As a work of romance, this is superior--as a work of science fiction, mediocre. Which I guess says something about my taste in genres. I do love romance, but not the romance genre. I love *stories* with an element of romance--I do--it's my literary comfort food. But I love great science fiction even more--ones with great world building or ideas or characters--think Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Herbert, Card. The "turtle clutch" are interesting aliens and the Liaden an interesting culture. Or at least entertaining, but not thought-provoking. Nor is the style great--and there's lots of mind-hopping, a habit I find annoying. Nothing here is going to spark your imagination or lifts this above say Star Trek. But you know, I like Star Trek. I got this book and Fledgling, another in the series as a free download from Tor. I liked this enough I'm starting Fledgling. I don't like it enough I can see buying more in the series--despite this ending something of a cliffhanger.