Friday, February 18, 2011

Taken to the Limit by Nico Rosso

TITLE: Taken to the Limit
AUTHOR: Nico Rosso
PUBLISHER: Liquid Silver Books
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 35k)
GENRE: Sci-fi romance
COST: $5.50

Dr. Korina Antonakis is on shift in the ER when a fire erupts. While everybody else runs, she rushes forward to fight it, only to be confronted by two men who appear out of nowhere. Sergeant Morrow demands she give the man with him medical attention, but before she can do much, they are attacked. Morrow and Korina barely escape with their lives. He tells her they are Dusk Warriors, bent on taking over the planet and destroying it, just like they’ve destroyed so many others before Earth. Morrow is a Nightfighter, an elite group of soldiers pledged to destroy the Dusk in the Limit War, and Korina is like no other woman he’s met before…

I’m always curious to read romances written by men, to see if they approach it differently or to appreciate a different style. While this one didn’t work for me, I would bet with a better editor and no romance, this author would be more my cup of tea.

The story begins in the ER, with Dr. Korina Antonakis working with an attentive intern. Someone screams, “Fire!” and everybody scatters. Everybody, that is, but Korina, who rushes to put it out. She’s confronted by two men who appear out of nowhere, both huge and covered in body armor. One is clearly wounded, and when his partner demands she treat him, she complies. Her ministrations are short-lived, however, when they are attacked. Morrow, the unhurt soldier, protects Korina while he and his partner work to stave off the aliens. Their ultimate escape means his partner’s sacrifice, and Korina finds herself in the middle of an intergalactic war, with creatures called the Dusk Warriors attempting to take over Earth for their own consumption. Morrow is part of an elite force called the Nightfighters who are attempting to stop them. Now, he’s added Korina to the list of who/what he is fighting for.

The world-building and bare bones of the plot are by far its strongest aspects. The tech is detailed well without ever being heavy-handed, and the construction of the aliens and their motivations – while hardly innovative – interesting enough to give the world depth and the action momentum. If this was just a sci-fi story, it would probably work much better, but unfortunately, it’s held back by an instant love/psychic connection between Korina and Morrow that never feels organic, and is in fact so rushed that I wondered if I’d missed parts of the book.

None of this is helped by the fact that the book needed stronger editing. Problems start early on, with loose POV – it’s not headhopping, but there are numerous times where perspective becomes loose enough that the other character’s motivations/thoughts get detailed within the prose – and verb tense issues. Occasional instances of present tense that don’t flow within the construct of the story feel like an attempt to gain immediacy to the action, and it really doesn’t need it. The author’s terse style – very short sentences stacked on top of each other – does that already. Spelling mistakes abound, too. For instance, I’m sure the author meant Morrow had looked at aerial photographs, not arial photographs. Some readers won’t notice these mistakes, but for me, they’re a problem as they stick out from the text as I’m reading. It breaks my flow and concentration, and makes it harder to get back into it.

In this case, there were just too many for that to happen after the fourth chapter. I finished the last half of the book very detached from what was going on. And when I’m reading a romance, detached is the last thing I want to be.


6/10 – Editorial problems and too much of a terse style pulled this down


6/10 – Strong and devoted


7/10 – Surprisingly strong and independent

Entertainment value

4/10 – While I really liked the potential of the plot, the instant love and editorial issues pulled me out of the story

World building

8/10 – By far the strongest aspect of the book



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