Title: Sovran's Pawn (The Black Wing Chronicles #1)
Author: JC Cassels
Genre: Space opera
Available: Amazon $2.99 (Kindle) $8.99 (Paperback)
Rating: 5+ stars
Convicted of treason and sentenced to be executed, Bo Barron is the last person who should be infiltrating a Sub-socia weapons auction. But when her father is kidnapped and the ransom demand is the schematics to an experimental weapon, she has no choice but to go under cover with her uncle to get it.
Nobody counted on former-government-agent-turned-holofeature-hero Blade Devon’s infatuation with her. A botched assassination under the guise of a bar brawl leaves Bo blind and Blade wondering if there isn’t more to this job than he was led to believe.
Never able to resist playing the hero, Blade tends her injuries and delves deeper into the intrigue only to find this mission isn’t about a weapon at all. It’s about two Sovrans’ maneuvering for control, with Bo and Blade as their pawns.
All Bo and Blade have to do is figure out how to survive the game they didn’t know they were playing.
The catch is, no one and nothing are what they seem…
What I liked.
I loved the characters, even the secondary ones. Bo is a strong, capable woman without being so kick ass she simply becomes a caricature. She retains an edge of vulnerability, and definite femininity while remaining believable. She reminded me very much of Dejah Thoris from John Carter. By contrast, I expected to hate Blade, as I'm not a fan of alpha males in general. But his self confidence didn't stray into arrogance, and despite his notorious reputation, he's a man with a deep seated sense of honour. Maybe Captain Mal from Firefly but he doesn't try to make out he's not really a good person like Mal seemed to. Great story arc with a decent opening to further books with a bigger arc. Interesting settings and technology, though not heavy tech. A military edge with Bo's standing as leader of the Black Wing. Good romantic tension without any explicit scenes for those who prefer their romances without all the intimate details.
What I didn't like.
Absolutely nothing. If I have to pick something, the opening wasn't instantly grabbing to me, but since the action kicks then off very quickly I have no complaints.
This was a fantastic piece of space opera along the lines of Firefly/Farscape/original Battlestar Galactica. Flawless, entertaining, and with a solid, intriguing cast of three dimensional characters and thorough world building. This is one of my top reads for 2014, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series!