Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Agent Provocateur by Nathalie Gray

TITLE: Agent Provocateur
AUTHOR: Nathalie Gray
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 25k)
GENRE: Futuristic erotic romance
COST: $3.50

Stuck in a long-term prison sentence, Misborn Troy doesn’t expect to get out, until someone gives him an offer he can’t refuse. Mercury is tasked as his partner in an escapade that promises him parole, but their adventures – and attraction – are only starting to explode…

I’m not even going to try and summarize this story. Go read the blurb on the website for a better idea. Because honestly, things start happening so quickly and go off in such unexpected – and fun – directions, that almost anything I say would be a spoiler.

What I can tell you is this was a fantastic read on a whole lot of levels. Both leads are unapologetically arrogant and bitchy, toward each other, toward everybody else, but that’s because they both see themselves as separate from everybody else. They also have the skills to back up their arrogance, and the fact that neither makes horribly stupid mistakes gives them a lot of leeway for their attitudes in my book. In Mercury’s case, she so unequivocally claims her identity and needs that she becomes one of the best heroines I’ve read in a while. She’s smart, ruthless, and sasses with the best of them. I loved her to pieces.

Her chemistry with Troy is off the charts. Their sex scenes are explosive and feral, and it never feels gratuitous or cringeworthy. This same pacing is matched in the action scenes, and creates a frenzied, charged atmosphere that’s impossible to look away from. The leads careen from scene to scene, twisting the plot in a new direction each time. There’s no chance to take a breath, or relax from the incessant action.

The story’s biggest flaw is just how dense the world is. Though some detail is provided, the meaty explanations don’t come until late in the story, leaving questions in their wake. The exposition, too, isn’t always handled in the most deft ways. More than once, I felt mired in an information dump, as the author got out a few necessary details before sucking me into another action scene. Those slowed down my reading, and left a vague sense of unease undercoating my entire experience. As much as I really, really enjoyed this, it could have been more, and it’s the loss of that more that lowers my overall score.

Still, don’t let that stand in your way. If you like action-packed, gritty erotic stories, this one will be a standout.


9/10 – Dense and action-packed, it left me breathless


8/10 – An arrogant self-described asshole…and a breath of fresh air for being unapologetic about it.


9/10 – Ruthless and unabashedly on her own side, I loved that she remained strong when she could have been wimped out

Entertainment value

8/10 – Wonderful to read something packed with so much goodness

World building

8/10 – The dystopian society that gets presented has some great potential, but it doesn’t get explained in enough detail nor does it offer what it does very elegantly.



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