Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read the first book in this series, this reivew might give too much away about how it ends.
Daeron was raised on a ship crewed entirely by women, with his mother as captain. Now that he’s a grown man his presence is becoming problematic, even though he prefers men. When his mother accepts an assignment that she knows will put Daeron in real danger, she decides to leave the young man with the father he has never known, who is an ambassador on the Kyleri home world, Jiwani. Prince Osvai is heir to the throne of the Kyleri empire. He knows his uncle is scheming to take the throne once his extremely old father dies, but Osvai has a hard time keeping his mind off the secret rooms of the baths where men can offer themselves up to be used by dozens of other men seeking sexual release.
This second book of the Galactic Captains series introduces a whole new set of characters. Only one player from the previous book makes a brief appearance in this story, although we get a lot of the backstory for Ales, the main character in Siege Weapons.
Both Daeron and Osvai are very interesting characters. Daeron is perhaps the most relatable. As in the previous book, there’s a somewhat depressing view of a future that isn’t that much different for gay men, as Daeron occasionally trolls for casual sex in space station toilets. In spite of his flaws, or perhaps because of them, Daeron is a rather likable rogue of a character.
Osvai comes off as a little shallow for most of the story, interested only in exploring the forbidden pursuits of sex with other men. However, there are a few signs that he may have more depth than first appears, and since this series will go on for several more volumes, perhaps he will become a more multi-faceted character.
The writing style in “Forbidden Pursuits” is consistent with the previous book, which I wasn’t crazy about. There are still a lot of flashbacks, which as before give us more information about the characters' backgrounds, and how they’re inter-related with the characters from “Siege Weapons”, but I still find they interrupt the flow of the story. The author also has a penchant for sudden and very radical plot twists, but I didn’t find them as contradictory in this book as I did in the first.
This book is definitely much more sex-driven than the first, and it’s going to be interesting to see where the relationships between characters goes in future installments. The first book ended with the two main characters in a rather strict D/s relationship, and “Forbidden Pursuits” definitely has some kinky aspects to it. Perhaps it’s just me, but while everything is consensual, there seems to something slightly unhealthy about the sexual pursuits and relationships that are formed. There’s a hint that the good guys are falling for the wrong man. We’ll just have to keep reading the next books to find out.
“Forbidden Pursuits” is available from Amazon.