Break Out (Blood Hunter #1)
Author: Nina Croft
Date of Publication: December 30, 2013
The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.
Two-thousand-year-old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous–or so fun!
And once again, Ms. Awesome Croft has knocked the story out of the park. I swear there is not a single bad book written by her. This one is a future space-set paranormal romance. I mean, you got vampires in space…and immortal humans! Wowser!
Okay, enough raving. Skylar is a woman on a mission – she’s been sent by the Collective to break a prisoner out of the highest-security prison (though she doesn’t know why the Collective wants to set him free, given said prisoner was responsible for killing the head of the Collective). The best candidate for the job is a space-pirate crew headed by Rico on a ship that (when the name is translated) is called Blood Hunter (apropos for a ship run by a vampire, yes?). She intends to use him/his ship by posing as a normal human (hiding all traces that she’s an immortal member of the Collective) and claiming that the prisoner is her brother that she wants to rescue.
Rico knows from the get-go that there’s more to Skylar than she admits, but he’s not certain what (though later on it’s made clear he had a pretty good idea she was Collective early in their relationship). But given the money she’s offering, he can’t turn the job down.
The crew goes through all sorts of ordeals trying to rescue the prisoner before he’s shipped off to the mines that supply the expensive mineral that makes people (for a price) immortal (and poisons the miners in the process, with them dying hideous deaths within two years on the planet). There’s a constant sense of danger and risk to all the parties involved, and I loved watching Skylar war with herself on who she wants to side with/return to after her mission is complete.
I liked Rico and his perspective, given he’s over 2000 years old (so has lived on earth, while none of the others have). I loved how he was at war with himself over being tempted to try to use his gifts, needing to feed, and all of that.
There was a great cast of secondary characters as well. And let’s just say the ending, when they finally make their run on the prison planet, it was spectacular as only Ms. Croft can pull off and do believably. It opened the door wide for the second book in the series (which I purchased like 6 seconds after finishing Break Out, and am now miserably impatient as I wait for #3 to be released later this year). I like the overall series arc, which deals with the Meridian compound. Each book is clearly building on details dropped in the prior ones, although each book does stand alone.
In short, get this book. Get its sequel. Get the next one when it comes out. ‘Nuff said!
Book provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review!