Pushed To The Limit
by Nico Rosso, futuristic (2011)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.75, ISBN 978-1-59578-836-8
Even before I reach the author bio at the last page, I have a strong hunch that Nico Rosso is a man. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you, although Pushed To The Limit has much more action than romance. One thing I've liked about the few daring men that dare to venture into the estrogen-heavy romance genre is that they don't always play by the genre rules. Some of the best kick-ass heroines are created by them, mostly because they actually appreciate ass-kicking without worrying too much about the heroine coming off as unfeminine as a result.
This one has action, betrayal, and plenty of guns shooting at everybody. Our heroine, Teryn Pilander is some kind of Shadow Corps operative leading her team to the planet of Viela, guided by the sexy voice of a man known to her as Drel, to look into the capture of a Dusk Warrior, one of the enemies. Unfortunately, they have been led into a trap. Drel Kol, our hero, ends up betraying his people to save Teryn whom he has first betrayed (I know, I know), and these two are soon on the run from the bad guys.
As a story more heavy in the action and less on the heavy breathing, this one may disappoint readers who are looking for a story with a stronger emphasis on romance. I personally feel that the well-paced action scenes make up for the weak romance, however, as the story is entertaining enough in its own right from start to finish. There is no heavy angst, annoying conformation to the gender rules (in fact, Teryn is actually a more dominant character here, unapologetically so), or anything to distract me from the action. There is romance, but it's not the plot of the story. I actually like this, because it makes sense that two people on the run for their lives will care more about surviving than getting horny and sweaty with each other.
The only thing that is holding me back from giving this story a more unreserved recommendation is this: by the last page, I still have only a vague idea of what exactly is happening in this story. All that running and boinking and shooting and kicking and what not is fine and dandy, but I still can't see the big picture by the last page.
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