word count: about 85 000
rating: I love the series, but this book deserves 2 stars (for one reason only, but don't run away, this series is totally worth it)
I've decided to re-read the series. Yes, a series that has like 50 books in it. That's how fun it is. So now I have some explaining to do regarding the rating.
the story itself & writing - easily 4 stars
romance (in this particular installment) - 2 stars (Way too much, way too soon)
*fun factor of getting emotionally attached to the characters and stuff - 5 stars
Now, if you want more detail, here they come. (*review of the series as a whole and of this part)
This series contains a serious amount of action. A lot is going on, and romance is never the main focus. It happens, as it in my humble opinion should, on the sidelines. Just like in real life.
The action itself is great. Who doesn't love reading about a cop solving crimes? A kick-ass cop with a sharp wit? Well, I do. And I appreciate the whole series, and this book, immensely.
Nora Roberts sure can write. Here, she showed not only her capacity to tackle different types of stories, she managed to combine crime, mystery, romance, a bit of erotica and all that set in the future! Everything combined so effortlessly the shear awesomeness of the act caught me unaware. To think I picked this book up by chance. Damn it! I could've missed one of my favourite series!
Writing itself is a marvel. It's not poetic, don't get me wrong, but it's impressive. It's competent, the vocabulary is extensive enough for me to pick up a new word once in a while, but not so complex I have to be joined at the hip with a dictionary. After all those crappy YA, PR and the 50 shades fallout, reading a book with such competent writing is a joy. But it's more than that. It sucks you in. The writing does it's job, it doesn't distract you by being either crude or extravagant. It flows effortlessly carrying you through the story.
And the story? Boy, no boring set-up, no annoying expositions, no in-your-face world-building. The story kicks off from sentence one and doesn't slow down to shove necessary info down your throat. Things happen and you're left to figure stuff out by observing the environment. I mean, it's set in the future, and yet characters don't stop to give you history lessons. They mention the name of some event in passing, as if it was the most obvious fact, and you're left to piece things together. Over time - it's not just doable, it's exciting. You get just enough of everything.
Why is it so important? Because when you don't care about the world and characters you don't want to hear all the boring stuff. And certainly not all in one go! You simply don't give a flying fuck. And Nora Roberts gets it. In next books more info will come, sure, but it's never an obligatory annoyance you have to suffer as a matter of course. Brilliant. The world-building is brilliant.
And character-building/ development/ introduction are done in very much a similar manner. No need to flood a reader with a torrent of boringly served details, better have him begging for every single drop of information later. Over the course of books we get to love and know characters, but it's a natural progression. I can't even begin to tell you how much I care about them all. Because of all the conversations, all the events, I grew to love them. Do I even have to tell you there's a lot of showing, and no telling? Yes, we get characters that are consistent, distinct, and convey their personalities through words and actions. Could we want more?
Yes, we could. And more we do get indeed! I love the crimes, I love the investigations, I love the inner workings of the NY police. Those books are really nice action.
But that's not all. Sex - my, oh my, keep on reading, because when Ms Roberts decides to write an erotic scene it sure as hell deserves attention. Women knows what she's doing. It's not hard-core BDSM porn. It doesn't dominate the books. Sometimes there's little detail, sometimes more, sometimes the focus is on emotions and thoughts. But it's always a satisfying part of a story, never a tasteless sex for sake of putting porn into your book. And she's done it before it was cool (or rather before it spread like a plague - 50 shades, I'm looking at you). The progression and development of the relationship is a joy to follow.
POV - we're following thoughts and actions of Eve Dallas, an NYPD detective.
From time to time Roberts will introduce a paragraph in a point of view of Roark, but it's not disturbing, and certainly much better than diverting the attention from Eve for a whole chapter would be. We get into his head, but only as brief visitors. And that's enough. Just read it, you'll see.
So where's my problem?(contains minor spoilers, but seriously, the genre is 'romance' among other things, so if I tell you that two people get together it's hardly a spoiler)
I guess that Ms Roberts had no idea the series would turn out to be such a success, so she pretty much wrapped it up in book 1. The love happens way too fast, way too soon. It should have time to grow over a course of a few books, instead they get together almost at Twilight speed (like after 3 conversations or so). I have no problems with sex and sexual attraction, but love? Roark's feelings have no basis. Fascination? Yes. Desire? Sure. Curiosity? No problem. All of those I accept. But too serious too soon never works for me.
Don't get me wrong. I love their relationship (in general), and in later books I sort of came to accept it, but the way it started? Rubs me the wrong way. It's so at odds with how excellent this book is, I'm baffled. It's not horrible by any stretch of imagination. It takes a small part of the book, but with how good everything else was it gets on my nerves.
5 stars is a general rating I'd give this series. Not an objective one, a personal one. It has pretty much everything I could want. Drama, romance, sex, crime, mystery, action, dark past, wit, fun characters (except for Mavis, I can't stand the type, but it works)... If it floats your boat you'll have a lot of fun. If it's not the type of a book you like, move along, but I'd still advise you to give this one a try before abandoning an idea.