Unacceptable Risk opens with a kind of electronic poetry that is reminiscent of William Gibson's Neuromancer. I do not make that comparison lightly. Jeanette Grey grounds this story in a tangle dystopian future world where every aspect of life, even people's bodies, are saturated with technology. Unlike a lot of other sci fi writers Grey allows the reader to full comprehend this futuristic world and new human experience without bogging us down with buckets loads of exposition. Instead she skillful integrates technological terminology into the descriptions of how Plix experiences stimuli in her world and even in her own body. It is subtle, but incredibly effective at quickly immersing the reader into this world without causing a lot of confusion or slowing the pace of the story.
Despite the futuristic setting the heart of this story is the relationship between Plix and Edison. We see this in the very opening of the book, when Plix is at her very worst the first person she goes to is Edison, seeking his help and comfort. In her near unconscious state we get glimpses of Edison's own very telling behavior, in his tenderness while caring for her wounds and frustration with her blind commitment to her mission.
One of the things I love about this story is it takes popular fiction cliches and turns them one their ear. Here we see a gender reversal that is both refreshing and expertly crafted into something entirely new. Plix is the driven hero(ine,) haunted by personal tragedy, on a secret mission to expose a dark conspiracy. Edison is the introverted tech who nurses her back to health and pleads with her to stop her self-destructive mission. In most mainstream sci fi, noir stories these roles would be reversed and theses characters wouldn't be half as developed as they are here.
Edison is a compelling in his quiet strength, and determination to keep the woman he loves alive even as she chased her own death. His vulnerability (that is far from weakness) grounds this story in very real emotions. Even though Edison is in what would stereotypically be a woman's role (Moneypenny anyone?) he is anything but feminine.
In the same right, Plix has been set into a role typically inhabited by men, but never once does the reader forget that she is a woman. Her pain over her past and her struggle to compartmentalize her emotions in order to protect herself and Edison is endearing and heartbreaking to read. She is intelligent, strong, stubborn and extremely endearing in her desperation to do what is right, while protecting Edison.
How very refreshing to see a strong female character that isn't a bitchy cliche or a male character in disguise. THIS is how you write a female protagonist, like a fully fleshed out human being. I wish we had more wonderfully detailed female characters like this in every genre of fiction.
I'm going to be honest, I fell deeply in love with both of these characters, and this story. It kept my heart racing, made her giggle and gasp out loud. I was scared for them and cheering them on every step of the way.
While, it was sad to see the story come to an end, it was a satisfying and believable ending. I won't be sad for too long, since I'm sure to reread this book again and again.
I highly recommend this for both readers of science fiction and romance. You get fantastic book or an incredibly reasonable price ($2.66 on Amazon). It is worth every penny and then some.
I would also encourage any reluctant male readers to give this story a chance. It has all the same language and atmosphere of a traditional sci fic novel, AND it features a tech-geek as a romantic lead. Really, geeky guys should be hoisting Jeanette Grey on their shoulders and celebrating her portrayal of a sexy, compassionate, techno-savvy guy.