- File Size: 1122 KB
- Print Length: 197 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Evernight Publishing (November 26, 2016)
- Publication Date: November 26, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01MYSULFR
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,332,357 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Race to Redemption (Green Rising Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Elaina Carteret is a champion storm racer, where conglomerates sponsor souped-up speeders that compete on an inter-galactic circuit. The champions become media darlings, famous celebrities and very, very rich. Often they have an incestuous relationship with the conglomerates that sponsor them. These business corporations are so massive that they become multi-world, multi-interest behemoths. And the people at the top are very, very powerful. The "other 98%" don't live nearly so well. Elaina is a creature of disconnect, living in her bubble of privilege, until she is forced out of the limelight temporarily to get her racing head back on straight after a terrible accident that had personal ramifications.
She is sidelined to a remote desert planet, performing medical runs incognito for her conglomerate, StormTech. There she meets Erik Johansen, aka Doctor Dictator, in all his cocky, uber-capable glory. He is like the stud surgeons on shows like Grey's Anatomy or ER, but with the angst and brilliance of House. The very private, very mysterious, very virile Erik has exiled himself for reasons that are later revealed, but in the meantime, Elaina is looking to have him scratch her itch. Even though, Erik has the focus of a laser beam on his work, she gets under his skin. "He didn't tolerate insubordination and that woman owned the patent." But the sexy times are balanced by tragedy. Someone/something is tampering with the genetics of the native Ranharrans. Elaina, who finally starts looking outside her own selfish needs, finds she has the ability and desire to help. The Ranharran children at the medical compound will tug at every heart string you have. Elder has written them brilliantly.
The author has imagined some of the most unique species, with perhaps the most complicated morphology and attention to cultural norms I have ever read in sci-fi romance. They are well-integrated into the story and the society Elder has created. She surprises the reader with no less than four biologically diverse beings that would send any sci-fi aficionado into rapture. I won't give details because the discovery is part of what makes this novella so wonderful. What enriches this story even more is that humans and non-humans alike are brave and wicked, sincere and horrible. It is their character that drives the story. I hesitate to reveal any more of the plot, other than to say it is complex and continually builds.
Unfortunately, as much as I was impressed with this book, there were some shortcomings and surprises. On the surprise side was the crudity and sexual adventurousness. There is a definite erotic side to this novella. More careful attention to copy editing was needed. I would have liked to see a more gradual progression in the love connection between Elaina and Erik, but I must say the characters stay true and have a lot to overcome. Finally, I was confused at times in how the world-building was set up, particularly the role of the conglomerates, the conspiracies, and the inter-galactic politics. While the slow reveal of the situation was key to the suspense of the story, at times I was simply lost. I believe this will be solved with more experience by the author.
The story concludes with a happy for now ending. I know this is a death-knell for some readers. It is definitely not a favorite resolution of mine, but I am confident Elder will manufacture an even better, more expansive, more exciting sequel. I feel it.
Book source: Purchased.
First of all, Ms. Elder really knows her craft. In other words, she can write. Well. The short novel has the feel of a full-length book. Everything needed to tell a complete, complex, compelling story is there. Did I mention she can write? The story is littered with passages like these that make me think “I wish I could write like that”:
“A soft, innocent touch—bold in the way only a child can be, unaware of societal norms—wanting only what it wants and reaching out and taking it. It tugged at her heart.”
“Dark smudges built a home under clear green eyes and worry lines ran rivers across his brow.”
“His pain took concrete form, becoming a third passenger in the flyer with them.”
The story setting, a world/galaxy of privileged corrupt rich and poverty stricken poor sets the reader up for a story of class conflict, intrigue and maybe even a little revolution. The series title, Green Rising, refers to this conflict. The high class structures that house the corporations and the elite corporate officials contrast sharply with the rundown drab dormitories that are homes to the poor workers.
The planet Ranhar’s desert environment is a factor in the plot from the desert racing domes to the desert medical outpost to the interesting ways the planet’s denizens conserve water (public baths). Much of the action took place on Ranhar, but to be honest, the inter-galactic setting was occasionally confusing. I often wondered exactly where we were. Early chapters had headings, to help with orientation, but not all chapters had them.
Race to Redemption gets top ratings for exceptional characters. Elaina Carteret has something to prove. Dr. Erik Johnson has a history that compels him. They are easy characters to cheer for, but challenging to get to know. I mean that in a good way. They are both nicely flawed. These are both characters that have a past that takes time to be revealed but your patience will be rewarded.
The physical attraction between Elaina and Erik is immediate, even if it takes them a while to act on it. Expect some very sensual scenes with Elaina and Erik. The emotional attraction grows slowly. With several obstacles between them, including the fact that Elaina is not who she says she is, one wonders if they will actually make it.
Early in the story, two Ranharran children end up at the medical outpost. These kids will draw you in, just as effectively as they captured the hearts of Erik and Elaina. They are very sick and the race to find a cure is a major plot point in the story.
From here, the action in the story accelerates. When the medical compound is attacked and the good guys are forced to go on the run, the storm racer must prove her real self to Erik. This will be a challenge that that both will have a hard time overcoming even while the antagonists are conspiring to make life difficult for both of them.
This brings me to the one part of the story I wasn’t crazy about. Bad guys/gals having sex. I enjoy a well written sex scene between caring adults that are physically and emotionally attracted to each other. But with the bad guys – not so much. Elder uses these scenes to establish the dynamics between the plotting, nasty evildoers, so they were useful. But I would have preferred an alternative method to reveal said dynamics.
I was very intrigued with storm racing. Each racing scene reminded me of little Anakin Skywalker and his glorious pod race. Except with the added hindrance of a storm. Elaina is very proud of her skill as a racer and, at the beginning of the story, her whole life revolves around the sport, to the detriment of her family and her company, while it brings her fame and glory. Race to Redemption has Elaina entering a different kind of race, where the outcome takes on far more significance for her.
The verdict. Yes, I may have mentioned one or two things that I wasn’t crazy about. But, everything else about Race to Redemption is so great, I have to give it 5 stars. This story is truly imaginative and quite exciting. Race to Redemption is as twisty and thrilling as a level 20 desert storm!
The author provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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