Now that that is out of the way, let me say that I loved this novel! And I can't wait for the next in this series. I'm a big fan of science fiction romance (there is never enough of this stuff to go around), and I was glad to see a new series pop out on the market. Review after book blurb.
The Old Empire has crumbled. Strong factions prey on the weak, and strongest of all are those who ally themselves with the mysterious Robotics Faction…
Cressida Sarit Antiata is twelve years old when her diplomat parents learn that her name has appeared on the Robotics Faction Kill List, a classified document of dangerous individuals marked for execution. Calling in all of their connections, her parents smuggle her to a small but wealthy ore-producing moon where she grows up in anonymous luxury, secure that her data is safe.
Xan | Arch is an x-class android with one mission: execute the target n81, also known as Cressida Sarit Antiata. Although he possesses biological skin, hair, fingernails, and eyes – and extensive conditioning to pass as a sweating, swearing, rough-and-tumble everyman – beneath the surface, he is all machine.
When he arrives at the moon, something unexpected is waiting for him. Something that circumvents his execution order and forces him to protect Cressida instead. Something that gives him the free will to question his makers, control his destiny, and awaken his heart. Together, they might escape their destinies and forge an entirely new future.
If they can survive…
This book felt like a new take on the Terminator series set in the future with more romance thrown in. Xan is a machine that's been produced to blend in with the human population and get things done by using a back log of subroutines to help him get his desired responses out of the population, while Cressida is a human who is used to following orders in order to stay alive since she found herself unlucky enough to be placed on a kill list.
This action packed book takes the reader on a wild ride of action, romance, and more action while this duo work together in order to try and keep Cressida alive.
I loved the unusual set of dichotomies and themes that ran throughout the entire book that I found really interesting and defiantly lead to a rich novel (and I'll try not to give away any spoilers).
- While death and destruction happen throughout this entire book the population as a whole seems unaffected by it. Is that because they have a chance to be reborn, if they have the backup chips, or is it a result of population having dealt with this type of destructive action before (the overseeing powers that be are known for coming in and taking over however they deem fit)?
- The machines that are released by said overseeing governing body are strong, smart, and highly adaptable, but the every day, I'll call them police units although more like peacekeepers, are dim witted and slow. Which only made me wonder what would really get the police units in an uproar, and if the place was more Utopian before the governing bodies that be took over?.
In the end this novel feels more like a science fiction plot with strong romance elements, but I really enjoyed the interactions between the characters, the fight scenes, the plot development, and the overall feel of the novel.
Character development was amazing. You really get a feel for all the characters in the novel. The author does a good job giving each person a separate and unique personality that really helps bring this story the richness it has.
Action scenes, after Xan rescues Cressida, the action gets better and better. Each interaction is not the same as the last, and just when I thought I had the next scene figured out, the story took a surprising and awesome turn ( I love that I couldn't guess where the story was going, but I also didn't feel lost in what was happening)
Environments, each new environment that the author placed her characters in were unique and had it's own flavor. They were rich and populated with traits that brought the scene clearly to the forefront of my mind without being bogged down by long drawn out descriptions.
I'll lay it out there, the really frustrating scene for me was when Xan and Cressida fully come together the first time. I had my hopes up from the prior time they interacted, but I was disappointed that I was unable to connect to any of the characters in this scene, but I loved how they interacted throughout the entire book. I can't stress that enough.
We never learned why Cressida was placed on the kill list, not even a little bit of a hint to move that subplot along (since the main was is to keep her alive while she's being searched for by some crazy robots). I hope it gets moved along in the next novel.
Spoilers over **
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction with strong romance elements. You can currently preorder this novel for $0.99 before it releases July 1st, before it returns to it's original price of $4.99.
I can't wait for the second novel in this series, Liberation's Desire
My personal rating scales for this novel are:
2 out of 5 for bedroom steaminess, 4 out of 5 for storyline/romance