The At Boundary’s Edge team has narrowed our original allocation down from 28 books to 7 “Quarterfinalists”, all of which we are now reading in full and scoring out of 10 points. The top three books will move forward as semifinalists. As always, this is my own review and reflects only my own individual opinion and score, not that of the team
I followed the captain’s lead and read Trials on the Hard Way Home by Lilith Frost as my second quarterfinalist read through. I voted YES on this book during the slushpile because it is well edited and very readable, plus I was interested in the psychological mystery and what sci-fi may have been included going forward.
Let’s take a look at the book then I’ll share why this one ended up being a DNF for me.
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Trials on the Hard Way Home
- Series: Hard Way Home #1
- Author: Lilith Frost
- Publisher & Release: Self, 2021
- Length: 279 pages
- Rate & Recommend: DNF – for SPSFC purposes, this counts as 0/10 points but only half of a score
Here’s the synopsis via Am*zon:
Twenty-five-year-old Bryan is a student scientist living off-planet with the two men he loves. But when he senses that danger is about to befall his adopted home, Bryan wants to evacuate. Convincing one of his lovers to board a spaceship toward home, Bryan is soon confronted with the truth about his life. His journey through the void of space not only exposes his current troubled relationships but also threatens to uncover the secrets about his past. Now, Bryan must finally come to terms with who he is and how his origins might put his lovers in danger.
A story of three polyamorous lovers and one man’s secrets, Trials on the Hard Way Home is an intense and dramatic journey embracing the best in science fiction and LGBTQ+ literature.
As I said above, I voted to read this one through because there was a rather large psychological mystery presented early on, as well as a whodunnit on the ship itself. There was a lot of relationship background between the three men which had thrown me off, but generally the book was well written and coherent and I wanted to keep reading.
Unfortunately after the first 80 pages or so the book went downhill for me. The author would constantly interrupt the plot to spend pages and pages talking about the history of the men, their issues, their sex lives in detail that NO ONE EVER needs to know, and I just rapidly lost interest in the storyline.
The plot started out interestingly enough but is completely lost in all the background once they get onto the ship. Despite the sex life discourse and lost plot, I kept pushing through until a character smelled his partner’s underwear to see if he could get any clues from the penis smell .. good god just ask the guy when he wakes up, I couldn’t keep going after that.
The characters were also starting to annoy me after a few medical scenes took place, it was turning into a DNF by that point.
There were soft sci-fi elements like space travel and space stations and little robots, but it was all kept pretty soft. I don’t mind cozy sci-fi but a little hard science can go a long way for keeping my interest through these softer books.
I guess I would recommend if you like character, psychological, drama, relationship drama, and more along those lines than anything that focuses on sci-fi elements. If nothing else, the book IS very well edited and Frost is not a bad writer at all, very readable.
Looking at the next two books in the series (on a whim) I see werewolves and mysticism in the description, so take from that what you will about where the series may go and see if you’d like to check it out for yourself.
Thanks for checking out my SPSFC book review of Trials on the Hard Way Home. I found my copy on Kindle Unlimited and offering my honest review for the competition! As always, all opinions are my own ♥️