Removed by SJ Pajonas flew across my kindle this week. Frankly, when I started, I had no idea what to expect. It’s scifi in the vein of Firefly. And, did I mention that it’s a first freebie?
Sanaa, the heroine, lives in a domed city on a dying Earth. By the time the end was actually nigh, Japan was the only country with the technology to build such a city to ride out the worst. There are more than just Japanese in the dome, but the culture of the story is decidedly Japanese. As Sanaa goes about her everyday life, she finds herself eventually sucked into a world of dangerous political intrigue.
The world around Sanaa is this intriguing blend of technology and old world values. The real violence in this society is done the old-fashioned way, with a sword. The society Pajonas paints has become at once progressive, in that Sanaa is raised by her married aunts, and old world, in that everyone seems to want her to get married, settle down. Relationships matter in this culture very much.
Get comfy. You may be here a while.
The true charm of Removed is the romance with a young man, a warrior, named Jiro. In this love story, everything holds a kind of magic, even simple hand holding. Tattoos take on more significance than ever before, and the very gently written sex manages to be some of the most romantic, semi-sweet love scenes I’ve read to date.
The complexity of Sanaa is confounding at times. She’s a vulnerable, ordinary girl who wants what all the other girls do; a good job, a home, a family. At the same time, she has this inherent wild nature that comes to the fore periodically, making her a true woman of mystery. This could have gone very wrong for the author, but it really didn’t.
Rather than being confusing, the heroine becomes someone we can truly relate to, someone not so different from any of us. She balances the need to respect her elders and her culture with a need to be free, and her reader can’t help but feel that struggle. Something the author does beautifully.
It is very easy to forget that you’re reading scifi in this novel because of the prominence of the Japanese elements. Removed has a very contemporary, and, at times, historical feel that seems to add to the immediacy of the plot. One becomes very present in the action. Almost as if you’re plucked out of time, and set down in this new reality built on your old one.
I can honestly say you won’t find a scifi romance like this anywhere. It’s truly unique. I’d call it a can’t miss, though. The elegance of the prose, and the richness of story and setting, not to mention the romance, were something to be experienced. Stop off at Amazon and try it out. I hear the cover is soon to be updated, so keep a lookout for that.