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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
Cortiora Khyria Ilan, leader of the Wildcat Cortia of mercenaries, is sent to learn more about a medieval planet the Federated Planets Alliance wants to bring under its control in Elemental Affinity: With Survival Come Challenges by J.C. Steel. While rebellious Ilan is dealing with political issues and attempted assassinations on the planet’s surface, her crew are training aboard the Corina Base, fighting for their own lives under unpleasant and life-threatening conditions.
Ilan is the strongest Ability in the Cortii and has been sent to this seemingly undeveloped world to determine if it is safe for further study by the FPA. With little intelligence to help her, Ilan must bring all her skills to bear and break some rules to keep the planet’s head ruler, Cahan, Lord of the Golden Valleys, alive and well. By doing so, she comes to the attention of the High Priestess of the Elemental Order, the only person with Ability that Ilan finds on the planet, aside from the Lord Warleader Cahan and Lady of Crescent Lake, two of the local rulers. When Ilan finally makes contact, she is left with more questions than answers – for herself, the Cortii rebel leader and the FPA officials who are not sure they can trust her.
J.C. Steel has continued The Cortii series with Book 3, Elemental Affinity: With Survival Come Challenges. The dual story contains plenty of action on the planet and intrigue among the members of the Wildcat Cortia as Ilan, the leader, is on a solo mission while her Cantarai go through rigorous training on a base where some may not survive. The story line and action related specifically to this volume are great – interesting, exciting and full of action. Unfortunately, it is hard to follow the general story without having the background of the previous books. That certainly does not mean you should avoid this story! Quite the opposite, however, just that starting at the beginning with J.C. Steel’s Through the Hostage and then Fighting Shadows would make Elemental Affinity much more rewarding as you read with full understanding.