Lieutenant Commander Kyle West is one of Earth Fleet’s greatest fighter pilots. Every day, he leads his squadron into battle over Earth’s cities in a seemingly endless war against a vicious alien race, defending his home and his loved ones.
Millions of miles away, the Fleet’s Elite Squadron attacks from another angle, engaging the enemy on its home turf. Casualties are high, and the Squadron needs more of the Fleet’s very best. But joining the Elite is a death sentence—a surety Kyle isn’t willing to face. Until a devastating attack wipes out the family he refused to leave.
Commander Andrei Dezhnyov, an Elite Squadron gunner, isn’t sure what to make of the cocky new American pilot. Kyle is equally uncertain about the snarly Russian, but as they warm up to each other, their tentative alliance becomes a deep bond—one that endangers them both when a daring and disobedient rescue reveals secrets that call into question everything they’ve ever believed about their enemy. Secrets that their superiors would kill to protect.
So if you are looking for a sci-fi conspiracy theory super novel, then this is it. The best word from this novel was thrown out by a ‘raven lunatic’ on a train ride. “sheeple”. That pretty much sum’s up the whole feel of this novel. We’ve got the average citizen trying not to be killed by the aliens. Trying to understand what is really happening. Then we have the military, who believe they are fighting for the good, the right side. And systematically everyone of the charaters are being killed off before we can form any kind of attachment to them.
As we read along we know something isn’t right, that a bigger part, bigger picture is being played, The mysterious things that are happening, wires being burnt and not being caught during inspection. Missions/orders being given even though they don’t make scenes. And the author does a good job keeping us engaged and the facts just out of reach long enough to keep the guessing game going. What I did find annoying was the lack of forward thinking on the sexual front. With a novel talking about aliens why are we hiding LGBT? The fact that these charaters had to be married couples. And the wives just turned a blind eye to the husbands cheating may be a DNR/DNF to some readers.
I knew it! I freaking knew it! And I can’t even say what I knew because it’s a complete spoiler. But the best part is that it wasn’t a foregone conclusion or the obvious direction of the book. In all actuality, the main reason I figured it out was because The Tide of War is the type of sci-fi romance that brings out my un-nurtured, hiding-in-a-corner in the depths of my mind conspiracy theorist. I am not a conspiracy theorist in my day-to-day life and yet at 31% in a directive is given that made that poor little neglected niggle in the back of my brain sit up and go “Huh?” Then he (and yes my conspiracy theorist is male) remembered something from the very beginning of the book and screamed “Oh no!” By 64% in my conspiracy theorist was feeling all smug about figuring out, while at the same time horrified by what it meant. But figuring it out before the big reveal was only a small part of the reading experience of The Tide of War and it’s everything that happens before and after the discovery that really makes the book worth reading.
In my reading experience there are two types of sci-fi romances – those in which a person’s sexuality is a non-issue and those in which the Earth government has become even more outspoken against homosexuality (and in some cases outlawing it). The Tide of War falls into the latter category, or at least it does among the higher echelons of its military personnel. Kyle is one of the best of the squadron’s fighter pilots, yet he refuses to leave the Earth Fleet and join the Fleet’s Elite Squadron to fight the aliens on their home planet of Menar. Why? His husband and son are on Earth and they can’t accompany him because they’re not legally married. In fact, Kyle is actually married to his gunner Emily and she is the only one who knows about his husband and son, just as he was the only one who knew about Emily’s wife. When tragedy strikes, Kyle and Emily are left with no choice but to transfer to Epsilon and bring their fight directly to Menar.
There are certain things that play out within The Tide of War that are inevitable (note that I did not say predictable). As with any war, death is always inevitable for some of the characters and this book is no different – some of the deaths will leave you heartbroken while others will not. It was inevitable that Kyle and Emily would find themselves on Epsilon, but the precipitating event itself was not predictable. It was inevitable that Kyle and Andrei would get involved, but the acceptance and encouragement of their wives made the way in which they wind up together not predictable. While the revelation of the secret was another inevitability, some of the fallout from it was so not predictable that I found myself completely stunned more than once. I must admit that I was surprised at how few sex scenes there were considering this is listed as an M/M romance and that when they did occur they weren’t really detailed. That’s not a complaint though because as much as I enjoy M/M sex scenes, the storyline was so intense and constantly moving that I think had Ms. Witt given them more “page-time” they would have detracted from the story because they would have pulled me from the flow of the book. As it is, the author kept my attention focused on the developing relationship between Kyle and Andrei and how the ongoing war affected them and because of this I was so invested in their characters that I suffered their losses right alongside them, celebrated their victories with them, and was just as shell-shocked as they were when the secret was revealed. I really liked that although this is the first book in the Defending Epsilon series, The Tide of War ends in such a way that this chapter in Kyle and Andrei’s lives is complete. This was a truly enjoyable sci-fi romance and I look forward to reading the next book in the series to find out what’s in store for the crew of the Epsilon.