The Rule of Luck / Catherine Cerveny
New York: Orbit, 2017, c2016.
I saw this book on the new arrivals shelf at work and was intrigued. It looked like an unusual science fictiony read, set in 2950, by which time much of the Earth has been covered in water & there are settlements on Mars and Venus for people to try to get to. One of the important surviving cities is Nairobi; this is where we find our main character, Felicia Sevigny.
Felicia is a tarot reader, still a career in this future world. She works in a little shop with two others, but on this particular day is heading out for an appointment to try to get her fertility ban lifted -- when in walks a tall, dark & handsome stranger. Very handsome -- so much so that she's sure he's had every genetic mod possible.
This is the world they live in; technology is everywhere. Most people are linked into the net biologically, able to scan info immediately about everyone they meet. Felicia, however, comes from a family who is opposed to this kind of intrusive tech, so she's an anomaly, someone who can't be so easily traced. And that's one reason why this powerful stranger has tracked her down.
The stranger is Alexei Petriv, one of the leaders of a Russian crime syndicate who wants nothing more than to overthrow One Government and take its place. They have good reasons to get Felicia involved in their quest, and her instant attraction to Alexei makes this easier.
But this is where the book falls down for me. Perhaps it's just the timing, but having a secret syndicate of Russians trying to take over the world government seems a little awkward as a plot device right now.
And while I assumed from the design of this book and the cover blurb that I was going to be reading a futuristic thriller with a bit of romance, it is very much in the style of an urban fantasy/paranormal romance with a touch of thriller. The sex lasts for pages, is lavishly described and occurs with great frequency. Not that I don't like reading romances, but I prefer to pick them up on purpose, when I'm intending to do so.
There are some fun parts to this book; it starts out really strong with a good hook. But too much time wasted on the relationship between Alexei and Felicia for me -- the plot is forgotten while they explore one another. The intriguing bits -- the setting, the tarot element -- get a bit lost. I'll most likely still read the second book when I can get it, as I'd like to see what happens next once Felicia heads off world. If you are looking for a steamy romance with a futuristic setting, this is a good bet. On my 3 Chilis heat scale, this one reads a definite 2.5.