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The Harvest: A Tah'Narian Christmas

by M. A. Church

Series: The Harvest (3)

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It may not be Christmas right now, as I review this story, but I think this is a short book that can be read at any time. It may start out looking like a seasonal event, but by the time Dale, his “fearsome warrior” husband Keyno, and their circle of multi-species friends get done with it, it has turned into a rather unique human-alien mix of customs. As proven here, Christmas is one of the hardest human cultural events to understand for an alien. Even the idea of someone trying made me smile, but Keyno is so adorably intent on making it happen for Dale, it was bound to be good. Considering how many other human customs Dale has already introduced to Tah’Nar, I was pretty sure this one would be a success as well. I was so glad to see that it turned out to be even better than I expected.

This story is set five years after the events of ‘Journey’s End’, and features not just former human Dale, his Tah’Narian mate Keyno, and their adorable – and usually up to no good - five-year-old twins Szin and Raiden, but all my other favorite characters from the series. It all starts when Keyno has a situation on his hands – Dale seems depressed but won’t tell Keyno what’s wrong. Dale thinks there is nothing that can be done about his hankering for Christmas, his favorite Earth holiday, but Keyno has a different opinion.

I laughed so hard when Keyno decided to ask Dale’s mother for advice, then proceeded to research Christmas with a vengeance. His way of boiling everything down to “three key points” – just like the strategist he is – was hilarious, and his comment about “some religious aspect that he better ignore” had me in stitches. As for the way he, and later the Tah’Narian children, deal with Santa Claus and the fact this “older heavy-set male” is supposed to fit through a chimney – you have got to read it to see yourself. Hilarious doesn’t even come close.

Keyno’s planning pays off in a big way. There is more than one heartwarming surprise as he and Dale go through the first Christmas ever celebrated on Tah’Nar. Watching all the kids interact was great fun, and the entire story left me feeling warm and fuzzy.

If you liked Dale and Keyno in the two previous ‘Harvest’ books and want to see more of their lives, if you enjoy unconventional ways of celebrating Christmas, and if you’re looking for a feel-good read that is full of friendship, love, and lots of humor, you will probably like this free novella as much as I did. It has certainly left me anticipating the first book about the next generation of Tah’Narians (Bound by Fate) even more!
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  SerenaYates | Oct 14, 2017 |
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So what’s an alien to do when his mate refuses to say what’s bothering him? Why, he sends a deep space message to his mate’s mother on earth, what else?

Keyno not only learns the importance of Christmas to his chosen, he’s also shocked and confused as to why Dale hasn’t shared this with him. There is no such celebration on Tah’Nar, but that doesn’t stop Keyno from trying to bring happiness to Dale. He’s not only a starship captain, he’s also an excellent strategist. He gathers his closest friends—Doc and Gibor—and researchers the holiday.

He finds three important things about Christmas: First there is an older, heavyset male called the Santa Claus. The second is the holiday usually revolves around a tree laden with shiny baubles and lights with gifts under it. And finally they learn they’re supposed to eat way too much, then lie around and moan because they ate too much.

Humans are so odd.

These mighty warriors survived the birth of their young, surely an undertaking of this magnitude is not beyond their grasp. Hopefully Dale will be pleased with all the trouble Keyno went to. But just in case, Keyno has a very special surprise in store for his chosen for his first Tah’Narian Christmas.
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