Despite the teetering TBR pile, I went ahead and bought Ilona Andrews' latest (a short story from Samhain) as soon as I thought I'd made a wee dent in my reading. The price is $2.50 at the Samhain website but a helpful commenter (_ocelott_ from genrereviews) let me know it was cheaper at Books on Board. As of this review, the price there is $1.74, and its $2.00 at Amazon.
This is a short story in a world that isn't the same as that of the Kate Daniels series or the upcoming On the Edge series. And.. its a science fiction romance!! *happy dance*.
The Premise: In a futuristic world in which powerful families control much of the world because of their biological and technological enhancements, Meli Galdes is an assassin who was excised from her family so that she could carry out killings without being connected to them. Meli has just gone into retirement when her kinsmen ask for one more kill: Celino Carvanna, the man responsible for ruining her life. It's been twelve years since the event, and Celino doesn't recognize her, but Meli hasn't forgotten the pain he caused and plans to exact her revenge.
My Thoughts: I like the way that the world building is related in this one. In the space of a few short pages I understood the concept of families with enhanced biological traits and financial power. A futuristic society is presented through DNA scanners, robot security, ereaders, plasti-paper, and other day-to-day objects. Meli and Celino are also conveyed in quick strokes. In 41 pages, their characters had more depth than I've seen in full length novels. Celino is a ruthless business genius who is impatient and powerful, and sometimes overlooks things because he moves too fast. Meli is just as smart, just as lethal, feminine, and much more observant. She's aware of his deficiencies and knows how to counteract them. Of course, she knows a lot about Celino, and the back story of why is fascinating.
You know, after pondering about it, I realized that this is like a Harlequin Presents novel (my favorite Harlequin line by the way). It's got a businessman mogul and rival companies and an engagement for the sake of business strategy. Of course, in this case the Billionaire businessman is a preternaturally fast knife expert. And the rival's daughter is an assassin who wants revenge on him. I'm not sure if I'm reading too much into the story by coming up with this, but if it was a deliberate spin on a popular trope, I'm delighted.
Unlike the Kate Daniel's books out so far, this story does contain sex. It's done nicely and although I was surprised at first how quickly it happens, fits in with the revenge plot. The romance is more than just physical attraction, there's a mental connection as well (the discussion of books in particular, some titles I googled and now want to read, was a touch I loved). The couple also have a history, which means the romance really spanned a longer time period than what the short story focused on. I wasn't sure how the author was going to pull of this story with a satisfying HEA but they managed to do it!
Overall: I liked it a lot! I recommend it, but I will read anything and everything by this author so it's probably not a shock to those who regularly read my blog. I spent a nice hour or so reading this story in bed. Well worth the money and my time, and if this ever comes out in print, I'd buy it all over again. In an Ilona Andrews short story collection perhaps? I'd die of happiness!
If you want an idea of how well Ilona Andrew's short stories are written, I suggest reading her freebies on her website. I noticed that the idea of powerful, mafia like families is something the writer likes to play with; it also shows up in one of my other favorite short stories - Days of Swine and Roses.
Originally posted on janicu.vox.com