Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hidden by Eve Kenin

An Advance Review

Tatiana has honed her genetic gifts to perfection. She can withstand the subzero temperatures of the Northern Waste, read somebody’s mind with the briefest touch, and slice through bone with her bare hands. Which makes her one badass chick, all right.

Nothing gets to her. Until she meets Tristan. Villain or ally, she can’t be sure. But one thing she does know: he has gifts too – including the ability to ramp up her heart rate to dangerous levels. But before they can start some chemistry of their own, they have to survive being trapped in an underground lab, hunted by a madman, and exposed to a plague that could destroy mankind.

I’d like to begin this review with a heartfelt Thanks to Eve Kenin, for her kindness and for wanting me to have this book.

This is the second story of the Northern Waste series (a name coined by me for easy reference to this series). You don’t need to read Driven first, but I strongly recommend that you do, for the simple reason it is a thrilling read.

For those who are new to this series, the time period is about eighty years into the future. All the countries of the world have been dissolved and replaced by four expanse of land – the Northern Waste, the Equatorial Band, Africa and the Southern Hemisphere – which are being controlled by four corrupt branches of government. Driven and this story take place in the Northern Waste.

This story introduces a new set of characters – from the hero, Tristan, to the villain, and the minor characters. The heroine, Tatiana, appeared in Driven briefly as a young girl. Wizard, Raina and Yuriko from Driven do not make an appearance here.

The book starts with a prologue – in the year 2088 – when Tatiana and her siblings, Wizard and Yuriko, were still at the mercy of Duncan Bane. I found Tatiana’s experiences somewhat confusing; I tried to understand what she was feeling and when I couldn’t, I moved on. Tatiana’s experiences began to make sense as I went deeper into the story – so if the prologue confuses you too, just read on.

After escaping from captivity (it isn’t made clear how), Tatiana roams the Northern Waste, carrying out a one-woman vendetta against her nemesis, the evil Dr. Gavin Ward, and his henchman, Dr. Tolliver. The task is a daunting and perilous one, but Tatiana has more than enough courage and special abilities to pull it off. She meets the gorgeous Tristan, who captivates her with his beautiful eyes, sense of humour, and deadly combat skills, even when she doesn’t know if she can trust him. But Tristan has some resources that she needs badly, so she follows him deep underground and discovers a horrifying secret that can cause far-reaching mayhem and destruction. It is up to Tatiana and Tristan to figure out how to stop this threat.

I liked Tatiana and Tristan immediately. They complement each other very well, and their love story is touching. I thought the author did a great job with these characters.

The genetically-engineered Tatiana was brought up in a lab by a computer, then kept in captivity all her life. All that she knows about humans, their emotions and their interactions are learnt from the computer. She has many genetic enhancement that make her very powerful, lethal and almost indestructible, but she has her own vulnerabilities and yearnings too. Tristan, though less vivid than Tatiana, holds his own with his calm, Zen-like attitude and personality, even as he skillfully wields a knife, or when he breaks a neck efficiently. He carries the weight of the entire Northern Waste on his shoulders, as he fights to right the mistakes he had unwittingly made.

I liked this somewhat dark and gory story a lot, which has some truly witty moments. However, I felt that the middle part of the story, which takes place in the underground facility, to be a bit draggy. Tatiana and Tristan are engaged in some heart-palpitating exploits, yet their thoughts and conversation seem overly lengthy and do not reflect the urgency of the moment. I also thought that the scientific and human anatomical terminologies to be a little too many.

All in all, this is a commendable sequel to Driven, which shows us another aspect of the Northern Waste. I am certainly looking forward to more stories about this world.

Hidden will be available in July 2008.

My rating4
Sensuality ratingWarm


Melanie said...

J, Great review of Hidden!I'm really looking forward to this one.

Jace said...

Thanks, M. :) I wish we had read this together.

kat said...

J, good review.
I was very anxious about the book, because Driven was so good and I feared, HIDDEN could fall short of it. now I'm happy it doesn't. I'm looking forward to reading it as soon as I get it.

Brie said...

Great review, Jace.

I'm stuck in the middle of Hidden right now. All was good but then I came to a lull in the story, and haven't found the time to push myself past that point.

Lucky for me, your review has given me the incentive I needed to forge on.

Jace said...

K, I too was worried about Hidden not measuring up to Driven, but it is a good read in its own right. :) Just don't expect another Driven, that's all I'm saying. :D

Jace said...

Brie, I think I know which "middle" you're stuck in. LOL

Don't worry ... the story picks up soon after, and races to the end. :)

I'm looking forward to your review.

Melanie said...

J, After getting the chance to read an ARC of Hidden I came back here to re-read your review.I agree with your assessment of Hidden. I did find the parts while they were underground a bit draggy but otherwise it was a very good book. I wish Wizzard and Raina had been in it more, but maybe the next story will have more of them. I would have rated it a 4/Warm as well. I'm also very much looking forward to the next book in this series. Eve has built a fantastic world in the Northern Waste.

Jace said...

M, I'm glad that you've enjoyed the book. :) I can't wait for the next installment!