Taking place after the cataclysmic events of Fortress Frontier, Breach Zone by Myke Cole reun...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.bookchickcity.com - 4.5 Stars
Taking place after the cataclysmic events of Fortress Frontier, Breach Zone by Myke Cole reunites the characters of the previous novels for a heart-stopping showdown in New York City.
This time around, our protagonist is Colonel Jan Thorsson, aka Harlequin, an Aeromancer in the SOC who played a crucial role in book two. He is drafted in as the commander of New York City’s resistance, as the newly-freed Scylla has finally played her trump card. She has opened a portal in New York City, similar to those created by Oscar Britton, but made using her particular brand of rotting magic. Through this portal she has brought her army of goblins and Gahe, mountain guardians who are immune to human weaponry.
Scylla’s goal is the removal of the McGauer-Linden Act, the government protocol that makes Latent humans who manifest in magical arts subject to capture and discipline. She wants Limbic Dampener, the drug which enables Latents to control their power, to be freely distributed rather than the property of the government, enabling more freedom of choice for magical humans. However, what she also believes is that Latent individuals are above normal humans, becoming a war for supremacy rather than equality.
With Scylla’s Gahe being unaffected by human weapons, Harlequin needs the support of the magical armies and illegal arts to even have a ray of hope. This means fighting the governmental red tape which prohibits the use of such magic, drawing together General Bookbinder and Oscar Britton from the previous novels. Sarah Downer also makes a welcome return, although her character does not feature massively throughout the book despite her usefulness.
Interspersed throughout the book are flashback sequences to six years previous, the time when Scylla and Harlequin first met. These scenes are pivotal in understanding both the corruption of the government, and the emotional reasoning behind Scylla’s actions. I wasn’t expecting to form such a close connection with a character that, up until now, has been solely evil and can only destroy rather than create.
These flashbacks did not impede the pace of the novel in any way, as they provided a welcome respite from the battle as well as being interrelated. I thought the whole book was fast paced and exciting, as if running on an adrenaline high from the battle, and it is easy to overlook the fact that it takes place over the space of only a few days. I hadn’t anticipated that Scylla would take her revenge in such a public way, and it demonstrates the misuse of magic juxtaposed with the good it can do.
I really enjoyed getting into Harlequin’s mind in this book, as he seems to be the most emotionally involved of all the protagonists. When he suffers a loss in the war he really seems to feel it emotionally, caught in the crossfire of what is right and wrong. His own ideals are questioned as the government’s ways are continuously proven to be flawed, and it is only through his thought processes that we can see the glimmer of what could be. I hadn’t anticipated the connection between him and Scylla, and I really thought this added to the emotional ride of the book.
Until this third instalment, we hadn’t seen much of what Scylla’s magic could really do to people, as it is most often used to rot objects and weaponry. The full extent of her power is truly horrific, and I thought Cole captured this perfectly and at just the right moments. Not only is her magic powerful, but she is a great public speaker, and Cole pulls off some truly political speeches throughout the book, and not just from Scylla. The glimpses of her previous life, when she was known as Grace, make you wish for a redemption, but whether this is realised must remain unknown until the final pages.
Overall, Breach Zone combined all of my favourite elements from the previous books, despite wanting to see more of certain characters (such as Britton and Bookbinder). I think Cole has grown over the course of the series, as his action scenes flow with more grace and subtlety than before, forming a perfectly rounded whole. There was just the right balance of action versus discussion, as no element of warfare is overlooked, right down to the last snippet of red tape. I think these books have resonance in real current affairs, despite the magic, making them that much more gripping.
In what proves to be a show-stopping third instalment, Cole doesn’t pull any punches as a full scale war rages in the streets of New York City. The action is at an all-time high, and the emotions of war really come across as the desperation of the forces is at the forefront. What surprised me is that you can even sympathise with Scylla, who until now has been a sadistic antagonist, turning the book into a full-on emotional rollercoaster.(less)
Slick as Ides by Chanse Lowell was my first foray into erotic romance, and I have to say that this wasn’t...moreReviewed by Rebecca for www.bookchickcity.com
Slick as Ides by Chanse Lowell was my first foray into erotic romance, and I have to say that this wasn’t the best book to get me started.
Ides is an incredibly intelligent computer hacker and inventor, worth millions of dollars and currently undergoing a lawsuit that claims one of her inventions can be used criminally rather than for good. She is a recluse, intensely shy about the outside world as a result of her germ phobia, which makes her frequently use hand sanitizer and clean every inch of her house. The only contact she has is with her lawyer, Riot, who makes no secret of his feelings for her, and online hacker rival, Vapor.
With Vapor she has intensely sexual and erotic conversations, in which he tells her all the different ways he wants to have sex with her. The language he uses is crude and vulgar, but for some reason Ides still finds this appealing and finds herself thinking about him. She is attracted to him merely through online conversation, despite admittedly only knowing him for a couple of months, with this allowing her to stay detached from forming too strong an emotional attachment.
When Ides leaves her home to deliver her new invention (in a Veyron, no less), a stop for petrol leads to an encounter with the mysterious Nick, who promptly steals her car. He is a thief, in the business of stealing cars and doing them up with his friend, Westin. However, he hasn’t counted on Ides having tracking devices implanted into the car, as she shows up at the garage and reclaims her vehicle. She thinks she’s removed all of Nick’s tracking devices, but then he turns up at her home and somehow bypasses all of her home security.
Of course, it turns out that Nick is the real name of alias Vapor, and he has his sights set on getting into Ides’ bed. He goes so far as to cuff her to the bed while she is still sleeping, and then has forceful sex with her. This happens several times throughout the book, as Ides repeatedly tells him she will increase her home security so he can’t get in, but he continues to find ingenious ways of entry. I found this to be almost stalker-like, as his pursuit of her is relentless and he barely gives her a moment’s peace.
As for the plot, after the initial encounters between the pair, I thought that it got very confusing and illogical. I could accept that the pair had known each other previously, but then there were revelations that their families were connected as their fathers knew and hated each other. It all became very strange and I admit that I switched off for part of it. I felt that the story could easily have ended half-way through, without the need for the last part, especially as the closing chapter felt very cliché and predictable.
For a main character, Ides (real name Dena), was easy to connect with at first and I could sympathise with her phobia of germs, even if it was a little extreme. However, after she met Vapor I found it increasingly hard to understand her, as I didn’t find anything that he did attractive or sexy, and couldn’t see why she would want him to keep pursuing her. She liked him calling her names such as ‘dirty bitch’, and it seemed like her phobia disappeared around him. I could understand feeling more comfortable around someone you love, but it seemed unrealistic for her fears to dissipate completely.
As previously indicated, I didn’t find Vapor/Ides appealing at all for a hero. He was almost violent in their sexual contact, with BDSM elements coming through, and his sexual appetite was unrelenting. He was always hard for Ides, and there were numerous scenes where he would wake her up just to satisfy his own urges. I admit that there were a few moments when he showed genuine caring and emotion, but on the whole he was very animalistic and primal.
The sex scenes in this erotic romance were heated, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that they were always passionate. In fact, there are times when they border on the ridiculous as well as the crude. For example, many times during their intercourse they stop to have conversations that can be profound or trivial, with one notable instance where they are supposedly having a conversation whilst Ides is sucking him. It was moments like these that removed all the sexiness from their relationship, as well as Nick’s repeated use of the c-word and other unattractive words that you wouldn’t want to hear during intimacy.
Overall, this book wasn’t really for me, but I suppose if you’re into the BDSM theme then it might be more your cup of tea. It was hard to connect with characters that both carried so much angst, especially as their histories coincidentally intertwined, as the sex scenes formed the majority of the text. As a first experience of erotic fiction, I was expecting a sexier read and was unfortunately disheartened, but if erotica is your genre then you may well form a different opinion.
This book is full of sex scenes, some of which have dubious consent, as well as being littered with crude language and repeated use of the c-word. The scenes didn’t feel at all sexy, as at times they felt forced and ridiculous, and the characters both seemed to have a ridiculous back story that was too coincidental. A good read if you like erotica with dubious consent as a theme, but if you like it to actually seem sexy then this isn’t the book for you. (less)