Friday, January 16, 2015

ebook Review: Overload Flux

The Central Galactic Concordance has been stable for two centuries, but trouble is brewing. A pandemic is affecting hundreds of civilized planets, and someone is stealing the vaccine...

Brilliant investigator Luka Foxe's hidden mental talent is out of control, making him barely able to function in the aftermath of violence, and the body count is rising. The convoluted trail leads to a corrupt pharma industry and the possibility of an illegal, planet-sized laboratory. In the face of increasing threats, he must rely on an enigmatic, lethal woman he just met, but she has deep secrets of her own.

Mairwen Morganthur hides extraordinary skills under the guise of a dull night-shift guard. The last thing she wants is to provide personal security for a hot-shot investigator, or to be plunged into a murky case involving sabotage, treachery, and the military covert operations division that would love to discover she’s still alive.

Two more lives in a rising death count won’t bother their enemies one bit. Their only hope for survival lies in revealing their dark secrets and learning to trust one another.

Firstly, not as in love with that cover as I could be.  I like Mairwen...but Luka looks too...not something.  Not like he's been through enough maybe (Mairwen is, I think, in her mid-30's based on contextual data and Luka is in his late 30's/early 40's?).  That's a minor gripe since I read this on my Tablet and only had a fleeting glance at the cover before I went to make this post.

Secondly, oh my shiny stars am I happy to read another scifi romance that pleases me.  And let me emphasis the romance part of that category classification because Van Natta has both her characters spend time understanding what getting into a relationship--short term or otherwise--would mean for them both.  Individually they operate fairly well considering they both harbor some pretty hefty emotional/psychological issues.  Together...well those issues could be a bigger problem.

I appreciated the fact that Van Natta didn't have them jump into anything.  They acknowledged their attraction, acknowledged they wanted something to happen, but also acknowledged that slow would be better.  Mairwen is damaged - the training they put her through to make her what she is as well as what she had to do to escape, stunted her completely.  

Thanks to some trick of fate Mairwen finds herself guarding Luka instead of her normal night shift security detail.  Luka, to no one's surprise except perhaps Mairwen, delights in her company (and her competence, I can't stress that enough) and keeps requesting her as his partner (to Mairwen's obnoxious boss' anger).  Fairly quickly they both realize the other is not quite what they seem, but whereas Luka wants to explore things and come to some sort of togetherness, Mairwen keeps warding him off.  For good reason.  

Dispassionately she recounts to Luka the various atrocities they committed upon herself and other children who met the criteria.  Intellectually she knows these things were heinous, that she should feel something more, but at the same time part of their regime was to convince the children that emotion of any kind would lead to their death.  In the five years since she..."graduated" (when around others or not in private places they refer to those days as "school", a small thing that one suggests and the other picks up on and remembers) Mairwen hasn't tried to reclaim those lost emotions, preferring to live an unnoticed, unremarkable, but entirely her own life.

A life that as her and Luka work to figure out who killed his friends and who seemed to have a much larger target they were aiming for, she wants to share with Luka.  There was no big revelation moment or some grand gesture that he did.  It would be easy to say he "wore her down" with his charm, his flirting, his almost insistence that they belonged together...but it was not really any of those things.  It boiled down to one thing: he accepted her.   He accepted her wry sense of humor.  Understood that as delicate as she may have appeared she wasn't someone who asked for protection, but appreciated when he offered it as an equal.

For Luka he was attracted to her from the start, but was cautious.  Both because of his abilities and because of his fragile state of mind.  Any time he let himself get drawn into the crime scene it had the potential to consume him so completely he'd be left as little more then a vegetable.  Mairwen helps push him through that, as first his anchor to reality and then as his sort of...toughening up trainer.  

This review is a lot about them, but I also found a lot to enjoy about the world.  I mentioned in some of my status updates (on Goodreads) how the lingo threw me for a loop.  It took a little while for my head to get around it, but once I did it flowed seamlessly.  

I look forward to there being more books in this universe - while things wrap up nicely for Luka and Mairwen, making this a nice stand alone in many ways, the author all but taunts the reader with "More Adventures to Come!" which I for one am waiting for most eagerly.

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