Tuesday 23 June 2015

#CBR7 Book 68: "Driven" by Eve Kenin

Page count: 321 pages
Rating: 3 stars

In a post-apocalyptic future, most people live in the icy wastes of what used to be Siberia. While on paper, trade should be regulated fairly, in reality there is a monopoly controlled by one ruthless man, Duncan Bane, and he wants Raina Bowen tortured and dead, eventually. Raina needs to deliver a shipment of grain to one of the major settlements, but needs forged documentation to drive on the ice road. Wizard, the man who was supposed to meet her with said documentation, instead gets her in trouble with Bane's hired goons. After his rig blows up, he insists on riding with Raina.

It doesn't take long in close quarters with Wizard for Raina to really feel the heat sizzling between them. But Wizard is an odd one, with lethal fighting skills, supernaturally fast reflexes, advanced healing ability and a strangely literal view of the world. He's nursing a lot of secrets, and clearly also has a past with Bane. Although Raina is sure it's a bad idea, she and Wizard race across the icy wastes, trying to outrun Bane's hired goons, ice pirates and eventually, Duncan Bane himself.

So let me be entirely honest, I doubt I would ever have heard of this book or read it, if not for it being the May pick for Vaginal Fantasy. I didn't end up reading it until after the hangout where the ladies spoke about it, figuring that it was worth a try (also I was able to get it as part of a sci-fi bundle for less than a dollar, so at least it didn't cost me too much). Ice trucker sci-fi romance is absolutely a new subset of the romance genre and not one I thought would appeal to me at all. While the book was a bit slow to start, and the writing was a bit repetitive, it helped that I was already prepared for this, having heard the book discussed.

I liked Raina's strength and independence (even though it was frequently repeated how strong she was), she is very capable, has had to manage on her own for a long time, and even when she finds other people she can lean on and trust, she prefers to handle things herself. I liked parts of the world-building (although personally I would hate to live in frozen wastes all year long), some of the inter-personal relationships when more characters are introduced were good, and the sex scenes wer perfectly decent. In the e-book copy I got, there is an additional sex scene at the end,which the author cut because it disrupted the flow of the story. Wise choice, because having one at the point where she clearly excised it from would have been really jarring.

What I didn't like so much were some of the flaws with the writing, I just could not get over that the hero is called Wizard. There's a good reason for it, but it never worked for me and took me out of several moments that were supposed to be sexy. Some of the story telling is a bit muddled, with flash backs that are not always entirely clear and a lot of convoluted explanations of how various characters came to be the way they were. Duncan Bane was totally uninteresting to me. He has one setting, and one only, complete sadistic phychopath and that gets boring really fast.

There is apparently a sequel to this book, involving one of Wizard's sisters, and that book, according to the internet is a lot better. I don't know yet if I'll check it out. While this wasn't a bad read, all in all, it also wasn't terrible memorable, apart from the fact that I can now say I've read dystopian ice trucker sci-romance. So there is that.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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