The time and place
The far future, all over space. We see action aboard a deep space convoy, Planet Sulla, and a marine planet. Planet Sulla has a very civilized-looking society with some giant underlying problems.
The suspension of disbelief
Humans have colonized the galaxy after they made Earth uninhabitable with nuclear weapons. There are plenty of humanoid aliens around, but I’m not clear on whether they are offshoots of humanity or were already out there by the time we were exploring space.
The quick summary
Scam artist Dakota Jones is on the run from terrorist organization Golden Nova, which she infiltrated in order to steal a treasure map from. When she finds the treasure, she’ll sell it so she never has to be dependent on anyone again. However, the convoy she’s escaping on is run by Dare Phoenix, who figures out she’s not the meek worker she’s pretending to be. He offers his protection from the assassins after her if he can join her search for the treasure. She agrees reluctantly, because Dare Phoenix is dangerous to her heart. He in turn is intent on finding all there is to know about her, in every sense.
The underwater exploration sequences are amazing. All the action is clearly described and well-paced, so I felt excited but never lost. Fight scenes and adventure are well-choreographed. And of course, there’s plenty of steam (with some kink that I didn’t find distracting) so our heroes can, er, let it off when they have some moments to themselves.
The factions and locations in this story are original and detailed. Nothing feels lazy in the construction of societies and motivations. The characters are unique and fun, so I don’t have them confused with each other, or characters from other novels.
The situation on Sulla didn’t seem resolved, and I wondered what would become of the characters that we’d met. The planet isn’t mentioned again later, so I felt like I’d been left hanging.
I was also confused about the final confrontation with the planet’s inhabitants. After some of the trouble they’d caused, I was puzzled when they just let the Phoenixes and Ms. Jones go. I think I would have caused more of a fuss.
Read if you
- Like undersea nature documentaries
- Enjoy risk-taking, independent, scrappy heroines
- Want ziplines and other action thrills to go with your sexy scenes
Skip if you
- Need a detailed twisty noir
- Avoid any mention of spanking or bondage
- Require complex villains with inscrutable motivations
Disclosure and final thoughts
I received a free copy for review purposes because I am on Anna’s launch team. This is a comfort food book: if you’ve read other Hackett books you’ll be pleased to know it’s what you’d expect. To keep things interesting, the underwater world and light D/s elements aren’t something I’ve read in her other books.
Author site: annahackettbooks.com