I CAN NOT believe this won a Nebula. If you are into romance, you may like this, but if you are looking for a good sci fi, avoid. The great thing about sf is that authors can choose to give their female characters freedom that women don't have in most Earth societies. This main character did not have any agency and she is buffeted around by the romance plot in a very cliche way. I believe the Nebula should go to books that are well-written and exploratory, and this book is neither.
Author did an ok job comparing the lovers to quantum particles in resonance, she obviously has a strong physics background. The last half of the book fell short, though I hadn't read the other books in the series so that might have affected my reading. The last stand-off just plodded along and I didn't get a sense of suspense or the connection between the characters. Once the romance-related conflict was over I was confused why the story was still going on. I cannot see romance/scifi as a viable cross-over unless the romance is a very small part of the story.
Publishers Weekly Review:
The sixth volume in the Saga of the Skolian Empire (Primary Inversion; The Radiant Seas; etc.) is a freestanding page-turner as a romance, with a hard science framework. It begins in an idyllic forest bathing pool on the backwater world of Balumil. Kamoj Quanta Argali, attractive young female governor of a poor province with decaying traces of millennia-old technology, notices the mysterious off-worlder, Havyrl Lionstar, watching her dress. Retreating in consternation, she also attempts to hide fromDand thus offendsDher lifelong fianc , Jax Ironbridge, overbearing governor of a wealthier neighboring province. Soon Havyrl (brother of previous protagonists in the series) blunders into outbidding Jax for marriage with Kamoj. Jax objects violently and reclaims Kamoj by force, puzzling the off-worlder, whose presence by then is entangling the provincial governors in the imperial politics of the wider universe. The gender-role elaboration in the maneuvers that follow will seem overdetailed to some readers, but fascinating to others. To Havyrl and his staff, Balumil is a rediscovered colony; hence they spend a lot of time explaining to Kamoj the significance of the quasimagical remnants of technology in her culture. Desperate for clues to understanding the wider universe as her planet's isolation ends, Kamoj proves to be as brainy as she is beautiful.