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Today is a momentous day. It marks the first day of advanced reader copy reviews here on Words That Fly as well as the day that I start reading my books for NetGalley July. So far, I’ve tried to review books that were available to the general public because I would kind of like everyone to be able to read them. However, I love to read so much, I figured I could review ARCs as well but as a separate feature. Today also marks the first day that my new rating system comes into effect but that’s of slightly less importance. For today’s ARC review I’ll be looking at Paradise 21 by Aubrie Dionne!

Paradise 21Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where mankind can begin anew- a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe,she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries long voyage. But Aries has other plans.

When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers rumours about pirates – humans who have escaped her before its demise – are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possess the freedom Aries’ envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns freedom will come at a hefty price.
The life of the man she loves.

General Review

Wow! So this was my first ARC review and reading it alone felt like a roller coaster ride in that it was just so new, different, and enthralling. The overall story was so endearing and I got attached to the characters very quickly even though at times they didn’t do the most sensible things. When I finished this book, it was on a high note of happiness, when you read it you’ll know why. The only thing I need to say is that it’s a book that needs to be read straight through, at least for me. I was so into it for the first 130 pages but then I had to stop and I lost some of the momentum that had built up from the beginning.

Critical Review

Author’s POV/ Voice:

Usually, the books that I read are written in the first person POV. However, this book was written in the third person, multi-person POV. The author skilfully switches between Aries and Striker’s viewpoints giving us a great perspective on both of their feelings as well as giving us a look at all the different locations and characters.


Aries Ryder, our female protagonist, is portrayed as a smart, strong woman, who refuses to accept the mate that’s been chosen for her. Against all the odds and the death of her friend she runs even though she doesn’t know what she’ll find. I loved the way the author makes her extremely naive in the beginning so that she seems like a baby, who we watch grow up over the course of the novel. By the end, she is less naive and was more sure of herself and finally has a partner she’s chosen for herself.

Striker was a very interesting character. He was such a caring individual so worried about saving everyone I just couldn’t link that back to the idea of a traditional pirate. I also didn’t quite get how he was so involved with Tiff at one point. Even if at one point she had been a different person.

Barliss was my favourite character even though he was portrayed as the bad guy for the majority of the story. Ironically, he’s the most believably written characters, clearly motivated by his ambition and extremely driven towards his goal. As the story progresses and he sees his ambition pay off, we learn about his more human side, which earned him a permanent place in my heart. Ultimately, just as he was losing the hold on his humanity or the way he had been, he was becoming his most human. I loved this character inexplicably. You all need to love him too.

Drifter was easily one of my least favourite characters. As one of the lesser villains, he plays the part perfectly. At some points he seems very over done as if his hatefulness was forced.

Storyline/ Plot:

I haven’t read many sci-fi books recently but with the mix of romance, this book was an overall lovely read. I was quite enthralled by the idea of Aries and Striker together and what Barliss would do and how Striker would ever get Aries back. The story an interesting turn at the end which I had seen coming though not in that particular way. In my defence the sci-fi, adventure quality of the book even though I could predict part of what happened it would be hard to say exactly what happened. Actually I think it’s a good thing, I hate books being extremely predictable.

Cover & Blurb:

So the cover was nothing to scream about. It was actually slightly odd. I really could have done without all the red and the weird positioning of the people  on the cover. The blurb was excellent. It really grabbed my attention and completely overshadowed the book. In fact, I realised that when I first requested this book on NetGalley, I had no idea what  the cover looked like, all my attention was on the blurb. Good work blurb writer!

Rating Conclusion

With my new rating system, this book gets a 3 out of 5 stars. Really, I would have recommend this book to others. It was the sweetest story, a romance with sci-fi and I thought it was a relaxing yet lovely read. Especially for Barliss. I love Barliss. Love him too. Love him.

I hope everyone has enjoyed my first ARC review. I certainly did. I also enjoyed the book and I look forward to many more awesome books from both the publisher and the author. Have a lovely afternoon, duckies.

K, the Popinjay.

Disclaimer: This story was received from the publisher, Entangled Publishing, via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.