In the year 2950, Romani tarot card reader Felicia Sevigny discovers she’s at the heart of a sinister plot to manipulate human genetics in Cerveny’s debut.
Hundreds of years in the future, mankind has survived floods, multiple world wars, and “Dark Times” to integrate computers into human bodies, sustain colonies on both Mars and Venus, and invent “Renew treatments," which dramatically slow aging. Felicia has a comfortable life reading tarot cards and is considering having a baby with her boyfriend, Roy. But for some reason, Shared Hope, the government program controlling reproduction, has blacklisted her from having a child, so she enlists the help of the mysterious Mr. Pennyworth to help her cheat the system. Just when it looks like Felicia has bitten off more than she can chew, Russian mob boss Alexei Petriv saves her and requests her tarot reading skills. But Felicia suspects there is more to Alexei than meets the eye (though what meets the eye is more than pleasing), and she soon learns that the same can be said of her own life. Cerveny’s world is noteworthy for its realistic balance. Her future, where everyone has access to age-halting technology but political turmoil still abounds, feels both familiar and intriguing. The romance is key to the plot, but it's leaned on too heavily. The narrative justifies the intense heat between Alexei and Felicia, but even if you take the misogynistic elements out of a Christian Grey–type fellow, slathering on the smolder doesn’t make up for a missing personality in your plucky heroine’s love interest.
A well-crafted world with a promising heroine, but hopefully the sequels will spend less time describing the love interest’s blue eyes.