FeaturedScience Fiction

Pledging Season


Worth reading 😎

Ya'shul only wants to be pledged to the woman he loves, and to be recognized for his achievements as a scientist. Then his love betrays him.

Pledging Season is an emotionally rich, page-turning read that flows almost like a TV show or movie than a book, in a good way.

I do want to note from the outset, as it was not clear in the book's 'synopsis'/description, that this is a heavy LGBTQA+ book with A LOT of potential triggers (scroll to the end for my list).

The synopsis sets us up for the sci-fi aspect of a scientist establishing his place in a matriarchal world and saving the world from looming solar storms. It leaves out, though, that a heavier amount of the book (over a third of the book in page count, from my calculations) is devoted solely to gender and societal structure issues head-on, alongside the 'main' story.

The plot is intriguing, unpredictable, and left me wanting to read more. One of the reasons for my rating, though, is that there is just too much left unresolved at the end of this book. Because this is a spoiler-free review, I cannot go into too many specifics here, but I will say that what we're given to follow as 'main themes' from the synopsis:

1.) Does Ya'shul ever receive recognition for his work?

2.) Do they find a working solution to save their way of life?

3.) Do they really feel it is worth the price in the end?

Is all missing from the ending of book one. While series have over-arching connected storylines that aren't all resolved in the first volume (and I love that), I walked away from this book with a blatant cliffhanger on every single theme that was started.

I was still drawn in by the world, I just wish that there had either been less time repeating gender norms so we could get into the meet of the plot quicker (there are sections where the same facts are re-stated after already being stated, as opposed to just being the accepted 'normal' way of life), or that the book had been long enough to at least show us how one of the key plot points turns out; even if that's a temporary "win".

Diversity is clearly important to this author, as is equality and the value of life in all its forms. The characters throughout the story are brilliant examples of how we as people are all mixes of good and bad traits.

Forgiveness, repentance/restitution, the importance of open, honest dialogue, and social responsibility are masterfully told in Pledging Season.

Ya'shul's injustice was like a blow to the heart. Andeshe's desire to be free from a strict culture of tradition and appeasing others for slights no longer their own is invigorating. And Nareen's heart-wrenching balance between duty and love is inspiring.

If you are looking for a book that celebrates empowering others to find (and use) their voice to enact positive change on the world around them, I definitely believe Pledging Season is a read to add to your list. Just be prepared to have to wait for volume two to see what happens to the characters we grow attached to.

**Trigger Warnings: Racism, Arranged Marriage and Sexual Acts of Minor Children Under Age 18 Mentioned But Not Shown, Prejudice Against Certain Groups of LGBTQA+ Community Mentioned (but fought against by two of the MC's), Dead-Naming, Gender Shaming, Animal Testing/Death Mentioned**

Reviewed by

I am a USA Today Bestselling author and developmental editor with 10+ years of experience. I am a huge fan of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, J.R.R. Tolkien, Clare B. Dunkle, and Timothy Zahn. I also enjoy indie works by Nicole Wells, Andrei Saygo, and Luke Courtney.


About the author

Erika Malinoski grew up in Michigan and now lives in New Jersey with her family. In between, she earned a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan, taught secondary math and sex ed in California, and realized that the universe is very strange. She is a devout Unitarian Universalist. view profile

Published on April 26, 2022

100000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

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Genre: Science Fiction

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