The Bureau of Alien Affairs needed a special GEP agent with empathic abilities to handle their most extraordinary assignments—and a rogue geneticist saw to it that Kiera fit their specifications. But she turned out stronger, faster, smarter, and more impervious to harm than anyone anticipated. A reluctant “superhero,” Kiera wishes she were normal, but it is not to be.
On Orpheus Two, the indigenous Buri race faces extinction, a prospect the powerful Dynatec corporation welcomes and, in fact, may be actively hastening. It is Kiera’s job to protect these beautiful, exotic aliens . . . and to discover what there is on Orpheus Two that Dynatec feels is worth killing for.
But the magnetic allure of Thor, the breathtaking Buri leader, is proving a dangerous distraction. And now, to save Thor’s people, Kiera will need a power she’s never before possessed—something hidden in the unexplored recesses of her heart.
This was a nice change of pace for me with sci-fi; so far, my reading in the genre has been mostly, if not all, space opera-esque, and while this one still has a thread of romance, it’s planet bound, so to speak. There are, in fact, still space ships – including a super intelligent one named Max – but Kiera’s purpose is to determine rights to the planet Orpheus Two, and so she spends a lot of time getting to know the natives.
Close Encounters may not be for everyone. There is a strong romantic element to it and a lot of the plot focuses on Kiera’s feelings of otherness and alienation; she repeatedly questions her place and recognizes that she is one of a kind, which forces her to examine every relationship she forms. That said, the book has its fair share of action, a duel in which the weapon of choice is alcohol, and a lethal rock cat named Crigo. I kind of liked the combination so I fully enjoyed Close Encounters.
All in all, it was a fast read, and I had no desire to put it down at any point until it was done.
According to Katherine Allred’s website, this book is the first in the Alien Affairs series, and book two, Close Contact, is set to be released next year. My only quibble with that is that the series isn’t following Kiera exclusively; I really do want to know what’s up with her and Thor, so I hope she’s mentioned in future books!