Book review: Through Uncharted Space by Anna Hackett

through_uncharted_space cover

 

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.

My squees

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.

My grumbles

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

Resources: Goodreads / Amazon US / Amazon Not-US / Kobo / aRe

Series spotlight and giveaway: Hell Squad by Anna Hackett

Welcome to my first series spotlight, where I recommend an entire series you can binge on! It’s Anna Hackett’s Hell Squad.

This series is ten books long so far:

 

Spotlight

In our near future, aliens invade and lay waste to Earth. What’s left of civilization must organize, survive, and fight back against the continued onslaught. The heroes and heroines of the Hell Squad series are among those trying to give humanity a future. Follow them through their perilous journey through post-apocalyptic Australia as they learn what it means to live for each other.

The short novels have tight plotting, fast-paced action, and scorching encounters. Some of the characters are especially memorable: my favorites are Noah Kim of the book that bears his name, Claudia Black of Shaw, and Adam Holmes and his heroine Liberty. The friendships between non-romantic characters and the squad relationships are solid. The romances feature couples who complement each other well and have excellent chemistry. These books celebrate life and love amidst fear and loss.

I enjoy the stunts that appear in the action scenes. I don’t lose track of where anybody is or what they are doing, which is difficult to convey with multiple characters and enemies. Trucks explode, lasers fly, fighter planes bombard, one of the heroines pit-fights some devil doggies…the action doesn’t stop. Even the metaphors used about feelings include percussive words! Speaking of devil doggies, the world has a fascinating bestiary. Fans of alien invasion/monster movies will enjoy the horrible person-sized dragonflies, exploding acidic devil doggies, giant sauropods, pterodon-like creatures, and the biped lizards who appear to be masterminding the invasion. It’s not quite kaiju movie, but I do want to see it in theaters.

I recommend starting with Marcus, which is free, and I recommend reading the series sequentially. There are several big arcs that span multiple books, even if each book stars one couple. You’ll enjoy these more if you’re comfortable with gritty violence. We don’t get any gory details of alien torture, but bad things do happen to various people during these stories.

Giveaway!

Anna herself has generously supplied a signed copy of Marcus that I’m giving away. I’ll attempt to ship anywhere on planet Earth. I’m also giving away a Hell Squad ebook of their choice (via Amazon) to two other readers.

How to enter: Comment on this blog post with your favorite movie monster! Mine’s either the Alien queen from the Alien series or Pyramid Head from Silent Hill. Contest runs until 17 September at midnight PDT.

Disclosure: I have received some of these books free for review purposes. I have bought copies of the rest. The ebooks will be gifts from me.

I have my own grumbles about ebook retailer exclusivity, but you can get Hell Squad in print from Amazon/CreateSpace and The Book Depository.