REVIEW: The Knights of Huacovia – Chad Strongwood

The Knights of Huacovia Book Cover The Knights of Huacovia
Conquistadors of Málagan IV
Chad Strongwood
LGBT, Science Fiction, Romance
J.B. Kincaid
February 3, 2021

Chitto is a humble farmer living in a small island village on a distant planet, but the fruit of his trees has a terrible secret... He meets Tenoch, the man of his dreams when the circus comes to town, but his romance is cut short when the town is raided by conquistadors from another world. Chitto sets out on a rescue mission where he enlists the help of his neighbor and a secret order of knights who worship a dragon god. His lover and his friends are sold as slaves to the Earl of Málagan IV, where Tenoch finds himself caught up in a scandalous love triangle and a dangerous web of royal politics. Is he ever rescued? Does he want to be? Will Chitto's secrets catch up with him? What happens to their friends?

Available at Amazon.

Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz

Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

Here’s a case where I got very caught up in the story—a sci-fantasy with Conquistadors and Meso-American farmers…and a dragon god. There’s a lot of passion in this story-telling, which brings an interestingly contemporary corrective approach to the great traditions of the space epic.

Chitto is a farmer—a specialist in a kind of wine grown only on his planet. He meets Tenoch, the star of a trapeze act in a circus troop that sails the seas of Chitto’s home planet—which seems to be a collective avatar for our planet’s pre-contact Native people. Chitto and Tenoch’s budding romance is interrupted by a devastating attack by the predatory warships of Malagan IV, a distant planet in the control of the Latanians—who all seem to speak Spanish and have Spanish names. It’s pretty obvious what these opposing ethnic groups stand for, but I’m not sure the cultural associations have been translated smoothly into this “Star Wars” sort of genre.

Thus begins a rather rushed epic of slavery and heroism, of interplanetary racism and unexpected magic. For a good while I thought I was reading part of a series, because there are so many interesting ideas thrown about without getting fleshed out or fully resolved. The Knights of Huacovia themselves, so critical to the plot, are only sketched out in the most basic way, even though we get to spend some serious face-time with their dragon god, Huacovia. Once Malagan IV, the iron-mining planet, takes center stage, the point of view moves back and forth between Chitto and his band of heroes, to Tenoch and his band of rebellious slaves. The description of Tenoch and his crew’s becoming slaves is powerful.

There’s a lot going on throughout this book, and you can see the ideas whirling in the author’s mind. The writing is distracting, particularly in the author’s fairly consistent misuse of words, and the slightly troublesome mixing up of tenses. These flaws distract from an engaging plot that needs some honing and tinkering to make it more cohesive. I really think there was more than one book’s worth of material crammed into this.

The very ending threw me completely for a loop, as it seemed to come out of nowhere.

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