Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Book Review: Caught in Amber [2013]

I am a big fan of Cathy Pegau’s book Rulebreaker, which came out in 2011. I was very pleased when Cathy asked earlier this year if I would be interested in reading the next two books in the series--thankfully, she didn’t stop at just one! However, for some reason she refuses to send me the ones she hasn’t written yet...

Caught in Amber is the story of Nathan Sterling (the mining authority agent introduced in Rulebreaker) and Sasha James, the woman whose help he needs to rescue his sister from the clutches of a dangerous drug dealer. Sasha has recently been released from prison, where she was serving a sentence and recovering from her addiction to the drug known as amber. Once the lover of Guy Christiansen, the colony’s notorious amber dealer, Sasha is determined to stay clean and finish her parole as far away from him as possible.

Nathan has other ideas, however. His sister Kylie has disappeared into Christiansen’s compound and he fears that her fate will be the same as Sasha’s--or worse. He has reason to suspect that Christiansen still harbors feelings for Sasha, and wants her assistance getting into the dealer’s compound. In exchange, he promises her freedom from the system and the regulatory chip implanted in her neck. Unfortunately, he’s working alone and not authorized to promise Sasha anything, especially when it’s not clear whether either of them will make it out of their encounters with Christiansen alive.

Growing attraction and sympathy between Nathan and Sasha complicate things further as Sasha risks her recovery and her life in order to befriend Kylie and help Nathan under the eyes of Christiansen and the enigmatic Genevieve Caine, his lieutenant. But will she be able to resist the lure of amber when she’s back where it all began?

Grade: A

My favorite part of these books is the carefully constructed world that Cathy has imagined, which includes meticulous details of religion, food, culture, mining(!), and climate. The setting is a consistent background character that is carried through all of what I have read so far. The books have an appealing blend of science fiction, romance, and thriller--with a dash of mystery--and Caught in Amber is no exception. Cathy also gets points from me for naming one of her secondary characters Mickelson, even if she did use an “-on”...

I can feel a little nervous when I am asked to look at the work of someone I know, because although I am an easy grader, I do try to review things honestly. However, I wasn’t worried about reviewing Cathy’s work, and I liked Caught in Amber enough to buy myself a copy, even though I’ve already read the book. I want to be able to re-read the whole (hopefully long) series when the time comes!

ETA: My review of the next book in the series, Deep Deception, is now up at the Lesbrary.

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SonomaLass said...

I have this book and have been hoarding it for when I need it. It's one of those books that I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy, but I have to be in right place in my head to read action/suspense stuff. Characters in believable danger (as opposed to most historical romance "danger") is hard for me sometimes.

Glad you liked it, and thanks for reminding me that I still have it to look forward to.

Helgagrace said...

Well, now there are two that you can hoard! Review of the third in the series here: