miércoles, 3 de agosto de 2016

OTW Challenge: DRIVEN, by Eve Kenin / Eve Silver

A story of revenge set in a very cold future

Published: 2007
Genre: Science Fiction / Futuristic
My Rating: 3 stars

Part of a series: Northern Waste #1

This is a science fiction book, but for the second time, I haven’t chosen for this challenge a book set ‘out of this world’.

This story is set on planet Earth, but in the future, in the end of the 21st century. There was a ‘Noble War’, a couple of them as a matter of fact:

‘As if there was anything noble about a nuclear holocaust that led to tectonic plate shifts, floods, earthquakes, and the decimation of the entire world’.

There’s a very cold part in the Northern hemisphere, the ‘harsh Northern Waste’ mentioned in the blurb. Vast tundra, lots of ice, coldness, a snowy landscape... while I was reading it, it was in the middle of a heat wave in July 2016, and so it was very refreshing.

The main character, Raina, is a truck driver (an ice trucker) who has made a legend of herself as a woman who can defend herself very well in a rather hostile world. She wants to participate in a race towards Gladow Station, a Northern location, where she is supposed to take grain for the settlers, in order to win the prize which is –a lot of money. Tons of money. Enough money to buy a future for herself -and a sister that she doesn’t even know- in warmer latitudes.

But she needs a license, a trucking pass, and she contacts somebody her late father trusted, a man named Wizard. She does not know him yet. He is, of course, the ‘sexy stranger’ of the story.

He was a soldier for the government. He is a quiet man, who has nearly suppressed all emotion. A very cold person. From the beginning you ask yourself if this is a human being or a robot.

‘Wizard, who was even more of an emotional wasteland than she was.’

In any case, he’s a mercenary and has his own reasons to do everything, even to be there in contact with Raina, whose life is an open book for him –only he does not tell her anything. And she knows next to nothing about him. That bunch of secrets could destroy both of them. But at the same time, the author gives you hints that allow you to anticipate where the book is going. And it’s a nasty place.

Both are quite competent in the art of fighting and even killing, if it comes to that. She needs the money, and he has his plans to revenge. Raina could be part of it, and she is totally unaware of it. There’s a sexual tension rising between them. Certainly he is not cold in bed –or in any other place she’s with Raina. They lust after each other. And having a relationship, even if they were able to restrict it to the physical level, is the worst thing any of them could do.

The bad guy is a sadist who wants Wizard dead and Raina alive, only to kill her himself, slowly and painfully. Raina has survived until this point by being very tough, a real kick-ass and knowing when to fight and when to flight. So being together is an added risk.

At the beginning of the story I was a little bit bored, because it was all about trucks, and the road and those are things that do not interest me. Or maybe it’s just that road stories have to develop in a slow rhythm. But then the plot was more complicated when you realised that there more things in this game than a race. The world building was competent and believable. It’s a Post Apocalyptic environment where everybody fights everybody else and wants to survive, with truckers, ice pirates, rebels.... If you see some place this book compared to Mad Max, yes, it’s more or less that wild-on-the-road story, only in a frozen desert instead of a sandy one.

In the end, it was a very fast reading, with fights, and sex, and more things going on.

I enjoyed it, although I felt a little detached from the story, as if I was seeing it from behind a glass. There was also this anguish, this sensation that something horrible was going to happen and you didn’t want to see it. Like an accident in slow motion. The sex scenes are very sensual and well-written. But it was the same -I didn’t feel the emotional connection there. As if those very tough characters were seeing their own feelings through a microscope. I imagined any of them being surprised –and not very happy- when they discovered what love is and what means and how they feel.

It can be that both of them have these emotional issues.

A hollow laugh escaped her. “We make a fine pair. A man who has a computer chip instead of a heart, and a woman whose emotions were beaten out of her.”

On the other hand, I just loved it when Wizard discovers that his happiness depends on her,

But Raina had made clear that her happiness no longer included association with him. So he would give her that because... because... she mattered to him in a way that his own happiness did not.

I found it a perfect thought. He is not intimidating; he respects her feelings and desires. Therefore, it’s Raina who makes the decisions and he does not interfere. As simple as that – and I love it.

This book won the 2007 All About Romance Reader Award in the Best Cabin/Road Romance and also the 2007 RT Reviewers Choice Award as a Futuristic Romance.

You can see this novel either with Eve Silver or Eve Kenin on the front page, depending of the edition.

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