Jan's Reviews > Skin Game

Skin Game by Ava Gray
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Jan 12, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: romance, z-2011, paranormal-romance
Read from April 01 to 03, 2011

Ok.
I found this book hard to rate, because there was a lot I really loved about it, but somehow now that I've finished it I still feel hungry for something more.

Ann Agguirre (I'm firmly against authors using pen names when they aren't disguising the fact that they are the same person. And definitely in situations like this, where I can't really see a reason for the need of another name - but I'm derailing), Ann Agguirre writes great characters.

Just like in the Sirantha Jax series, which is a favorite of mine, both main characters are far from perfect. Not only are they quite flawed when it comes to character traits, but their morals and ethical codes are a delicious shade of gray. When people like that meet, interesting things are bound to happen, and when there's romance added to the mix, sparks fly.

The premise of the story is good, hitman with a perfect score has to kill a congirl after he gets information from her. Unfortunately he gets far more info than he bargained for, and before he knows it Reyes is all caught up in Kyra's life, and Kyra herself.

Kyra's gift - the power to steal someone's talent by a simple touch - has shaped her life and personality, and I thought it was more of a burden she learned to live with than an actual gift. I could really relate to her craving for touch, since I'm a very touchy-feely person myself - and her attraction to Reyes felt really natural to me.

Though Kyra was a mish-mash of seemingly very opposite traits, I could really see how she had evolved from the scared kid she used to be, to the lonely woman on the run at the beginning of the story.

Reyes was more of a mystery, and though there's hints to his background all over the place, he remains an enigma until the end, which was slightly dissatisfying. I did feel he was a great hero though, and I loved reading about his struggle with what to do with his feelings for his target. (view spoiler)

What I liked best is that neither really changed or had to change to be together. The romantic journey is about them finding happiness together, not about becoming better people, or dealing with the past or something similar. They stay their own shady selves, killing people included, and I think that's gutsy and refreshing for a romance.

I think that the problem lies in that both Kyra and Reyes are fundamentally lonely and not eager to trust. Both are distant and guarded, and even though they open up to each other (and have great chemistry), a lot of the emotional bonding seems to happen off-stage, and when it's on stage it's very understated. This kept me from being really moved by it, as I was never completely gripped by the story on an emotional level.

And even though I liked the resolution scene at the end on an intellectual level, it didn't move me as much as I thought it would.

Was it a good book? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes. Did it blow me off my socks? No, but I really wish it had, because Reyes and Kyra were great characters in a great story, that just needed that extra dash of emotion.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by new_user (last edited Apr 12, 2011 09:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

new_user I think that the problem lies in that both Kyra and Reyes are fundamentally lonely and not eager to trust. Both are distant and guarded...

I think this may be a trait of Aguirre's. Jax and March's relationship felt that way to me. Where love is so dynamic and flexible that a relationship can include almost any two personalities, I felt that March and Jax were both so dysfunctional and different that I wasn't sure I could believe them together. At least in that series, though, there were -minimal- lovey-dovey demonstrations on-stage. It doesn't sound like that was present here.


message 2: by Jan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jan Well, there's the hot lovemaking, and some getting to know each other through the story, but most of the bonding seems to happen like this: "And then they lay in each other arms and discussed their childhoods". So they definitely do connect and bond, just not really on stage.

I always think of the Jax series as Urban Fantasy in space, so expect a bit of romance there, but not for it to be the main storyline. At the other hand, somehow March and Jax their relationship has become really important for me - I refuse to read Killbox until the next one is out, because I heard the relationship with March goes South again, and I cant' handle that without a book to set it right. So while I agree that Aguirre often writes dry and kinda distanced story-lines, she can make them work for me.


new_user Well, there's the hot lovemaking, and some getting to know each other through the story, but most of the bonding seems to happen like this: "And then they lay in each other arms and discussed their childhoods".

That is not good! LOL. Hm. I have my doubts about reading this now.

I think March and Jax's relationship is a main element of the Jax series though, and I've heard that Killbox is another spat. I got tired of their ups and downs and the grimness. I don't know if it'll ever be happy days for those two because the author doesn't want it to be, keeps throwing obstacles their way. Last time they were separated they didn't even learn anything about each other or themselves, they were just split for angst purposes, it seemed. How many books are contracted?


message 4: by Jan (last edited Apr 13, 2011 08:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jan new_user wrote: "That is not good! LOL. Hm. I have my doubts about reading this now.

Obviously it was better written than my attempt though :) And the bonding doesn't entirely happen off page, I think it's about 50/50.

I still liked the book, and loved the characters. Maybe try and get it from the library if you're hesitant?

new_user wrote: "How many books are contracted? "

I believe the Jax series is 6 books long, so I've read half so far, and since they are more or less happy together now, I think I'll try and wait until the series is ended, so I at least know there's an ending to the rollercoaster.


new_user Hm, yeah, maybe the library. I wonder if they have an e-copy. That would be super. None of those overdue fines, LOL.

Yeah, I've read the first three Jax books too. Maybe I'll come back at the end. We'll see.


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