Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Embracing Silence by N.J. Walters

TITLE: Embracing Silence
AUTHOR: N.J. Walters
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 40k)
GENRE: Futuristic sci-fi erotic romance
COST: $5.20

The Alpha Project has evolved to the point where genetically and computer enhanced humans bred as soldiers are no longer good enough. The last two Alphas have escaped termination, and now find themselves outside the Gate, trying to survive. Tienan’s only goal is to try and destroy the men who created him, but when he crosses paths with Silence, a tracker in the Resistance, he finds himself distracted from his mission for the first time in his existence…

I absolutely adore N.J. Walters. I find a lot of her stories completely addictive, even if they’re mostly brain candy. However, I’m slowly learning that I much prefer her contemporary work to anything else. This futuristic typifies a lot of what I have problems with in her non-contemporary material, and ultimately, becomes just a mild diversion rather than the grab-me-by-the-throat-and-other-body-parts I like to get from her.

The biggest flaw in the story is the length, frankly. The author has an incredible imagination, and comes up with other worlds that beg for a lot of detail and depth. While this starts to hint at some of what the world can offer, far too much time is spent on Tienan and Silence realizing how attracted they are too each other and having sex. Yes, I know it’s an Ellora’s Cave book. Yes, I know they view the erotic romance as about the sex with little regard to actual believability in the romance a good part of the time. But there’s only so much, “I love you because I just do,” romance I can take, and unfortunately, this falls into that trap. The sex is hot enough, I guess, but because of all the depth to the world and all the danger the two leads are constantly in, it actually gets in the way of any kind of satisfying story being told. I needed to have more told about Silence’s relationship with the man who saved her as a child, and I needed a lot more about Tienan’s life before the book started. This one is the first in a series about the Alphas, but the second book looks to be about the same length, and honestly, I don’t think it’s going to do a better job at explaining anything since it focuses on the Alpha that escaped with Tienan, rather than the other Alpha introduced in this novella.

For some reason, the mild headhopping that goes on in this bothered me more than it usually does, too. I’m guessing it’s because I was annoyed at the lack of background and other action. It distanced me from the story to make it easier to find the flaws. It got to the point toward the end where I just wanted to skim over the sex scenes and find the story. I think for now, I just have to stick with her contemporaries. She doesn’t seem to have the same issues in those, and I can enjoy them for the escapism they are.


8/10 – Sexy and swift, but with mild headhopping


6/10 – The promise of an alpha comes through, but not much more


6/10 – Resourceful but left a lot of questions unanswered

Entertainment value

6/10 – Diversionary, but the world/characters demanded more to the story than it got

World building

7/10 – So much potential, but I was left with far too many questions to make it truly pleasurable



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