I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
In Nina Croft's envisioning of the year 3048, the Earth is no longer inhabited by humans, as they've fled it to live in outer space. They've found the key to immortality in a mineral called Meridian, but it's so expensive that only a few can afford it, thus leading to the creation of an elite, evolved ruling class of humanity: the Collective. But the Collective aren't loved by everyone, and when Skylar Rossaria asks vampire/intergalactic pirate Rico Sanchez to help her spring a prisoner from a max-security prison, he and his crew agree to help out, enticed by the promise of a luscious sum of money and, in Rico's case, the chance to get familiar with a beautiful and mysterious woman. But there's more to Skylar than meets the eye, and Rico finds that he's finally met his match.
I knew as soon as I read the description of this book in an email from Entangled Publishing that I had to read it. The plot is so original and it's my favorite kind of romance - the kind in which the romance is almost a subplot to something much more complex. I don't feel like my plot summary really does the book justice and on Nina Croft's website, she included a book trailer, so I've decided to embed it within my review for anyone who's interested to watch:
So, anyway, this book was so cool. Croft has created an awesome universe. She mixes a tiny degree of history (by way of Rico) with sci-fi to create the background for her Blood Hunter series - by the way, Break Out is its first installment. In addition to the Collective, there is a church that offers a cheaper version of immortality to those who can't afford Meridian - the promise of an afterlife, much like many of the religions that exist today. There is a really tumultuous political dynamic between the Collective, the Church, and the rebellion - the Collective and the Church don't really like each other, but they're willing to sort of ally against the rebellion, which is against both of them. We don't really see too much of the Church in this book, but I have a feeling that they'll play a role later on in the series.
This book did a really good job of setting the stage for later novels. I feel like Croft did a great job of completing Rico and Skylar's story - or at least, getting them conclusively together - while still creating openings for other books as well. There were plenty of plot twists, even up until the very end, and they kept me attentive and eager for more.
Rico and Skylar are perfectly matched. Rico is an insatiable womanizer, which is somewhat stereotypical for a vampire (thank God he's not a "vegetarian" like Edward Cullen of Twilight or Stefan on Vampire Diaries - while they're both likeable in their own ways, I think that particular plot mechanism has been used enough for the time being). Skylar is a kick-butt no-nonsense soldier - she can defend herself and she is so not looking for love. Being a romance, it's only natural that they should fall for one another. However, Croft pulled off this predictable plot development with style, without letting it become cliche or boring. To add to this, there are some pretty racy scenes between Rico and Skylar, but none of them come across as random - they all seem to occur naturally in the story, rather than simply occurring because the author wanted to include a sex scene.
Croft also created many likeable and developed secondary characters - a rarity in romance novels, in my opinion. I would be very interested in reading more about their stories and after finishing Break Out I think that Croft is going to explore some of them in later books. Most intriguing to me was Al, especially after finishing the book.
I definitely enjoyed reading Break Out and I'm so grateful to Entangled Publishing for sending it my way! I intend to read the rest of the series as soon as I get the chance and I can't wait to find out what happens next. If you're a fan of romance, especially of the supernatural/sci-fi variety, and you're looking for something with an original plot, I think you'll find what you're looking for in this book. I definitely recommend giving it a try!
Disclaimer: I received an advance review copy of this book from Entangled Publishing, but in no way did this influence my review.