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Archives > BOM - Driven - first impressions!

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message 1: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda | 83 comments Before we start reading I thought I'd write some first impressions of the book to get the ball rolling.

I was surprised when I first read Driven that it was so different from Eve Kenin’s other books. Previously Eve had a background in dark Gothic Romance. When asked why she took such a departure with this book she says the book just insisted on being written. At the time she was not sure that a “post-apocalyptic, trans-Siberian trucker romance” (her words) would sell. Several interviewers told her the book reminded them of the Mad Max movies but although she had seen and enjoyed the movies it was Joss Whedon's amazing series Firefly that jump-started her imagination. In addition she was inspired by the anime she was watching at the time (Full Metal Panic, Hellsing, GTO, GetBackers).

It’s interesting that Eve was so influenced by anime in her writing because that was the style of cover art eventually chosen by her publisher. Her publisher SHOMI was a newly developed branch of Dorchester publishing specializing in speculative romance. They wanted a new look for their covers that represented the different elements of their catalogue (edgy romance, suspense, elements of science fiction and fantasy). The cover artist they chose was Eric Kim. Check out his website!

Anime or the Manga style originates in Japan. Anime refers to animation or cartoons and manga refers to comics. In Japan manga is read by all age groups and its stylish influence has been seeping into our western culture for many years. From cartoons like Astroboy, Pokemon and Ghost in the Shell to movies like Kill Bill and TV’s Iron Chef we have been absorbing the images and themes of Japanese culture into our lives. Manga is extremely popular these days as can be seen by the large number of Goodreads groups devoted to its art form.

Eventually SHOMI dissolved in 2009. Perhaps it was a little ahead of its time! On the old SHOMI website Eve wrote this to promote Driven, As an author, I’m fascinated by character emotions and growth, by the subtle strengths and weaknesses that add layers and dimensions to create individuals who linger in the reader’s thoughts long after the last page is read. In DRIVEN, Raina and Wizard take a wild ride through a post-apocalyptic world as they battle rival truckers, ice pirates and a deadly villain with a very personal vendetta. But there is also a figurative wasteland in this story, the emotional void of two damaged souls, the aching, hidden places that make Wizard and Raina who they are: two people whose emotions are frozen and who come together with enough heat to melt the polar ice cap.

Driven won the Best Futuristic/Fantasy Romance category of the Romantic Times Book Awards in 2007.

Happy Reading!


message 2: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 334 comments I just ordered a copy from the library!


message 3: by new_user (last edited Aug 31, 2010 10:42AM) (new)

new_user | 755 comments Wow! Thanks for the info, Mandy! I had no idea she was an anime or Firefly fan! That is awesome! I have to start on this soon. I'll be interested to see if, as in Ilona Andrews' work, you can see the anime influences.

I have to say I'm also intrigued to read a "trucker romance." LOL!


Nichole ~Bookaholic~ (nicholebookaholic) I just downloaded the book and will start it this weekend...


message 5: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments My copy finally arrived so I'll start sometime this weekend.


message 6: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments I just finished my review for my last book, so I'll be starting it too!


message 7: by SmittenKitten (last edited Sep 04, 2010 05:40PM) (new)

SmittenKitten | 9 comments I love the Mad Max movies, so it will be interesting to see if Driven reminds me of those. The sequel, Hidden, reminded me a lot of the Resident Evil movies.


message 8: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments I'm a little ways into Driven, and I liked it, but now I'm feeling like the hero's dysfunction might make this tedious. I like heroes at full capacity, who can engage my interest, rather than heroes who haven't been socialized and can't decipher social cues like this fellow. What are you all thinking so far?


message 9: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda | 83 comments new_user wrote: "I'm a little ways into Driven, and I liked it, but now I'm feeling like the hero's dysfunction might make this tedious. I like heroes at full capacity, who can engage my interest, rather than heroe..."

Well, I'd have to disagree with you there NU.;) I like a hero that needs a bit of 'fixin'! My favourite Linnea Sinclair is Games of Command whose hero is definitely a social misfit!

*Spoiler Alert*



I love the part in Driven when Raina realises that Wizard is not a normal guy and that she needed and wanted romance and she tells him that. And he says:
“Romance. Compliments. Gifts. Understood. “
and then he proceeds to compliment her:
“Raina….(…) your eyes are appropriately spaced”, he whispered.
she blinked.
“and your ears are proportional to your face. The collagen fibbers of your integument have maintained a wrinkle-free and youthful appearance.” He looked at her earnestly. “compliments”.
“ummmm” She frowned. “my integument?”
“tomorrow I will order you a set of titanium body armour. Lightweight and impenetrable”. The corners of his mouth kicked up just a bit, and he looked incredibly pleased with himself, “Gifts”.
I thought this part was very cute and poignant.


message 10: by NebulousGloom (FK) (last edited Sep 09, 2010 09:15AM) (new)

NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments I like heroes at full capacity, who can engage my interest, rather than heroes who haven't been socialized and can't decipher social cues like this fellow.

Interesting. Generally, my problem is more with the chicks than with the male lead. I've actually finished the book, so I'll save the rest of my comments until later.


message 11: by new_user (last edited Sep 09, 2010 12:57PM) (new)

new_user | 755 comments LOL. In a romance my main concern is the male lead, and he'll frequently make up for a bad heroine, but I do prefer capable or sympathetic women as the heroines too.

What did you all think of "I liked your hair"? LOL.


message 12: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda | 83 comments new_user wrote: "LOL. In a romance my main concern is the male lead, and he'll frequently make up for a bad heroine, but I do prefer capable or sympathetic women as the heroines too.

What did you all think of "I liked your hair..."


Where was that bit NU? I must have missed it!


message 13: by new_user (last edited Sep 10, 2010 03:05PM) (new)

new_user | 755 comments LOL. Around page 100. She asks him, after realizing that he's a lean, mean fighting machine and he never needed her help after all. "Why'd you get on the back of my scooter?" He says point blank, "I liked your hair." LOL!

Reminds me of the end of that annoying teeny song, "I like your beard." She needs to listen to India Arie's "I Am Not My Hair," LOL. I'm more than just a pretty blonde, okay!

Ahem... But enough of that, back to your regularly scheduled programming.


message 14: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda | 83 comments Ah yes now I remember! I liked that bit. Wizard is so adorably awkward, no filter between brain and mouth. Eve does his character really well IMHO.:)

The 'I like your beard' was the best part of that song! Off to listen to 'I Am Not My Hair"...


message 15: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Yeah, that is the best part of that song. Arie is speaking to (white) standards of beauty in that song, but it still works here. Most women are reduced to their hair anyway, LOL.


message 16: by AnnaM (last edited Sep 10, 2010 08:00PM) (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments I'm only about page 25. I have mixed feelings so far. I like a lot of the language usage, but I'm finding the hero and the one-eyed badguy a bit formal and odd-sounding. But maybe that'll change for me.

I like Raina so far. She's tough and capable. Having had a job in a male-dominated career as a fuel truck driver I can say she seems realistic.

Many of the baddies seem a bit cliche to me so far, but the world is vicious and reminds me of Mad Max.

I'm trying not to read all the posts about this one until after I finish. So far, I like it. I'm reading pretty fast since I only started it yesterday.


NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments I didn't mind the hair comment at all. Seemed honest.

My big gripe was the bad guy. Honestly, he was such a cardboard bad guy that I wouldn't have been surprised if he was out kicking puppies and terrorizing small children.


message 18: by new_user (last edited Sep 11, 2010 02:14PM) (new)

new_user | 755 comments I felt the baddies, while detailed, were a little too mustache-twirling, I agree. I winced when I read about the eye patch. Although I have to say, Wizard's flashback-- his choice, that was affecting.

I don't like how formal-sounding Wizard is either, Anna. Still a ways to go though, so I'm reserving judgment. I'm just getting annoyed that Raina keeps repeating "I'm independent, I'm independent, and did I mention I'm independent?" I got it! LOL.


message 19: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments I'm only on page 46. This week is going to be so busy for me I may not get much farther into it.


message 20: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments No problem, Anna. Everyone's at their own pace. Chime in whenever anything strikes you! :)


message 21: by new_user (last edited Sep 12, 2010 05:17PM) (new)

new_user | 755 comments I'm about 65% through, and I'm liking this better. Although there's still a bit of repetition with her inner dialogue, the baddie really is awful, and Wizard is more developed.

I'm around page 200 now, and she's revealed what Sam did to her re: Duncan Bane, and I'm wondering why he did such a thing! (Trying not to give away too much.)

Mandy, I just read the part you quoted (pg. 229 or thereabouts), and that was hilarious! Loved it!


message 22: by Jody (new)

Jody Wallace (jodywallace) I finished Driven about a week ago. I did notice the repetitive interior dialogue by the heroine, the moustache twirling villain, and the somewhat sparse worldbuilding (which is more common than not in SFRs by romance publishers). I groaned a little in the beginning when the heroine blurted out who she was just to set up the first action sequence because later she goes on and on about how she's always so careful about her identity. Even with all that, I quite enjoyed Driven and would be happy to read more books set in that world. It was unique and interesting.


message 23: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments I agree about the sparse worldbuilding, and yes, that was a little odd that she so easily blurted out her identity, LOL. I just finished it today, actually.


Nichole ~Bookaholic~ (nicholebookaholic) So I started this book the other day and while not bad it is just not grabbing my attention at the moment....I keep putting it down to read something else...I think I will put it away for now and try again later


message 25: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda | 83 comments I really enjoyed the fight scene when the Reavers attacked the rebel camp. Raina and Wizard are part of a 'suicide' advance guard that goes out to meet the reavers. The plan is to somehow plant mines underneath these monstrous hitech ice-trucks and get away before they explode. Kenin builds up these scenes perfectly IMHO. It all plays out like an action film and I felt that 'heart in the throat' anxiety as Raina overcomes injury and dares all to destroy these attackers.

For me the only weakness in this story is the eye-patch wearing two dimensional villian, Duncan Bane. I prefer villains that are more humanized and fleshed out. Otherwise loving this story the second time around!


message 26: by new_user (last edited Sep 18, 2010 03:43PM) (new)

new_user | 755 comments LOL, Mandy! I thought the reverse! I had some problems with interruptive internal dialogue in her action scenes, but I see what you mean about Bane. He was an evil fellow though for those people who like to be able to really hate the villain! LOL.


message 27: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda | 83 comments new_user wrote: "LOL, Mandy! I thought the reverse! I had some problems with interruptive internal dialogue in her action scenes, but I see what you mean about Bane. He was an evil fellow though for those people wh..."

I think we are reading two different books! We disagree all the time..;D


message 28: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments Just finished Driven. I really enjoyed the ending. Loved that part.

Due to a lot of what was said above I admit I had a hard time getting into this story. Sparse worldbuilding, yep. Repetition, yep. Stupidly blurting out her name to the enemy, yep.

I think the main thing that made it hard for me to get into this book was Wizard's coldness and manner of speech. He was so robotic until more than halfway through that I kept wondering what any woman would see in him. The descriptions of his emotionless eyes got me in particular. Even Mad Max had echoes of horrors seen in his eyes.

This story was sort of an Ice Road Truckers/Mad Max/Dark Angel combo.

For me the story really picked up when Wizard's backstory started to come out and Raina stopped repeating how independent she was quite so often.

Raina, well, I could tell quickly she had been abused as a kid because she had that feel, however tiring the repetition became.

I liked the fights and conflicts with the pirates (though the name Reavers constantly shouted Firefly at me) and liked Wizard's sister and several of the minor characters.

The baddie...well, he was a bit of a caricature to me the whole time, but he was sufficiently bad.

I like that Raina did most of her own saving and fighting. Loved the "suicide mission". That part was really good. Thought the 250 was cute and fun.

Overall it was okay with a really good ending.


message 29: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Anna, I see what you mean about Wizard. On the one hand, he was supposed to be robotic, and the moments when she looked into his eyes and saw no emotion whatsoever even in situations that might inspire them- those were chilling.

However, I got the feeling that he thought he was emotionless more so than was actually true. I think when he didn't show his emotions, because he was trained not to, he still felt them. I think we saw it leaking through now and then. It definitely seemed to me like he was always thinking and responding- which is great because he could have easily been robotic. Great that we got his PoV from time to time too to verify that.

But the repetition really killed it for me and it could have used a little more action, I felt.


message 30: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments I can see the Dark Angel/assassin aspect too. Good comparison.


message 31: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments NU, thanks.

Maybe it was because I didn't sit and read without distractions, but he WAS robotic to me. I didn't see nearly enough times when emotion leaked through in the first half of the book. I didn't see him as chilling either in those moments. I know it was necessary for him to have few emotions because he changed later, but I think what bothered me most was I didn't see any of those "warm" hints that Raina should see to keep her wanting him. To me it looked like she kept going back despite seeing few or no hints that he liked her--until halfway through or more when she found out he liked her.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not telling anyone not to read it, it was okay. It just didn't resonate with me until right up near the end...unlike, say, The Outback Stars, which I knew was a keeper for me by page four.

Driven was good enough for me to try other SFRs by this author.


NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments (Spoiler warning)
I finished the book a while ago. Generally, I liked it. My main complaint was the bad guy. He was so over the top that I had trouble believing that part of the story. I actually liked Wizard and found him much more appealing as a character than the chick. The beach ending seemed a bit disconnected. I'm hoping that her next book will have ironed out some of these issues.


message 33: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments What didn't you like about Raina, Felicia? I didn't really care about her one way or the other, myself.


NebulousGloom (FK) (nebulousgloom) | 30 comments I thought her reaction to Wizard's betrayal was way overboard. In general, she came across as more fussy than tough. Now, in many romance novels, I have trouble with the "betrayal" aspect, as it seems like a really commonly used tactic to pull the characters apart for just a while longer. Making it believable and not a gross over-reaction seems to be a fine line. Anyway, that is my pet peeve.


message 35: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments So, are we doing a book for October? I have a weeklong conference to participate in so I'd have to vote for a short book. LOL.


message 36: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Ah, sorry for the late reply! >.< We can do a group read for Oct., but I wouldn't be able to lead myself since I'm a bit busy atm. Any takers?


message 37: by AnnaM (new)

AnnaM (annamc) | 1111 comments I'd vote for a really short book. Another question is, are we doing a book in November since so many people do Nanowrimo? I'm still considering it myself.


message 38: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Yeah, that would depend again on whether or not anyone volunteered to lead discussion. I might be able to do it in Nov.


message 39: by Jody (new)

Jody Wallace (jodywallace) Novella?


message 40: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Sure, I'll set up a nominations thread. :)


message 41: by SmittenKitten (new)

SmittenKitten | 9 comments I started reading Driven in in September but did not finish it, I will probably go back to it in a few weeks... I agree with most of the comments above. I actually read the sequel, Hidden, first... it was better than Driven IMO, but has the same two-dimensional villain.


message 42: by new_user (new)

new_user | 755 comments Oh, really? Hidden was better, eh? Hmmm...


message 43: by Jody (new)

Jody Wallace (jodywallace) Now I need to get Hidden, I see!


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