Monday, 28 May 2012

Orion Rising by S. A. Meade

Michael and Paul fight to survive in a land frozen by endless winter. Will the ice between them thaw once and for all?

Michael Wright has given up thinking he’s anything more than a number-cruncher. When he’s summoned to verify the outcome of renowned meteorologist, Paul Clarkson’s latest research Michael is happy to escape the drudgery of a grey cubicle at the Met Office.

At Station 17 he finds himself working side by side with a brilliant scientist and charismatic man who stirs a lot more than respect. The attraction is mutual but, after a few snatched hours of passion, internal politics and a vengeful adversary tear them apart.

When Michael returns to Station 17 two years later he discovers that the world isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Paul is forbiddingly distant and the fire that once burned between them has turned to ice. The violence of deadly storm reignites their relationship - but will the disastrous aftermath of another destroy their love once and for all?

Orion Rising was a first for me. In two regards: My first sci-fi novel, and my first S.A. Meade experience.

I’ll be honest. I hesitated reading it, as I’d never considered myself much of a sci-fi reader. But, then aren’t surprises—those when you find you might actually like something you’d predisposed yourself not to like—lovely when they happen? Such was the delightful surprise in store when I began reading Orion Rising.

In trying to describe the mood of the book, my mind kept zeroing in on the film, The Thing. Yes, the 1950s sci-fi thriller with the monster (played by James Arness) terrorizing the inhabitants of an Arctic station.

No, no, Orion Rising contained no monsters. But what did remind me of the classic science-fiction adventure was the delicious atmosphere—that odd coziness of heroes being secluded from the rest of the world in a compound with the bitter elements of a post-apocalyptic world howling around them.

Michael and Paul are the main characters, the lovers in this tale. The blurb tells you who they are, let ME tell you what they are. Sexy, sensual, sweet, perfect for each other more so because of their differences than their similarities.

Paul. I loved, loved, loved how Meade molded him into the most charming, endearing image of a man. He’s controlling, intimidating, fearless, cool on one hand and on the other hand—when pitted with Michael who has become a wonderful addiction—he is a trembling-handed, gentle, oh-so-passionate lover who sheds his austere aura and lets his inner man loose.

The sex scenes are steamy yet tender. Emotional. The reader very much absorbs the feeling of love blooming in a cold, austere environment, providing warmth and light to a world darkened by gloom.

Misunderstandings abound, one instance in particular which creates a two-year rift between the lovers—a painful, heart-aching period for them both which only makes their reunion that much more precious.

A tense moment toward the end which I won’t reveal, and you’ll just have to read the book yourself to see how—or if?—the heroes reach their happy ending in an otherwise unhappy, unhopeful universe.

Earlier I said this was my first S. A. Meade novel. I’m correcting that as I speak, seeking out her other works. I love her style. 

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