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REVIEW: The Anti-Quest – Angel Martinez

The Anti-Quest - Angel Martinez

Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance

Reviewer: Scott

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About The Book

Brave paladin. Royal princess. Fierce dragon. Simple. Being all three at once? Way too complicated.

Paladin Snillek’s mother was human and ruled a planet. That’s about the extent of her knowledge since they didn’t see each other much. When her mom dies in a freak accident, her father tells Snillek she’s inherited the title, and she has to learn how to pass as the mostly human Princess Siel for a planet she never thought about much. The dresses alone are horrifying and the courtiers aggravating.

In a moment of frustrated rage, Snillek’s princess persona slips and frightened palace staff misinterpret what they see. Now Paladin Snillek has been called upon to rescue Princess Siel…from herself.

Gruyere wants desperately to journey into the wilds of Tarribotia, but it’s too dangerous to go alone and so far, everyone’s laughed at her for suggesting it. When she spots a Dzedek paladin sulking in a tavern, she offers her services, hoping to pass herself off as a rogue guide.

Two women with secrets and possibly opposing goals head out into the hinterlands of a planet neither one of them knows well. They might both make it back by Winterfest if nothing eats them first.

This book contains one out-of-her-element paladin, the perils of academia, deadly cake, and unconventional dragons.

The Review

I Just finished Angel Martinez’s latest lesbian romance novella “The Anti Quest.” Martinez has made a habit of publishing cute lesbian sci fi tales each holiday season. We didn’t get one for 2020, but this is our reward for waiting.

It’s a gruff, adorable, sweet ff sci-fi romance that had me at the tagline:

Brave paladin. Royal princess. Fierce dragon. Simple. Being all three at once? Way too complicated.

Let me explain.

See, Snillek is a half-human, half-dzedek (think small bipedal dragon) paladin who finds herself thrust into the role of Princess for a human-inhabited planet. Hijinks ensue, and she finds herself on a quest with a shy scientist type, to save herself from herself… trust me, it all makes sense in context.

Throw in Martinez’s trademark knack for mixing all kinds of critters, and you get this fun romp to find a dragon.

About half of this not-a-quest takes place during the unquest itself, and this is where Martinez really shines. Having gotten the set-up out of the way, we get to see her worldbuilding skills at work, as little clues begin to pile up about the planet’s real dragons. Along the way, scientist and paladin form a bond, two fish out of water who end up being each other’s oxygen.

“The Anti Quest” is a low drama tale that put me in mind of Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer (and that’s high praise, coming from me). And bonus points for the Coatsworthian last names of many of the characters!

Grab a copy for a little light-hearted romance and enjoy a delightful sci-fi romp as only Martinez can provide.

The Reviewer

Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.