This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Sci-Fi Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on October 30, 2018
After devouring the previous two entries in this series, I was salivating for the latest sci-fi adventure into this exciting, colorful, and intriguing future world in the distant stars the author created. If you want it to make some sense scientifically while keeping the wonder of the inexplicable beside an action, suspense, and romance blend that will keep you turning pages, here you go.
Minder Rising is a standalone story connected to a series through the world of the Central Galactic Concordance. It shifts focus to a new setting and new characters, but just as much danger, suspense, future fun, developed characters, and slow-burn romance as the previous two (I say two because there is a prequel that is worth the read).
Lieren Song works for the Citizen Protection Service which is an organization to protect the people with mind or Minder powers from being in danger, but also protect null humans from the dangers of Minders gone bad. He is part of secret mission unit who track down the really bad ones. He has two Minder powers that he can employ in his work.
Unfortunately, he is put on light duty and office work while he recovers from a mission gone bad when his partner died and he nearly did. While he is recovering, he encounters single mom and bartender, Imara Sesay and her twelve year old boy who has strong Minder gifts. He spends time with regular people for the first time since he was sent away to train his Minder gifts for service and realizes his life is missing quite a bit.
But then he starts to realize that someone is disposing of everyone in his unit for an unknown reason even while he gets suspicious of the testing the CPS is doing on children to determine their Minder gifts, the strengths, and who gets placed. He has always been loyal to the system, but now sees that things aren’t adding up particularly when Imara’s son is on the verge of being tested and someone keeps trying to kill Lieren. Imara doesn’t want to get involved with Lieren no matter how wonderful he is because he is not sticking around and she has to think of her son.
Another brilliant entry in the series. The plot is layered and well paced, exciting, but also develops well. The characters are, again, what drives the story most for me. They are involved in the action, but also progress through growth internally.
Lieren is an interesting hero. He’s one of those little seen beta heroes. Sure, he’s part of a special policing force who go after the big bads, but he’s an interrogator who is brought in after the capture not a soldier. He’s a rule follower and does his duty to the best of his ability. His loyalty to his team and his purpose are his whole life until the HALO jump fall that nearly kills him and brings him to the point of change. He’s gentle, kind, polite, and self-effacing to a fault. He doesn’t have to be in charge and, in fact, doesn’t want to be. He is not threatened by Imara. He respects her quick analytical mind and planning ability and follows her lead several times without it being a difficulty. I loved that he didn’t change in personality even as he worked through a crisis of conscience and fought for his life and those he cared about a few times. He has honor and integrity which gets used against him at times, but Imara and Darrit and his new circle of friends he is forming see this as strengths.
Imara is a great counterpart for Lieren. When she was married, she let her husband lead and trusted him to make the decisions and provide. She learned to step up when he was gone for her son and herself. She never wants to go back to that helpless and passive woman she was again. She works two jobs that require her to be tough and decisive and now fears her son’s strong Minder talent when she is a low level Minder. She has strict rules about not getting involved with someone who can’t commit to the long haul so tries to keep the attractive Lieren in the friend category. He is tough to keep there the way he warms her heart by being good to her son and herself.
There is a mystery and also a political intrigue element like the earlier ones. These drive the action to a pulse-pounding big scene and some good twists. Even though this is a standalone story, I could see how it fit perfectly with the other stories like they are all pieces of the same puzzle and each adds to the overall picture.
Nicole Poole’s narration work is excellent as usual. She wowed me with not just all her voices including gender, but the woman had to add in accents from Indian to Scottish and more than one Asian language with some phrases. She didn’t miss a beat. And, her grasp of tone and pace was spot on. I can’t imagine enjoying this series without her telling me the stories.
In summary, this was another abso-fab entry in the series leaving me thirsty for more. Having sci-fi and suspense mashed with romance is the best blend ever and I highly recommend these.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
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