a little happy dance. I highly recommend it, but be sure to have your copy of Without a Front – The Warrior’s Challenge ready so you can dive immediately into it.
They smiled at each other and then separated, their movements awkward as they let each other go. Tal pulled on her gloves, reached down for her soilbreaker, and straightened slowly as her muscles got her attention for the first time that morning.
“Sore?” Salomen asked, making no effort to front her amusement.
“Not at all.”
“And you were upset when I lied.”
“I don’t lie. Except when it’s necessary.”
“Ah, so it’s necessary now?”
“Yes. I have no desire to spend the rest of my days hearing about how the warrior could not do a producer’s job.” Tal turned around and swung the soilbreaker up, only to have it caught and held.
“The warrior has already impressed the producer.” Salomen’s voice was low and right next to her ear. “And not by digging pipe.”
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783955334369
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
Fletcher Delancey Online
Note: I received a free review copy of this book for review. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.