The Verindon Alliance by Lynne Stringer

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Rhiza Edge, 2020. ISBN: 9781925563993.
(Young Adult) Recommended. While The Verindon Alliance is a prequel to Australian author Lynne Stringer's Verindon trilogy, no prior knowledge of the original stories is needed to read this standalone novel. Set in the same universe as the trilogy but with a more immediate and explicit focus on the science fiction genre, The Verindon Alliance is a fast-paced and enjoyable story for young adults who enjoy their action with a dash of romance.
The novel centres on Princess Vashta of the Vendel and Brandonin, the prince of Verindal (the confusing proliferation of V-words eventually begins to make sense). The Vendel and Verindal races have been warring for centuries and this conflict influences every aspect of the royals' lives. Vashta has just graduated from combat training and is ready to actively join the fight when, unexpectedly, Brandonin approaches the Vendel monarch seeking peace. The two find themselves working together, despite the hostility of their families, to face an external danger that threatens the future of both their peoples.
Both main characters are well-developed, three-dimensional and easy-to-like, particularly Vashta, a strong-willed and determined young woman who refuses to conform to any stereotypes associated with princesses. Stringer is also adept at blending the romantic aspects of the plot with the action sequences and does not go overboard with either.
The Verindon Alliance is an easy and entertaining read from this emerging Australian author. Readers of the Verindon trilogy will especially enjoy the fleshing out of the story of Vashta and Brandonin's love and alliance. Themes: War, Love, Family, Aliens.
Rose Tabeni