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Under the Rushes

Under the Rushes - Amy Lane

An enjoyable (and very creative) sci-fi/steampunk/historical adventure romance about Dorjan, who was kicked out of the military for standing up against corruption, and who continues to battle that corruption, whether through his work in the government during the day, or running the streets like a vigilante at night. While he's being noble (and lonesome) in his solo mission to save everyone else, in walks a barnacle of a prostitute who won't let go because he sees the very human, suffering man behind the stoic mask.


This is my first book by Amy Lane, and I enjoyed it. It's very fantastical which was fun, and I liked the mix of sci-fi and steampunk. (It took me awhile to realize the book is set on another planet, so that explains the connections to space and asteroids, but also their culture is a mix of historical and steampunk, with its mix of machines, trains, and cravats.)

I liked the MCs. Dorjan is very suffering-martyr, but I liked the spice that Taern added to his life, and their scenes together, especially their banter, were some of my favorites. The romance is a pretty slow burn, which made sense with Dorjan's past traumas and skittishness to get close to someone (or that he deserved to get close to someone.) Thank goodness Taern is so tenacious! That kid could wear down granite until it was smooth and shiny.

The side characters were interesting. I especially liked Taern's fellow prostitute-in-arms Krissa. I was less into the subplot of Dorjan and his childhood friend Areau, but that's just me.

It is a *long* book though--Amazon says 340 pages, but All Romance Ebooks says it's 129,000+ words, and I definitely felt that length at times. There was some exposition that I skimmed as some things were being told to me, either about history, or actions or whatnot.

I do kinda wish there was a glossary at the end. Lane makes up a lot of neat words for her world, and I wouldn't have minded a reference to check back and see what things were.

But in the end, I thought it was a good read, very imaginative and interesting, and with sympathetic characters and a nice romance. Because it is pretty sci-fi/steampunk, I recommend it especially for m/m fans who like those genres (and who don't mind the dashes of historical there too.) If you don't like fantastical/speculative stories, I don't know if this will work with you.

I was really impressed with all the ideas in the story though. I'll definitely check out more fantasy/sci-fi from Lane in the future.