Phase Shift by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

I’ve greatly enjoyed every book in the Chaos Station series so reading Phase Shift was bittersweet. It ends the series in a satisfying manner but of course I would have been happy to continue reading the story of Zander and Felix and their companions. But I also look forward to what Burke and Jensen will produce next.

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Story: Zed is ready to propose to Flick but fate steps in before that can happen. Someone has illegally accessed the Chaos’ memory in order to steal Project Dreamweaver secrets – and that someone appears to have the same Stin-poison enhanced skills that only Zander should be able to perform. Both Zander and Felix will journey across the galaxy to find an evil secret lurking in a remote colony planet.

At only 200 pages each, the stories always remain quite tight. Chaos Station is one of the few stories to get the ‘after’ right – what happens in a romance after the initial conflicts are resolved. The focus is always on plot, not romance, and neither character gets sappy nor soppy; they remain strong despite having a committed relationship. It means the writers have the creativity to create conflict through plot rather than relying on twisting a relationship stupidly.

What made this series so wonderful is definitely the characters. Not just our two lead protagonists but all the side characters around them. Each was clearly defined and had their own personalities. But they were also genuinely likable and people we wanted to follow. From aliens to humans, this was a surprisingly diverse cast in a small novella format.

The story of Phase Shift has all we have come to expect from the previous novels – plenty of action, sweet moments between the leads, and the careful balance of big picture story with smaller picture interpersonal relationships. The writing is tight, plot distinct, and never bogs down anywhere. Highly recommended. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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