Reading is my favorite hobby, hands down. Books are love to me. I am an avid collector, and paper books will always edge out e-books with me.
This was a hard book to rate because the writing is very divergent in the first part versus the last. Very crisp and rather mechanical at the beginning and more descriptive and lush in the last half. I understand why though. Claire goes from being in a gray world in which she is a lethal asset, to living a real life. I think that this is evident in the storytelling.
I can't rave enough about this team of writers, Ilona and Gordon Andrews. Their ability to tell a story with words so well, to convey so many different emotions, and their lack of fear of getting in your face with the violence. And deep down, they are real romantics. I feel like I'm the kind of reader who loves an action/kickbutt story as much as a romance story, and they're great at giving both.
As with Silent Blade, I really like how this is a nod to traditional romance along the lines of Harlequin category books buried in a science fiction action story. In this book, the heroine is in love with and pining for her unattainable boss. She just happens to be a total bad*ss mental assassin who could turn most people's brains into soup with a minimal amount of effort. That was pretty cute, and as a diehard Harley fan, I squeed a little bit. I'll be honest. I liked that Venturo was actually a really nice guy (how cool is it when a hot guy is nice too)? I could feel Claire's conflicted feeling, being in love with him but feeling under his notice. And since it's important to be incognito, she really didn't want to be.
There is a lot of detail given to developing the cultures of the various people, and it's crucial to the story. From Uley to Dahlia, each are very distinctive, and the reader feels Claire's culture shock keenly.
The theme of virtual reality was pretty cool. The descriptions were cinematic and I loved how each psycher saw the landscape differently. I suck at video games, but it reminded me of that andrenaline rush of playing a game and knowing you are going to get nailed to the wall by a better player or the game itself. Of course, Claire had no worries on that score.
This series is so cool. I hope there will be many more books.
Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.