Thrall by Catherine Miller
I was pleasantly surprised by this book and absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. The concept and story line was so unique and felt so real, I could not stop reading and had to know what happened to the main characters.
Nell is a thrall, a slave to a race (an alien race to us) that is "superior". But Nell is also a bad thrall, or so she believes as she has lived her entire life being taught a certain way of life and what her purpose is. When she cannot fulfill her purpose as set out by her masters, she is sold to a man of another race and so starts her journey of learning that she can have such a different life than what she has already lived.
I was amazed at the way the author wrote this story. Since it was a first point of view from Nell, you really feel and understand her confusion about the rules of society and the fact the rules she followed were actually immoral. I appreciated that Miller made Nell confused for most of the book, she didn't rush her acclimation and adaption to this new way of thinking and seeing herself. Nell had to keep reminding herself, and keep learning about how she could now act and who she could now be without negative repercussions.
Although it may be “just" a sci-fi romance, I felt this book really offered an intriguing and somewhat haunting concept and situation. Overall, a great and unique read I would definitely recommend to someone interested in romance with an alien race.
Ness had always tried to do as the masters told her, tried to fulfil her expected purpose within the time allowed. She was a thrall and nothing more. Every pain was a lesson, every hurt was for her betterment. And someday, perhaps, she could earn honour enough to serve the Narada in a household.
But when the masters tire of her repeated failures to produce the allotment required of her, she is chosen, not for the death she expects, but to serve as payment to a people she has never seen, whose ways are strange and utterly impossible for her to accept.