Two childhood crushes reunite in a dystopian-esque Texas after one kills the other’s husband.
In 2042, Angela Neko and Kellen Hockley meet at a prestigious institute for young prodigies. Seventeen years later they meet again as Kellen confesses that he’s the one responsible for the death of Angela’s husband. In the years they’ve spent apart, Angela has become a jaded and conniving senator, hoping to push her mentor’s agenda in order to get him “reelected to the continental presidency.” Meanwhile, Kellen has taken up the life of an outlaw treasure hunter, a profession that leads to the accidental death of Angela’s secretly estranged husband. She’s not particularly upset about the loss, but her time in the political spotlight requires her to play the part of a grieving wife. Kellen’s reappearance in her life is a temptation that could jeopardize her social standing as well as her career. Both Kellen and Angela are fascinating characters. Angela shirks the romance stereotype of an innocent, virginal heroine, and sometimes it’s genuinely hard to like her. She’s a bit of a shark, out for blood and power. Though Kellen adopts a roguish lifestyle, he does his best to hide his superior intelligence and the time he spent at the Mustaqbal Institute of Science and Technology. But while the characters are well-crafted and the romance balances plenty of action, the book’s momentum frequently stutters due to many unexplained and confusing details. Despite the near-future setting, how the world operates and what certain pieces of technology do is never spelled out. What is a “psych-emitter”? How can an AI “jailbreak” into Kellen’s mind? The questions vastly outnumber the answers.
The unfamiliar terms and lack of established worldbuilding rules turn an otherwise exciting sci-fi romance into a slog.