Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
Raina Bowen is a survivor. In the aftermath of a World War that decimated the population and left the northern realm a frozen wasteland, Raina makes her living as a truck driver delivering supplies to the northern population. Her latest trip has her competing against the maddest, baddest, toughest lot of fellow truckers a girl can meet - the Janson crew - in a competition to be the first to cross the finish line with their truckload of goods. Raina desperately needs the winnings she'd earn to protect her young sister she just recently discovered existed from a fate like Raina's own past. Additionally she wants desperately to take down the man responsible for her brutal past... Duncan Bane, the most powerful business man in the world and personal advisor to the President. But she needs the help of mystery man Wizard to succeed. Unfortunately she may have put her trust in the wrong guy...
Now Raina finds herself bailing Wizard out of a truckers' brawl where the odds are stacked against him. Then she discovers that the one job she needs from him he failed at miserably. Don't forget that pesky attraction to her mystery man that has her wishing to engage in a few more exciting ways to warm up a cold night in a frozen wasteland. Through Wizard's blundered attempt to get Raina the document she needed to win the race and her own unfortunate luck to have an enemy like Bane, they are being chased by the entire Janson crew... and a band of ice pirates who want the goods Raina is carrying. Wizard is anything but what Raina needs... or is he?
Wow! What a ride you'll find in Driven by Eve Kenin! Already a fan of Eve through her Gothic romances written under the name Eve Silver, I was quite excited about the opportunity to see what kind of story she could provide in a post-apocalyptic speculative fiction romance. I was most definitely not disappointed! All of the trademarks I've come to expect from her writing, under any name, were in evidence here. Action is unstoppable, the romance is hot enough to melt the entire Northern Waste, and the suspense of events unfolding made me unable to put Driven down!
Raina has had a rough life, rougher than most women could even dream about. But rather than let circumstances beat her into submission, Raina uses them to make her stronger and braver, determined to never be so helpless again. The more we learn about her past, the more remarkable of a woman she becomes. As past secrets of which even Raina had no idea about come unraveled, spilling their truths, I was totally awed by Raina's spirit.
Wizard is quite the enigma and makes what seems to be an odd choice for a male protagonist. After all how could someone who, as Raina puts it "didn't have much in the way of gray matter" be a very impressive hero? It's hard to put a finger on just who he is until he begins to tell his own story. Well appearances, and sometimes behavior, can be deceiving as we discover where Wizard is concerned. As little bits and pieces of his history and personality are revealed, Raina's opinion of him grows, and in turn, ours.
One might think that two people so steeped in history and the resulting baggage could never find there way out of the dark. However, Eve Kenin shows her remarkable talent for character development by giving us two such strong and memorable players. I was cheering them on from the moment I met Raina in all her glory at the truck stop in the very first paragraph and later Wizard when he shows up after having made enemies of just about every person you don't want to tick off. What could have been a dark story if the back story is anything to go on, was kept from being overwhelming by the dry and sarcastic humor, and even a little slapstick comedy once or twice, tossed in to the mix.
Eve Kenin's star is on the rise, no matter what name she writes under, as is proven in Driven. And if this novel is any indication, the new Shomi line from Dorchester Publishing is going to be a huge hit with fans of romance and science fiction alike.
© Kelley A. Hartsell, August 2007. All rights reserved.