Monday, February 4, 2008

Like a Thief in the Night by Bettie Sharpe

TITLE: Like a Thief in the Night
AUTHOR: Bettie Sharpe
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 28k)
GENRE: Sci-fi futuristic erotic romance
COST: $3.50

Arden Black is an assassin – cold-hearted, relentless, one of the best. Her latest assignment looks like cake, until he comes back from the dead and takes her hostage. A professional thief who cannot be killed, Aniketos has his own reasons for needing Arden, but the desire to possess her is just as strong. Three days. That’s how long they have. In three days, Aniketos has to convince Arden to give herself to him, or Arden goes back to the life she had a wanted woman.

Even if you don’t hang out on the blogosphere, I dare you to look at the cover of this book and not fall in love. It is one of the most starkly sensual covers I’ve seen in awhile, and I am absolutely in love with it. I love even more that the story is worthy of the cover.

Sharpe has created a stark, violent world and tossed in a pair of characters that exemplify that world to a tee. Her prose is sharp and original, without unnecessary flourishes to detract from her plot or characterization. In fact, the first half of the book sucked me in and refused to let me go. Arden is kinky and corrupt, while Aniketos watches on, bemused and aroused. Watching her try to kill him over and over again, in between bouts of indulging in their attraction, was pure, unadulterated fun.

Arden is a product of a corporation called Darkriver, an organization that creates killers by taking children and molding them into new images, while Anitekos comes from a more mythological realm. This juxtaposition – which I think is purposeful, to highlight the differences between the hero and heroine – isn’t always as smooth as it could be. More attention is paid earlier on to creating Arden’s world, so that by the time Anitekos’ starts getting fleshed out, it feels a little tacked on and pat. More and more detail is piled on to work through the story’s resolution, and the entire thing feels too big for the novella containing it.

That being said, anybody who likes their stories dark, violent, and on the edge, will likely love this. The author’s voice is unique enough to separate her from the pack, and her anti-heroine will be one you remember, long after the story ends.


9/10 – Evocative, original phrasing combined with super-tight writing.


8/10 – As much as I love the idea of him, there’s always a slight disconnect for me with him until the very end.


9/10 – Loved her so much I kept going back to re-read some of the scenes from her POV.

Entertainment value

8/10 – The first half was amazing, but the second half faltered a little for me as the world exploded but the story itself narrowed to the end.

World building

9/10 – A fascinating glimpse into a captivating future, though there’s almost too much of it to be contained at this length.




Ann Aguirre said...

Bettie is brilliant. Her writing is some of the sharpest, freshest I've been privileged to read. She gives shivers like Tanith Lee, but she has a rapier light touch to go along with it.

Book Utopia Mom said...

I'm dying to see something longer by Bettie. I think the only thing that got in the way of this particular story is too much story for the length.

Most definitely somebody to watch.

bettie said...

Thank you for the review :D