Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Breaking Chance by Kim Knox

TITLE: Breaking Chance
AUTHOR: Kim Knox
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 33k)
GENRE: Futuristic erotic romance
COST: $3.50

Thief Chance has been caught one too many times. No longer will she be sent to an ice prison for rehabilitation. Now, she’s been condemned to death, along with mass murderer John Ramius, known across the galaxy as The Butcher. They need each other to escape, but their goals beyond don’t necessarily mesh. It’ll take both of them to succeed, and both of them to break free of the bonds of their past…

I really like how this author writes action scenes. She’s got a natural sense of pace, and knows how to choreograph fights. But there’s a downside to having so much going on. It forces the romance to get shoehorned in, in any way possible.

The story starts with Chance facing judgment for her latest arrest. She’s been in and out of the system for years, a natural thief since her implant – something everybody under Jovian law has – is not under governmental control. In fact, she can use it to manipulate other tech, a skill that has proven valuable in her crimes. She’s sentenced after a mass murderer who has been given death, a man known as the Butcher, and finds out that they’re all being made an example of. She’s condemned to death, too. When they’re sequestered to await execution, she frees her hands, at which point John (the Butcher) realizes she has the tech savvy to get them free. They agree to team up to escape, since he has the physical augmentation to get past the guards. Once free, though, he has only one goal – to kill the outer governor.

The pace is relentless, much of what I’ve come to expect with this author. Both Chance and John are driven and highly motivated to save their own skin, and their initial attraction is both believable and understated. Even though it’s an entirely foreign world – Earth seems like some utopia to Chance, a far off place of freedom from the corruption and influence of the outer governor – I was able to follow along well enough to stick with the action. People are implanted with chips that allows the outer governor to completely control them, and only a few manage to escape that. Chance is one of them, and like most, has turned to a life of crime. She has the ability to use her implant to control tech around her, while John is physically augmented (with his own psychic powers) from Earth where it’s not outlawed. They make a formidable action team, complementing each other perfectly. While the story is allowed to focus on the action, it’s a very good one.

It flounders when it comes to the romance. Chance has nymphomaniac tendencies. She sees a pretty guy, she wants him regardless. John is no exception. It always felt like a shallow excuse to push them together, honestly, especially when John counters with his own compulsion – to satisfy whatever his partner needs. And as far as he can tell, Chance doesn’t need it hard and fast. She needs to be savored and controlled, so that’s what he provides. Though the sex was hot, I stopped believing it when Chance revealed she’d never had oral sex before. Her excuse, of course, is that it’s too intimate, but honestly, I just can’t believe that someone who’s had as much sex as she’s had, and has been distracted over and over again by a pretty face and a hard body, hasn’t had it at least once. Their relationship falters even more after that, as I’m expected to believe that within a matter of hours these hardened criminals fall head over heels for each other. I didn’t. There’s just too much other stuff going on for it to have room to develop.

I was really surprised when I realized how long this was. I’d initially thought it was much shorter, because it both read so swiftly and because I was so convinced it wasn’t long enough for the romance. I still don’t think it was, but this could have easily been twice as long without sacrificing the pace at all. Then, there might have been space for these two intriguing characters to have space to grow, and for their feelings to blossom. Sadly, that just wasn’t the case for me in the story I actually got.


8/10 – Reads incredibly fast, with a ton of action


6/10 – Though I love the idea of the psychopath and his compulsive needs, I wasn’t convinced by his growth or the ending


6/10 – Her sex compulsion is a shallow attempt to refocus her pain, but otherwise I liked her smarts and surprising empathy

Entertainment value

5/10 – I was really into the action a lot, but the attempt to shoehorn the romance in let the entire thing down

World building

8/10 – It could have used more clarification on how things worked, but there’s enough intriguing detail to fascinate me



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