February 27, 2012

Review: Water of Life

Water of Life
Rhys Astason
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction
Rating: 4

Dr. Gracen Ellison spends her days working in the MedBay of Camp Audie Murphy, but when she's not treating the wounds of her patients, she is pining over Master Chief Jackson Monroe. The federation's no fraternization policy keeps them both from  acting on their feelings for each other, but a devastating helicopter crash in the desert will change everything. Could humanity be having its first true close encounter with Gracen and Jackson right at the center of it all?

This charming debut e-novel from author Rhys Astason, offers readers an intriguing mix of genetics bending sci-fi and smoldering romance. Add to that a tablespoon of infectious, wry humor and you've got a truly enjoyable read. I had a lot of fun while reading Water of Life. The main characters are strong and likeable and the scientific roots of the plot set-up may surprise you. For a romance novel, Astason's first book presents readers with an intriguing core concept. I won't spoil it for you, but I think you will find there is a lot more sci-fi in this book than you would expect out of a book the author describes as "a romance with light sci-fi elements." The first half of the book unfolds quite nicely and had me reading straight through in one sitting.

As a heroine, Gracen is sharp, witty, and brave. In a crisis, she doesn't wait for a hero to come whisk her away and make everything alright. Gracen actually ends up saving her hero's ass several times throughout the book. With such a strong heroine, many romance novels would have trouble producing a hero who is man enough. That is not the case here. Jackson is CRAZY hot with all his scars and service tattoos. He manages to be authoritative and stoic without being condescending and chauvinistic.  And who doesn't love a sexy older man with the experience and body to make shiver and gasp? I call dibs! I officially claim him first for my book boyfriend harem!

The second half of the book, however, felt rushed and was less detailed leaving me confused. A lot is left unanswered and the "villain" isn't as well developed as I would have liked. I ended up not quite sure why he was doing what he was doing.I also would have liked to know more about the alien lifeforms that appear in the book. Again, no spoilers, so I will just say Astason only gets into their presence lightly leaving the reader very curious. There was so much unanswered actually that I emailed the author and inquired about a sequel. I was very excited to hear her reply:
"Yes to a sequel. I wrote it as the 'pilot' for a series. It was intended to be leave questions out there..."
So while the book is short and a lot is left to question, a sequel that is in the works promises to fill in the gaps. Overall, I would have liked to see this book longer and more fleshed out, but as a pilot for a sci-fi romance series, it is still a very fun read. I was not ready to let go of Gracen and Jackson just yet and it looks like I won't have to! I will be looking forward to the sequel to find out more about these amazingly strong, funny, and wonderful characters Astason has created.

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