Cover Image: Ansariland

Ansariland

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Member Reviews

Interesting and engaging, what makes you human? Is it form or thought? Read this book to be thrown into this conundrum!!
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Interesting, compelling, dark space opera, social commentary

This was a fun, yet dark romp in space that was a bit of a conflicted read for me. For the most part I really enjoyed the world Veerkamp wrote and loved Arad but aspects of the romance felt a bit like “furries” (which is not for me) and made me uncomfortable. 

Our hero, Arad lives on the streets in a futuristic world where corporations make all the calls, and any  kind of socialism has been stamped out leaving a deep divide within the class system. Arad does what he must to stay alive including selling his body which is how he lands on a spaceship as a cabin boy. He’s upgraded to Capitan while the illegal human trafficking crew was killed abandoning ship in the face of being arrested.  Arad manages to escape but ends up lost in space with a broken ship and sleeping human-animal blackmarket hybrids called DemiShou. 

I thought it was great how Ansard kept leaning onto his past to either help him push forward or to remind himself to not let it hinder him in moving on. We saw a him grow yet remember how he got to where he was. I loved Arad because he wasn’t jaded, he still had hope and compassion despite everything he experienced. This book has a bit of a different plot sequence than a standard Sci-Fi romance as it you meet the heartthrob about 1/3 of the way in, which I think worked perfectly fine as we were able to see the world and life Arad has beforehand.  

As much as I adored Roku, the relationship between them left me conflicted because I had a hard time with the nature of the DemiShou, or humans with animal DNA. Like I mentioned before it had a “furry” vibe to it and when you added romance and sex it made me a bit uncomfortable. I did try my best to push past this as I wanted to see how Arad’s tale unfolded. 

Special thank you to NetGalley and NineStar Press for sharing this digital copy in exchange for my honest thoughts. 

#NetGalley #Ansariland
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Ansariland is a surprisingly sweet space fairytale. That, while a little predictable and quick to shotgun unsurprising characters at you, also managed to make me laugh and give me warm fuzzies.
Never have I ever read a one shot romance where the love interest was introduced so late in the novel. Honestly, it’s approximately a quarter of the way through before Roku even shows up, and then he’s in hibernation for another few chapters. While I found it strange, the late appearance didn’t really bother me a whole lot. I think the lead up to Arad and Roku meeting worked well. However, the second half of the novel felt a little like a whirlwind of half concocted side characters and villains. Many of the characters outside of the two main protagonists didn’t really feel fully developed, and kind of came off as a stereotype. The germaphobe doctor, the weirdly young tech genius with no filter, the over imposing security officer… It was a little like every mainstream scifi show in the last 10 years, but with more dick touching. I wish that the cast had been whittled down a bit, and sort of streamlined to focus more on developing original characters instead of disposable mock-ups. Even now, I don’t remember a lot of the characters' names, and instead refer to them as “that one that was like Warf!” or “the Kaylee girl!”
Other than that the only other thing that put me off a bit was the random insertion of Arad’s backstory. It literally came out of nowhere and felt like an afterthought.
I nitpick, but I would probably still recommend this if you like queer romance or quick scifi stories. It had its issues, but it was still pretty cute… and that HEA *chefs kiss*
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Veerkamp's Ansariland was an erotic Sci-fi romp that I found immensely entertaining. The world building was fantastic, the characters were diverse (in every sense of the word), the bad guys were dastardly, the heat made me blush, but most importantly (well for me anyway), was the fact that this story unfolded in my imagination like a film/high octane graphic novel. I was able to visualize everything without grasping for sci-fi intelligence beyond my purview. Like Star Wars for beginners...read: you don't need a degree or a breakdown by some pontificating spec. fic. a-hole for you to enjoy Chewie for who he is.

Moving on.

I thought the character arcs were very well written. Relationships evolved and the reader with them. A lot of honour was displayed, as well as compassion shown in a world where, by way of survival, it was a rare trait to possess. To offset such noble expressions, the WTFs were on parade in equal measure. Because of this immersive experience, I started to look to Arad for clues as to who to trust, and I liked that a lot. I liked that I got chucked into this world of class struggle and marginalization and I was able to just relinquish my hold on controlling my reading experience to the protagonist, who was anything but a two-dimensional piece of ass; a staple in a lot of MM romances. Arad made a lot of decisions in order to survive, and his composure as a whole makes him stand out from all the other cringey romance leads I have read to date. 

As another endorsement, I did not need a full hundred pages nor 10% of this novel to ascertain that Veerkamp's quality as a storyteller is legit, and that I am now hooked for life. 

Full stars for this wild starship adventure!

On that note:

Dear J. Alan Veerkamp,

	Please make Ansariland into a series. I am eager to explore this new world you have introduced me to, and because I sorta really dig your talent, I know that I will never suffer from boredom and will have enterprising fodder for my baby sci-fi imagination, because you make me believe I can access speculative fiction instead of being intimidated by it. You make space sexy and scary, a weird dichotomy I must admit to never having experienced before, but seem to enjoy by way of your work.
	
	Much respect! Thanks for the ride! Write more space goodies!
	
	Your newest fan,
	
	I.
	
I would like to thank NineStar and NetGalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest review!
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r e v i e w  Ansariland - 4.5/5 ✩

How did I not know of this author before seeing “Ansariland” on NetGalley?! I absolutely love MM Fiction books, especially ones containing space travel and sexy genetically altered hunks *wink wink* I read a lot of shifter and alien romance books. However, books with a combination of ‘illegal experiment creates dangerous but sexy new species & erotic romance taking place in space with danger lurking around every corner” are often hard to come by! J. Alan Veerkamp definitely succeeded in writing one tho! This book and the so-called DemiShou species were like a dream come true!

The book follows Arad Ansari, a poor and desperate human struggling to survive on Earth’s Grey District A-5 colony. I was sucked into the story from page one, the world building was impressive! A new world and interesting creatures/new species are introduced giving a futuristic and apocalyptic vibe. I was afraid to be overwhelmed as you enter in a scene with a lot of new ‘words’ thrown your way but luckily this was not the case! Instead, you immediately get to know the main character Arad and become familiar with his personality through his actions and emotions. As Jobs are scarce for the undocumented like Arad, he reluctantly agrees to become Captain Torrin’s personal cabin boy. Arriving at the Midas Ascending Thorrin’s crew is all but friendly and Arad is confronted by Thorinn and the crew’s sketchy smuggling when the corporate military forces arrive to demand payment for their sins! At this point I had no clue where the story was going to go! I absolutely loved that even though the synopsis was pretty detailed, the book contained a lot of plot twists which often had me going “oh I know what he’s going to do no- WAIT WHAT?!?!”. At a certain point, I have to admit, I was so full of emotions that if this had been a physical copy it might have been thrown against the wall (I am so sorry fellow booklovers). The book had a slow build-up which allowed you to enjoy the world building and all the characters with interesting personalities, backgrounds and roles!

Talking about interesting characters! Certain incident leaves Arad captain of the highly damaged Midas Ascending and he quickly discovers what or rather, who—were originally being smuggled on board by Thorrin and his crew. Roku is a blend of both human and animal, genetically altered, highly illegal (not to mention highly attractive *wink wink*). I immediately fell in love with this Feline DemiShou – how could I not! Veerkamp must have known I have a weakness for big and strong but emotional and helpless kittens XD. I loved Roku’s personality and story so much. Feral and aggressive, yet caring and very protective, struggling to hold onto his human-side. However, it shines through that he is very much both (yesss people we get scenting and marking).

I personally prefer character driven novels over plot! However, when an author succeeds in finding that perfect balance between a well-developed and unique plot and intriguing characters which slowly win over your heart – it results in a masterpiece. I felt like Veerkamp did just that. I wasn’t bored for a single second – or well only one second but in that case I was fooled in a sense of boredom *huffs* very clever very clever I never saw that plot twist coming XD. I loved the way the characters are introduced and grow throughout the story! You get to know their personalities and fears and especially with Roku – the tortured soul – so much unknown and so unfamiliar! What in my opinion strengthened the story and plot is that this is a slow-burn, the characters grow on each other and start to interact more and connect on a deeper level and I love how much time is taken to do that! For them to build that connection but also for us readers (but do not worry there are plentyyy hot and sexy scenes hehe)! And yet it is not boring at all! There are very descriptive scenes with mysteries and lots of unanswered questions which keep you glued to the couch and reading the day away!

Love fantasy & mm paranormal romance but crave a good dose of sci-fi & space travel, hot erotic sexy time and a dash of sarcasm and humour? Ansariland is the perfect read for you! I definitely could not put it down!

Thank you so much NineStar Press, LLC for approving my NetGalley request and providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!

[ ebook
Published August 23rd 2021 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781648903694
https://ninestarpress.com/product/ansariland/ ]
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