Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆
Date Read: August 14 to 15, 2016
Liked it. Interesting world/universe, interesting factions, interesting back stories, interesting power dynamics. Looking forward to reading more of this world/universe and hoping there’s more in the work.
This is a light futuristic sci-fi novella that feels otherworldly, yet familiar somehow.
Some time in the distant future, corporations run by wealthy families will dominate a whole planet–think of it as each family is its own country–and there will be no governing bodies to keep them in check, though what does keep them in check are the other families, their holdings and vast array of weapons and assassins. It’s like an arms race, but between the families.
Meli Galdes is from a middling family with some important corporate ties, but not enough and they’re on the brink of bankruptcy. She has known her whole life that she would have to marry Celino Carvanna to secure their families’ alliance and help move her family up the social ladder. But when he breaks off their engagement abruptly, he not only severs those ties, but he also ruins her whole life. Because the Carvannas are rich and powerful, no suitors, even ones actually interested in Meli, would want to cross the Carvannas, even though Celino Carvanna had already set her aside.
So what does she do? She leaves her family and train to be an assassin. Not just any assassin though. She becomes one of the best. And then she plots her revenge, slowly and meticulously. And then she sets the plot in motion all the while playing innocent.
I liked this story, especially this planet and its strange corporate-run culture. There’s something brutal and brutally honest about how the families off each other, all in the name of business and turning a profit, and no one bats an eye. Literally no one.
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* * * spoilers below * * *
I would have loved this story if only Meli carried out her revenge plot to the end. But of course the story doesn’t go down that path–it’s a romance after all. Huge missed opportunity, imo. What can I say? I like a good bloody end for characters that deserve it.
So yeah. I’m disappointed they didn’t kill each other.
There was so much history between them that needed airing out, and the only way to do that was a battle to the death. At the very least. I mean, all that build up and yet no blood? Not even a serious injury or permanent damage? I expected more of Meli. Someone with her talent and skill set should have put them to good use. At the very least I would have liked to see her follow through on the “assignment.”
The thing I can’t get past, even months later, is how she was literally raised to serve him and then he derailed her whole life, inadvertently ruining all chances and prospects for her, yet her way of getting back at him was to play a well thought out mind game that ultimately did NOT end in his defeat and/or death? All that suffering she went through was for naught, you see. I’m very disappointed, Meli.
Then again, I suppose a successful assassination wouldn’t sit well with the Ilona Andrews’ fanbase/intended audience, what with this book being billed as a romance and all. The death and/or serious maiming of the leading man would have been too traumatic…for the reader.