Sunday, January 18, 2015
by Nina Croft
The series is also known as the Dark Desires series.
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy / Romance / Action / Adventure
Ages: 18 and up
Note: Because this is a series review, there will be spoilers in all but the first one, since even the premises of the subsequent novels give hints to the previous ones.
I received e-copies of these books through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Break Out (Rico & Skylar)
The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.
Two-thousand-year-old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous–or so fun!
I'm always on the lookout for a fun new space opera and Break Out certainly fits the bill.The stage is a Firefly-esque spaceship full of misfits who pull dubious jobs while trying to survive a dangerous universe. When they are hired to break a prisoner out of jail, they get more trouble than they bargained for.
I love the crew of El Cazador de la Sangre. Rico, the hero, is the charming, ne'er-do-well vampire/owner/pilot. Captain Tannis is the standoffish but unfailingly loyal captain. Janey (of the dark and dubious past), Daisy (who is actually part daisy due to genetic experiments), Al (a suspicious cabin boy) and the Trog (who is mostly very quiet) fill out the rest of the crew. And then there is Skylar, who is lying to them all and yet cannot helped but start to care for them.
The pace is fast-moving, but not so fast that you miss out on the world building, which was very well done. I got a very clear view of the galaxy El Cazador travels without ever feeling like there was too much exposition. Overall, a solid, entertaining beginning to a series. I wouldn't recommend reading it as a standalone, though, because there are several things that are left unexplained.
Deadly Pursuit (Jon & Alex)
Deadly Pursuit picks up right where Break Out ends; with El Cazador and her crew in deep trouble. Jon, the newly liberated werewolf assassin, stars as the hero along with High Priestess Alexia, formerly known as Al when people thought she was a boy. The crew just keeps getting more and more diverse by the page. With a member of the Collective and the figurehead leader of the Church of the Everlasting God aboard, it is only a matter of time before they get someone from the Rebel Coalition to join in the fun, right?
Jon and Alex make a great team and Jon has possibly the best character arc in the series (at least so far). He's a loner with no interest in making friends or falling in love, especially not with a naive, fragile girl. He has lost too many people to want to care about someone who can't protect herself. Their relationship has a touch more sweetness than Rico and Skylar's tempestuous romance.
I like how this series has just the right amount of self-awareness when it comes to the improbabilities and coincidences that conspire to get the characters into trouble. It doesn't overdo it and laugh out loud at itself, but every once in a while there is a quiet chuckle. There are some serious themes that come into play, but mostly it is just good, lighthearted fun.
Death Defying (Callum & Tannis)
Callum Meridian, Leader of the Universe and discoverer of the element that makes people immortal, is a very complex hero. For one, he is not particularly heroic.He has done terrible things over the centuries, some deliberate, others through carelessness, and only now is he beginning to realize the extent of the repercussions. For some reason, this makes him one of my favorite characters in the series, which is weird, because I don't usually go for the morally ambiguous types.
Tannis, captain of El Cazador, is not a particularly heroic person either. Or, at least, she doesn't picture herself as such. Her actions say differently on more than one occasion. While Callum is strangely fascinating, Tannis is the one I wish I could have as a friend.
Death Defying is significantly darker than the previous books. There are not so many laughs, but instead there are dazzling displays of temper, lovely new characters (I knew the Rebel Coalition would show up sometime), answers to questions that I have been asking since the beginning, and a wonderful aha! moment when I realized just how much sneaky foreshadowing led up to the finale. I'm not sure whether said foreshadowing was planned ahead or not, but either way, it was very, very well done.
This book is the one that really cements all the world building of the previous novels and ups the scope of the storyline from this point on.
Temporal Shift (Devlin & Seffira)
Ah, Devlin and Seffira. Since time travel has now been introduced to the series, they have a very difficult time of it. I'm just sadistic enough to admit that I enjoyed every minute of their troubles.
We first met Devlin Starke, the handsome leader of the Rebel Coalition, in Death Defying. Grieving at the loss of his brother, he is out for revenge. This revenge gets sidetracked when he goes through a black hole and into another world. A world that has a very pretty, very young woman who sees the future and promptly informs Devlin that he is going to fall in love with her and together they will save mankind. Devlin says no way in heck and that is how the rocky romance of Devlin and Seffira begins.
I don't want to spoil too much, so I can't tell you my favorite things in this book. I will just say that it takes some very interesting twists and turns, contains several moments that made me laugh and a finale to beat all finales. Ah, the joys of time travel, alien secrets, paradoxes, d-...Nope, not allowed to mention that one. You will just have to find out for yourself when you read the book. I'm not sure exactly where the series is going, but from what has been revealed so far, I like it.
Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme). Ratings may contain spoilers.
I rate it an 8.10 for quite a bit of swearing and multiple uses of the f-word.
I give it an 8.10 for multiple scenes of varying explicitness and a great deal of innuendo.
I rate it an 8.10 for fights, torture, murder, attempted rape, kidnapping, etc.