Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jaq's Harp by Ella Drake

Title: Jaq's Harp
Author: Ella Drake
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Rating: 4 stars
Rater: Pippa

Plot summary:
In a world of floating islands and bio-engineered beans, the bad guys are taken down by agents of the Mother organization—agents like Jacqueline "Jaq" Robinson. Instead of accepting her next routine assignment, she sets out on a mission of her own—to destroy Giant Corp, the company responsible for her sister's wasting illness. Jaq must steal her cure from Giant's headquarters high above the city...even though she'll be brought face-to-face with Harper English, the man who left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

For Harp, Jaq had been a distraction the mercenary thought he couldn't afford. But once he sees her again, Harp knows he's made a mistake. Even though she vowed he won't have her again, it's clear they still have a powerful attraction. Harp's determined to get a second chance with Jaq—if they can escape Giant Corp and get back to solid ground in one piece...

The good: I loved the play on Jack and the Beanstalk with a good dose of a dystopian world, advanced technologies and the contrasting privileged lifestyles of those in the floating cities. There's a real sense of the desperation of the landers. My heart ached throughout for Jaq, and I was desperate for her to get her HEA. I wanted this book to be longer so I could enjoy more of the world building and great descriptions throughout.

The bad: I felt there was too much back story crammed in between the dialogue at the start of the story, which slowed things down and made it harder to get into. I also couldn't understand Harper's initial reaction to Jaq. Considering these are both supposed to be professionals in a high-risk job, and both in very real and serious dangers with more than their own lives at stake, he just came across as a complete jerk in his behaviour. However I did warm back to him later. The ending also didn't quite do it for me although I can't quite pin down why.

In sum: I would read this one again, and look for other works by the same author. A good novella for fans of science fiction romance, and recommended for those who may not have read the genre before and want a taster.

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