"Mercury’s War," Lora Leigh

Pros: Interesting world, plot, and characters
Cons: For a somewhat limited audience
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group.

 

Since I’m writing reviews today as part of my catch-up-on-reading effort with Dewey’s readathon [broken link removed] (see my pre-game post), I’ll keep things somewhat concise and, instead of describing the premise in my own words, quote the back cover text:

There’s trouble brewing at Sanctuary. Someone has been slipping secure information to a pharmaceutical company. Now it’s up to Ria Rodriquez to pose as a clerk and uncover the leak. And she has no idea of the danger she’s about to encounter.

Years ago, Mercury Warrant—who, according to his file, is one of the greatest Breeds ever created—thought he lost his mate, and he’s had to live with the idea that he’ll never know true bonding. Then he’s tapped to protect the mysterious Ria—and finds himself falling in love.

But Ria is a woman of many secrets, and she fears being consumed by her feelings for Mercury. Little does she know that she has every right to be afraid. Because the woman believed to be Mercury’s mate is back from the grave, and she’s not about to let Ria—or anyone else—get in her way…

Sadly I seem to have missed out on several books between the end of the three Feline Breeds books I originally read and this one. I did find the beginning of this one confusing for a while because of that; it isn’t an ideal standalone book, although if you don’t mind taking some time coming up to speed, I think you’ll eventually get caught up.

When I read the original three Feline Breeds books, the main problem I noted was that they were definitely romance/erotica books, and the paranormal/sci-fi aspects were absolutely secondary. It was a case of “don’t look at the man behind the curtain”—the whole genetic manipulation, mating thing was handled in a rather silly manner. But the sex was so hot, it didn’t tend to matter as long as that was what you were there for.

Now, however—while this is still the bio-thriller equivalent of space opera, which is to say that it’s what many like to call “science fantasy”—it’s handled in a much smoother manner, as a solid part of the enjoyable plot rather than as hand-wavy background to sex scenes. Leigh has obviously been learning, and learning well.

This type of book does have a somewhat limited audience; you need to be a fan of science fantasy, absolutely explicit erotica, romance, and, to be more precise, weird erotica/romance. After all, one of the partners isn’t exactly human. One thing I enjoyed about this book is that Leigh explores the boundaries between the physical mating process of her Breeds and the emotion of love. She delves into whether her characters have choices in what they do, and to what extent, and whether they only have one pre-destined mate. It’s definitely a step or two farther than most authors take this sort of plot, and I applaud it.

Finally, I really enjoyed the characters, particularly Ria. While I saw some “surprises” coming, others caught me off-guard, which I always enjoy. The tensions between Ria and Mercury make sense, and are absolutely wonderful to explore. On the whole, this is a fantastic continuation of the Feline Breeds series.

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