Remnant – Sean Williams & Shane Dix

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Author: Sean Williams & Shane Dix
Series: Star Wars: The New Jedi Order #15 / Force Heretic #1
Pages: 413

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As the bloodied and weary galaxy faces battle once more, the Jedi take on the formidable task of bringing the last of the Empire into the light…

From the ashes of the New Republic—torn to shreds by the savage Yuuzhan Vong forces—the newly formed Galactic Alliance has risen, determined to bring peace to the entire galaxy. But first the Yuuzhan Vong must be contained once and for all. And so Luke Skywalker seeks a world long lost to legend: Zonama Sekot, a sentient planet believed to have repelled an invasion by the Yuuzhan Vong decades ago. Deciphering the enigmatic secrets of Zonama Sekot just might turn the tides of a relentless war.

Aboard the Jade Shadow, Luke, his wife Mara, Jacen Solo, and other Jedi head off into the Unknown Regions, where rumors and clues suggest Zonama Sekot might be found. Yet the mission has barely begun when the searchers stumble into a horrific battle. The Imperial Remnant, in retreat from the mighty Yuuzhan Vong, is about to be destroyed. It would seem those aboard the Jade Shadow have little choice but to leave the Empire to its fate. But these are no ordinary space travelers, they are Jedi…

Will 2019 be the year I finally end this Star Wars saga? I want to, but I think I would bet on the opposite. Too many books catch my eye everyday and my TBR is becoming a crazy monster. One I will need two or three more lives to slay!!

In this book we have two stories, following two groups of heroes. The mission to discover what is happening with the communications in Galantos with Han, Leia, Jaina, Jag and Tahiri. And the mission to find the living planet Zonama Sekot in the Unknown Regions with Luke, Mara, Jacen, Danni, Saba and Tekli. Both of them are plagued by the Yuuzhan Vong.

I have liked the book, but I have also found it pretty much unnecessary for the big schema of the figth against the Yuuzhan Vong. Or, at least, half the book feels like that. The mission to Galantos is obviously important, but it has zero appeal for the reader. It is salvagable thanks to the slow romance between Jaina and Jag and the mysteries sorrounding Tahiri. The rest is just a bunch of paragraphs to fill the book. Not boring, though. It’s just that I don’t see the point in telling us this story so far into the saga.

The other mission is way more interesting. That group has to hunt the planet Zonama Sekot through the Unknown Regions and the Remnant Empire are the ones closest to it. So is just logical to think that they must have some kind of intel. The diplomatic mission turns pretty soon into a military one, because the Impirial Capital is under attack by the Yuuzhan Vong. Here we have lots of crazy action, interesting dialogues exchange with the Empire and also a bit of romance thanks to Jacen and Danni. I’ve been shipping for those two for ages!! This mission is much more enjoyable and feels like it holds some real weight for the future. It also gifts the reader with some epic moments. You don’t read everyday a Grand Admiral defending a group of Jedis.

This trilogy inside the New Jedi Order saga looks like is going to be a journey through memory lane for Han, Leia and their group. Their first step in Galantos has served to refresh the crisis with the Yevetha and for the second book they are all headed to Bakura (home of another old glaactic crisis). At least I’m glad the Yuuzhan Vong are not making allies among the scum of that faraway Galaxy… Let’s hope the stop in Bakura is more eventful. I’m very curious about the mysterious stranger that knows too much about everything…

I don’t have anything else to say about the book. It’s correct but lacks the epicness that has been a constant for this saga. I guess the following books will be much better now that the first steps are over.

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2019 – Book Gallery

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Defective – Mel Teshco

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Author: Mel Teshco
Series: The Virgin Hunt Games #1
Release day:  March 18th 2019
Pages: 274

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Melody Simmons desperately needs to fill her bank accounts with credits that could help her family climb out of near poverty. And in the Virgin Hunt Games, that means enticing as many hunters as possible to bed her. The downside? Billions of viewers from all parts of the galaxy would be watching her fall from virtue with avid interest.

Alien Damon Banscott despises everything about the Virgin Hunt Games. Except the fact he can now legally destroy his enemy in the games. He is in this only for revenge. Then Damon sees one of the beautiful hunted and, for a moment, his heart stops beating. He’ll fight to the death before allowing another hunter to touch and deflower Melody.

But while the hunters get more credits by pleasing their captive mate sexually, the hunted women received more by finding their pleasure with any of the hunters who weren’t their assigned mate.

The hunt is on…

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

You won’t find me reading Erotica too often, but when I saw the cover of this book and read the interesting blurb; I knew I had to request an ARC in NetGalley. I was lucky enough to be chosen as a reviewer. So, first of all, thanks for the chance given.

In this book we follow Melody, a woman from Earth who needs money desperately. She has never been with a man intimately, so being picked as one of the virgins for the game wasn’t so far-fetched. Her suitor is not other than Damon, a soldier from an alien planet who is only taking part on the game to get his revenge against another of the participants. Is that particular setting the best place for starting a relationship? It seems, it could be…

It’s pretty obvious from almost the beginning that the author has translated the Hunger Games into an adult version in space where sex and violence are the main course. Which is nice if you take it as it is. Do not commit my mistake of overthinking the Game, because there are a bunch of holes that could be hard to fill. That wasn’t the best metaphor in the context of the book… What I want to say is that there are several rules or character behaviours that don’t make much sense. First of all: why virgins? It looks like a hard constraint for such little reward. Second: pretty unbalanaced for the participants. If you are male, your boost credit reward comes from catching their chosen hunted and just have their way sexually. Females must hide from their chosen hunter and seduce another one, which seems much harder (the hunters are not paper pushers…). And lastly: if most of them are taking part for the money, why don’t strategize to maximize the income through bouts of sex? Reading the book I thought most of them were a bunch of idiots who weren’t listening when the rules were stated. As I said, it’s better if you don’t think too much about the game and just read the book. That would enhance your enjoyment of the book.

When I read the blurb, my impression was that every participant was a willing one. But pretty soon the reader discovers that most of the women have been blackmailed into taking part. That adds a very uncomformatble feeling while reading. What I thought was going to be consent uninhibited sex was at risk of becoming plane and simple raping. That would have ruined the book without any hope of recovery. Thankfully, such kind of actions are not present. Sometimes they are hinted, but never narrated. And yet, the sex scenes are not enjoyable. There are several of them, but they lack spice (even though that would mean much more credits…) and I soon lost my interest in them. Luckily, there is also a heavy presence of action scenes that make up for the uneventful sexual encounters and grant the book a perfect pace.

I don’t have much to say about the characters. They fill their roles, but nothing else. I like Melody much more than Damon. He is sometimes too “macho male“. His annoying protective instincts and the way he avoids adult conversations overpowering Melody through sex don’t make him a good character on my book. It doesn’t help that we don’t get to know many of his qualities. The only one that is mentioned over and over again is the size of his manhood. Actually, that is probably the only thing that is described about the hunters. It’s not that I can’t handle the dirty talk… it’s more like, so what? They barely use it… By the way, the epilogue is pretty unbelievable (too fast!!) and make this couple much more likely to fail miserably. It’s the classic ending of a Romance book and I wasn’t expecting it in an Erotica book…

So, in few words: nice book to kill time. Fast pace and easy to read. Ideal for lazy days. If you ask more of it, you will de disappointed.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Four: A Divergent Collection – Veronica Roth

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Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #0.1-0.4

Pages: 304

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Readers first encountered Tobias Eaton as Four in Divergent. His voice is an integral part of Allegiant. Readers will find more of this charismatic character’s backstory told from his own perspective in Four: A Divergent Collection. When read together, these long narrative pieces illuminate the defining moments in Tobias Eaton’s life.

The first three pieces in this volume The Transfer, The Initiate, and The Son follow Tobias’s transfer from Abnegation to Dauntless, his Dauntless initiation, and the first clues that a foul plan is brewing in the leadership of two factions.

The fourth story, The Traitor, runs parallel with the events of Divergent, giving readers a glimpse into the decisions of loyalty and love that Tobias makes in the weeks after he meets Tris Prior.

I think I have made it pretty clear with my previous reviews of the last two books of the Divergent saga that those books are not among my favourite. Not by a really long shot. Like so long you can’t see the end of it. I bought a book box with the four books of the saga, so I kind of trapped myself there. Once bought, my obligation as a reader (and as a guy who doesn’t like to waste money) was to read them. Even the last one, which is actually a prequel from the point of view of Tobias, a.k.a Four. I’m going to keep this review short and simple, because I have little to say about the book.

This book is a collection of short stories following the character Tobias. From his final days in the Abnegation faction to a retelling of the book Divergent. Followed by some delete scenes of the first book to delight the faithful readers and to remind the ones like me why this saga is not for us.

The best part of the book is that most of it is free of that horrendous character called Tris. Yes, it’s no secret that I don’t like her at all. My dislike towards Four is not so strong (even though by the end of Allegiant I was ready to set him on fire…), so I knew I was going to be able to stomach the first short stories: The Trannsfer, The Initiate and The Son. My standars for this book were so low, that those first stories came as a surpise. I liked them. I liked to get to witness from the point of view of Tobias the action that we were merely told in previous books.

They are intesresting, fast paced, linking beautifully with the plot of the saga and with characters more enjoyable than I was expecting. Were was that Zeke or Shauna when we needed them the most? I can’t actually remember. I know they are present in the other books at some point, but I can’t remember their role in the story. Possibly, interpolating the fate of good characters in the hands of this author, their role was just to be killed leaving them totally underdeveloped. But the past is the past, I will focus on this book which is actually the past of the characters… Man, prequels… They always mess my internal timeline!

Before getting totally derailed, what I wanted to say is that the first three stories are good. Really good. No buts. But the fourth (The Traitor) and those deleted scenes… Someone wants to make an educated guess who is in those stories? Yeah, Tris. I’m not going to be too cruel with that character, because she is not the only reason why I didn’t like them. I didn’t like those stories because they were mostly a retelling of the Divergent book. I’m not fan of reading a book more than once and it would be out of the question for a book I didn’t enjoy. So, being “forced” to re-read some parts of it was hard. And I can only say that I’m glad it is over.

So, the book as a whole is just ok. Although, if I’m being honest, I think is the book of the saga I have enjoyed the most.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Eden Chip – Scott Cramer

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Author: Scott Cramer
Pages: 294

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Thanks to nanochips implanted in human brains, the world is at peace in 2055. But not everyone likes having their emotions controlled, or their religion suppressed.

Eighteen-year-old Raissa embarks upon a perilous mission to free the world, just days before the release of nanochip Version 7, which will broadcast every citizen’s thoughts to the Collective.

The countdown has started, and Raissa must make choices that jeopardize the lives of billions, including the only boy she has ever loved.

I must be running out of luck with the giveaways, bercause I haven’t won one in months. A digital copy of Eden Chip is the last one. It also came with a couple of signed bookmarks, so I must thank the author for them! Science-Fiction is a genre I enjoy, but I barely touch due to lack of time (and a crazy long TBR list!!), so I was excited to put my hands in this world controlled by chips!!

The author takes us to the near future (2055 is just around the corner). A scientist called Doctor Pretov has built a nanochip using a new programming language named M-Code, that only him and Ashminov (his rival and true inventor of the code) understand. Those chips are implanted in every single human being and it has been used to erradicate violence, intolerance and many other bad things. It has also been used to ban religious beliefs and even all kind of unproductive emotions. What it started as a way to improve humankind, it has become a control instrument for a madman. Obviously there is a resistance and they have a plan (a real one, not like the Cylon’s plan…).

The setting is pretty amazing. I love all the chip history and the details about every version. I could have taken a lot more, but the author prefers to keep a light pace in order no to bore the readers. That is possibly the main strength of the book. In every page there is something happening, no matter if it’s a revelation, a new important data about the future or a fight scene. Even though there is no time to soak in the information we are given before getting something else, it is threaded in a way that doesn’t let the reader get lost. All those words could have been summarized with: What a ride!!

Even though I congratulate on the good pace of the plot, it hits a bump in the last quarter. In my opinion, the end is stretched unnecessarily to increase the drama… but the only thing that is really increased is my boredom. During the last chapters I lost complete interest in the story and I just wanted to get over it. A condensed version of that part would have done much more credit to the rest of the book. It is not a bad ending per se… just a bit too long.

To unravel the story, we follow three characters: Raissa, Caleb and Ashminov. Raissa is the rebel who wants to get rid of Petrov and the chip. Ashminov is the developer of the chip that would liberate humankind. And poor Caleb is just a guy who loves his job and chip, but gets dragged into the plot to take it down. The characters are the perfect fit por the story, but i won’t recall any of them with any kind of special fondness. They are just pawns for the story. The most interesting part, character-wise, was the role of Caleb’s sister. I think that was the only moment in the book when I felt more engaged to the characters than to the story.

During the whole book I was wondering if I would be pro-chip or not. I obviously wouldn’t want something as drastic as the chips found in this book, but the first iterations of the hardware and software to avoid violence and crappy human behaviour in general sound pretty sweet. We seem incapable of getting there by our own means, so maybe a technological hack would do us a solid. Too bad something like that tends to be easily polluted by people with no real interest in human improvement (like our dear Doctor Petrov from the book)…

Strong story, really nice pace and good enough characters are a win combination. There are some bumps along the way, but in general is worthy of the time invested. I will have to check other books by this author to see if there is something that catches my eye!

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2019 – Book Gallery

Rebellion – Kass Morgan

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Author: Kass Morgan
Series: The 100 #4
Pages: 352

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Centuries after nuclear war destroyed our planet, humanity struggles to rebuild. It’s been a month since the dropships landed and the Colonists joined the Hundred on the ground. The teens, once branded juvenile delinquents, are now leaders among their people.

The Colonists and the Earthborns are celebrating their first holiday together when, to everyone’s horror, they’re attacked by a group of strangers whose unusual battle cries fill the air. The newcomers kill scores of people, seize prisoners, and pillage crucial supplies. When hotheaded Bellamy and his analytical girlfriend Clarke discover that Wells, Octavia and Glass have been captured, they vow to get them back at all costs. But as they go after their new enemies, Bellamy and Clarke find themselves increasingly at odds, unable to agree on a plan to save their friends.

Meanwhile, Wells, Octavia, and Glass are being slowly brainwashed by their captors, religious fanatics with one goal: to grow their ranks and “heal” the war-ravaged planet… by eliminating everyone else on it.

But centuries of radiation exposure have taken their toll, forcing the cult to take drastic steps to survive. And unless the rescue party arrives soon, the teen captives will face a fate more terrifying than anything they could imagine. In this thrilling fourth installment, the hundred fight to protect the people they love on the dangerous planet they always dreamed of calling home.

As far as I know, this fourth book is the last one of The 100 saga. If the author is going to write more books based on that universe, she hasn’t breathed a word about it. Even though I have liked the saga in general, I’m not really going to miss it. At least, this one is much better than the previous one!!

In this book, half of the main characters (Wells and Glass ) are kidnapped by a group of people that called themselves “The Protectors”. They do not protect anything. It’s just a bunch of people who are a bit crazy and they think they are doing Earth’s work by raiding other settlements. While Glass and Wells do whatever they can to survive, Clarke and Bellamy have to lead the rescue party…

After the crazy slow third book with many letters but zero content, the last book is a change of pace. In every page there is something happening. Lots of action and plotting that keep the characters on their toes the whole story. Once again, there are no more annoying flashbacks. And this time the romance is also left behind to focus on the Protectors and their craziness, which has proven the right step for the saga. I think this is the first book of The 100 where I couldn’t stop reading.

If you are a fan of the TV show, you are going to be disappointed with the role of Clarke and Bellamy. They have their moments, of course, but the plot has been stolen by Wells and Glass and their way more interesting situation. The most famous couple of the saga is just there to add some romantic tension, that is pretty well handle for a young adult novel (I’m looking at you, Divergent saga!!). Some other characters get a bigger focus, such as Octavia and the newbie Paul. That last one, although easy to hate, it’s also a nice addition to the mix. I would love to know more about him!!

As for the end itself… it doesn’t feel like the end of a saga. It was a bit… meh. Just the end of a book. Putting some honey in our lips to make the wait for the next one easier… but there is not other one!! I guess I needed more closure. There are so many questions unresolved. So many groups roaming the surface that could change the lives of our heroes forever. It would be so easy to keep going, that I wouldn’t be a bit suprised if the author announces a new book sooner or later.

There is nothing elese to say. A well paced book that redeems Kass as a storyteller after an easy to forget Homecomig. She is currently wirting another saga called Light Years. I will have to take a look at it to see if it catches my eye; so I can fill my needs for Sci-Fi Young Adult books!!

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2018 – Book Gallery

 

Allegiant – Veronica Roth

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Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #3

Pages: 544

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The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Finally!! I have finished this trilogy I started so long ago. I must be honest: it has been quite disappointing. I like reading dystopian young adult books, but there are a lot of better books than these ones in that field. A shame, because the worldbuilding is actually nice, but the author wraps it with an emotionless story and boring characters…

After the second book, the factionless people led by Tobias’ mother are in control of the city and the factions are no more. But now they know there is someone else beyond their walls and Tris’ and company decide to take their chances outside the city to discover what the hell is going on. The Allegiant is a group of rebels against the factionless that want to mantain the factions. That group helps the main characters to leave so they can purchase their new quest.

And what a quest!! The author has left for the end a lot of new and juicy data. A LOT! It seems a totally different world with new governments, new factions, new politics… new everything!! So exciting! I was like a kid with new shoes the first chapters, waiting for the new revelations to mash with the old ones and start a massive conflict that would make me forget why I didn’t like the previous books. 500 pages later I’m still waiting… Why does the author create such a massive new input if it’s barely used? And worst of all: she forgets almost completely about the original city… the place where the action took place in the other books. It feels like she is starting something new with zero interest of finishing the story that came before. The result is a book I’m eager to forget.

And the lack of good characters in the spotlight is also very present in the third book. This time the story is told from the point of view of Tris and Tobias (I think the other books were only Tris’ point of view, but I could be wrong). Those two unnerve me every single page… The most uncharamistic characters I’ve met in a very long time. Their relationship is a pain to read… Always with the trust issues and the yelling… I’m glad the end makes it pretty clear that they won’t be together, because the couple was very unhealthy. I dind’t want to tell this spoiler, but taking into account is the only thing I have liked about it I won’t resist: Tris dies!! That’s the best part of the book. We even get to enjoy a bunch of chapters without this annoying character!! That’s why the book has got a second star.

Maybe it’s cruel, but this trilogy has really pissed me off with the character treatment. The author has zero respect for most of the supporting characters of the saga who are much more interesting than the main couple. It seems everything has to be Tris and Tobias. The rest can go to Hell… So yeah, I didn’t drop a single tear when Tris died. Actually, I was even relieved. I must admit I was extra angry due to Uriah’s situation. My favourite character once again poorly used in the story. Removed from the board in such an absurd way… If I keep thinking about it I will start fuming again.

The book is too focused in Tris’ mother real past. It’s really weird that the characters from the compoung ignore Caleb so bluntly. He is also her son… But it’s Caleb, so making no sense around him is nothing new… I still don’t understand what Veronica was trying to do with him. The absurd change in the second book remains unexplained through this one. I think the goal is to make us hate him, but in my case is just the opposite. Caleb is just a victim of mediocre storytelling.

So, nothing to save here. It’s an end that doesn’t feel like an end. So much wasted potential… If the author didn’t try so hard to sell us Tris as the hero of the tale, maybe she could have spent more time building a better story and doing justice to the huge cast of characters. I have another book titled Four, but I think it is a precuel. Too bad. I would have liked to take peek to the future of these guys, because it doesn’t look very promising. I’ll read it anyway. Not anytime soon, though. I need to chill first and try to forget the parts of this book that make my blood boil.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Right Through Me – Shannon McKenna

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Author: Shannon McKenna
Series: The Obsidian Files #1
Pages: 382

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Biotech tycoon Noah Gallagher has a deadly secret: his clandestine training as a super-soldier gives him abilities that go far beyond human. Yet he’s very much a man. When Caro Bishop shows up at his Seattle headquarters with a dangerous secret agenda, his ordered life is thrown into chaos. Caro is a woman like no other—and her luminously sensual beauty cloaks a mystery he must solve.

Caro’s lying low, evading a false charge of murder. She means to clear her name, and she’ll do whatever it takes to survive—but seducing a man like Noah is more than she bargained for. His amber eyes have the strangest glow when he looks at her—she could swear he sees the secrets of her heart. The desire smoldering in Noah’s eyes awakens her own secret hunger, but Caro has to resist his magnetic pull. Anyone close to her becomes a target. The only right thing to do is run, far and fast, but Caro can’t outrun Noah’s ferocious intensity—or deny the searing passion that explodes between them.

Nothing else matters—until a vicious enemy bent on the ultimate revenge puts his murderous plan into play. Noah and Caro must battle for their lives…and their love…

Not so long ago I won an e-book copy of this book in a giveaway. I guess I would have never picked something like this otherwise. I’m not a big fan of books with cyborgs, because they tend to be a bunch of nonsense sex and little story. Luckily, this one is the exception. Due to life, it has taken me ages to finish it; but it’s a really nice book. Much better than expected.

We met Noah, an enhanced soldier that several years ago escaped from the crazy scientists that made him (and several others) a cyborg. His mods give him superior strength, stamina, greater healing factor, weird visual inputs and many other things. A killing machine. Caro is on the run from another cyborg (although she doesn’t know Marc is one), due to her knowledge of a password that would give the evil cyborg total control over other modifed soldiers. Obviously, Noah meets Caro and makes his mission to protect her.

The main story about the origin of the cyborgs is really nice, making the book a fun ride. The big baddies are not defeated in this book, so I guess we will know more about the evil scientists in future books. This one focuses more on the crazy Marc and his attempts to gather an army to proclaim himself king of the world. The few chapters where we geet to experience Marc’s part of the story are among my favourites of the book, even when the character is plain cruel (95% of the time). At first I thought the author wanted us to develop some kind of sympathy for him, but soon enough the opposite is stated. When he starts waking up sleepers, you can only hate the way Marc behaves…

The pace is fluid most of the book, but it hits a bump during the first “date” of Noah and Caro. There are several chapters in a row that eveyrthing that happens is just sex. Nice scenes, but a bit tiring after a while. The fight scenes are good, but with enhanced humans they are a bit messy, fast and the the right amount of crazy. There are some weird thing at the end of the book, when people with melted brains are able to shoot… but I will forgive those.

The romance goes downhill since the first sex encounters. Noah’s protection drive goes a bit far and tends to treat Caro as his possession. Extra points to Caro for using his hormones as weapon against Noah and stealing his car to get far from him. That was fun and it should have been humbling for the cyborg, but I guess the macho male needs much more than that. Caro loses all her points when she finally falls into his game. And the worst part is the end… After just a couple of days they get engaged. I hate that cliché. It’s TOO SOON!!! When are they going to learn that??

I will have to keep reading this saga. I need to know if Luke gets rescued or what. Besides, in this first book there are many nice characters that I bet will have their own books sooner or later. It has been a really nice first step, even though there are some parts that unnerve me.

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2018 – Book Gallery