Title: Break Out
Author: Nina Croft
Genre: Science Fiction / Paranormal Romance
Series: Blood Hunter Series (Book 1)
Publication Date: August 14, 2012
Format: Paperback, 400 Pages
ISBN-10: 1620612275 (Entangled)
ISBN-13: 978-1620612279 (Entangled)
Reviewed by: Sheila
The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality-Meridian. Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.Two-thousand-year-old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous-or so fun.
Quick & Dirty: Paranormal Romance meets Science Fiction in this adrenaline-laced take on a crew of smugglers taking on a seemingly suicidal mission for an obsene amount of money.
Opening Sentence: Rico hurled himself behind the huge trunk of a tree and stood, back pressed against the rough bark, as the missiles whizzed past.
Visions of stars and worlds beyond our imagination are part of the appeal of the science fiction genre. Now add in some unforgettable characters, including a vampire and genetically altered people, and you have this book. Break Out is part-Herbert’s Dune, part-Ice Pirates movie, and a dash of Kenyon’s League with a twist of lime. Basically, it’s complex, funny, and full of interstellar action.
In this reality, man has left Earth and travels the stars. There are several powerful factions at work throughout the Galaxy. The Collective, the group that Skylar is a part of, has developed and distributed a drug that gives immortality. There is also the Church, the Rebels, and all sorts of little players in between. The backgrounds of each sect are doled out sparingly, so the story itself isn’t overshadowed. In this book, there is more focus on the personal issues of the main characters rather than more political ones of each faction. The Croft also offers technical details of the ship, like the El Cazador de la Sangre, space ports, and planets without it droning on. I liked that the world information flows so seamlessly within the main storyline and not some person sprouting off stats to another character like some boring history lesson.
Skylar Ross is finally getting her first solo mission; break into an unbreakable prison and escape with one of the convicts. To accomplish this seemingly impossible task, she goes undercover and enlists the “services” of a notorious band of space smugglers. But being away from everything that she has ever known, mainly the hive mind of the Collective, has left her more than a little vulnerable to her more baser emotions. It has also left her unprepared for the ferocious sensuality of the pilot, Rico. Skylar’s character is strong and capable of handling anything that comes her way, but has been left without the feeling of acceptance and belonging. Is the El Cazador de la Sangre, the Blood Hunter, a place where she can belong? Even with a crew of misfits and renegades with dark secrets of their own, can they accept Skylar and her “good guy” past?
Ricardo “Rico” Sanchez is a 2,000 year old vampire, give or take a few hundred years. His time is full of whisky, women, and blood and the occasional smuggling challenge that keeps his afterlife full of surprises. He does as he pleases, whenever he pleases. But nothing in Rico’s past experiences can prepare him for Skylar. She was just supposed to be a client, but everything about her calls to the primitive side within him. Rico’s character is more calculated craziness than meticulous planning; quite the opposite of Skylar’s rigid discipline and restrained nature. Though the sexual tension between the two could rival a supernova, what are the chances of two so very different people having a happily-ever-after?
Though the emphasis is in not in character development, Break Out does offer memorable characters. Each member of the crew aboard the El Cazador has secrets and histories that are hinted at throughout the book. Though we may not get to know them personally, the unity among the crew members is telling in itself. You get the sense that they can count on each other based on their current actions and not their pasts. When Skylar proves her loyalty by saving one of the them when she didn’t have to get involved, her acceptance in this exclusive club begins. I really enjoyed the byplay between everyone. Even when things were at their most tense and dangerous, the crew would still heckle and jab each other. The sense of family and comradery is one of the things that make this book a good read.
Overall, Break Out is fantastic. It has a nice flow to it that makes it an easier read than most others in the sci-fi genre. I can recommend this to readers that enjoy science fiction but don’t have the patience to muddle through all the foundation details that most books in this genre possess.
“Come on, Skylar, you know you want to play with me.” Rico’s tone was low and dark and ignited a fire deep inside her.
The flare of heat reminded her that he was dangerous— that she couldn’t trust herself around him and that she should get the hell out of there. Instead, she slowly sank into her chair. “What are we playing?”
He grinned. “Seven-card stud. A game I learned when I lived in the Wild West. Around a thousand years ago, give or take a couple of hundred.”
“I’ve read about the Wild West,” Daisy said, eyes wide. “Were you a cowboy?”
Amusement gleamed in his eyes. “I’m a vampire, honey, and there aren’t too many cows that need chasing at night.” He relaxed in his chair. “So this,” he said, picking up the box in front of him, “is a deck of cards.”
Blood Hunter Series:
1. Break Out
2. Deadly Pursuit (December 11, 2012)
3. Death Defying (April 9, 2013)
FTC Advisory: Entangled Publishing graciously provided me with a copy of Break Out. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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