This was my very first experience with Suzanne Brockmann. I have heard her name mentioned quite a lot, both because of her Troubleshooters series popularity and because of various discussions in Romancelandia about her political views and how they relate to her series, but I have never gotten around to trying her out. I saw that she was trying her hand at PNR, so I figured this was my chance. I took the plunge. 🙂
The setup of this world was very interesting. There are Greater-Thans, people who have high level mental powers, and Fractions (or Less-Thans), people who don’t have strong mental powers or any at all. Not everyone knows that they’re out there, but it’s not because they’re hiding. The media regularly mocks their research and has everyone convinced that they’re just crackpots. The government is aware of it, though, and out of five labs, the Obermeyer Institute (OI) is the only privately funded one. OI’s Greater-Thans are regularly called in by the police when they need help with someone who ‘jokers’ (aka goes insane) on the new drug on the streets, Destiny. Destiny has the ability to turn someone into a Greater-Than and makes the user younger and healthier for as long as they use it. Of course, once you use it you are instantly addicted and must continue to use it forever. There’s no detoxing Destiny, there’s only death. In addition to all that, there’s also a shadow organization that is snatching Greater-Than potentials and using them to develop Destiny.
The book is pretty interesting and unique but I found it a little confusing in the beginning. We were dropped into things right in the middle of a joker takedown, and I wasn’t really sure what all the terms meant and if the general populace was in on things or if it was all a secret. Also, society as a whole is quite different, given that this is set several decades in the future. It all just didn’t flow as smoothly as I would have liked, although it wasn’t a huge complaint for me. I eventually got into the swing of things once Anna, the sister of the kidnapped girl that the OI main characters are trying to find, is brought into OI and given an explanation for everything.
I really liked getting to know multiple people at OI, but I felt that there were way too many POVs running around. When I posted an update about this on Goodreads I was told that this is a signature trait of this author, so if you’re already a fan of hers then this probably won’t bother you as much as it did me. I soon realized that it was necessary to have so many POVs (there were seven, by the way), given that the book focused equally on three relationships. That was another large complaint of mine. I liked most of the couples but splitting so much time between all of them made it hard for me to get involved in any of them. I felt like I was only given enough to keep my interest but never enough to truly sink into the characters and know them.
Although I didn’t enjoy having three romances playing out at once, I found that I liked the other two romances more than the one that was mentioned in the book blurb. I liked Shane, the blacklisted ex-SEAL, but the heroine, Mac, was very difficult to like. I’ll be honest, that girl was bitchy with a capital B. She’s cold and a user. I kept waiting for her to get over herself, but she never really did. I had no sympathy for any of her woe is me attitude regarding her sex appeal. I get that it could be a horrible, horrible power in the long run, especially when she couldn’t always control it, but the fact that she used it to keep a
sex buddy boyfriend for years made it really hard to respect her. When you add that to the cold way she kept sleeping with him and then brushing him off, I ended up feeling sorry for Shane because he was stuck with her.
Two of the relationships were wrapped up by the end of the book, but one of them had a twist thrown in at the end that will need to be resolved, probably in the next book. I really liked Bach, one of the Greater-Thans, and his interaction with his love interest and the bond he developed with the kidnapped girl, Nika, but I’m not sure if that’s enough to convince me to read the next book in the series. I did like a lot of things about this book and enjoyed the author’s overall voice, but it utterly failed for me as a Romance. The fact that quite a few fans of her have told me that multiple POVs and multiple romances are common in her various series make me think that I’ll have the same complaints with the next book.
P.S. In case anyone is interested, the relationship pairings are M/F, M/F, and M/M.
”You have any questions about the program?” He gestured toward the e-reader. “I see you’ve been given an overview.”
“Yeah, I guess my biggest question,” Shane said as he stayed standing, leaning against the wall that separated the main room from the bedroom, “is about how to handle the anticipation. I mean, I’m not sure I can wait to find out whether my big superpower is going to be flying or invisibility.”
The doctor laughed. “A nonbeliever. Better and better.”