Liquid Lies by Hanna Martine
Series: The Elementals #1
Published by Berkley
Published on: July 3rd, 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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Magic is corporate America's best-kept secret, and Gwen Carroway is the best at selling it...
With her ability to pick up any language in an instant, Gwen Carroway is taking her family business global. As dutiful future leader of water elementals, she'll do anything to protect her people's secrets and bloodlines--including enter an arranged marriage. Inside, however, she yearns for the forbidden.
Reed is a mercenary addicted to the money and adrenaline rush of his work. After he inadvertently saves Gwen's life, he ignites her taboo desire for men without magic--and with bodies of gods. Just as things heat up, Reed discovers that Gwen is exactly who he's been hired to kidnap. He resolves to put work before lust, yet her luscious beauty and fiery spirit unravel him...
But there is a terrible truth behind Gwen's family business--and now, caught between the kinsmen she no longer trusts and an enemy bent on vengeance, the only ally she has is her abductor...
Liquid Lies probably could have done with some cuts. It takes awhile for the passion we all know is going to happen to happen and it takes stars for Gwen, our diplomatic protagonist, to make the critical decisions. This tremendous delay comes with some benefits.
When Reed and Gwen finally do connect (I hope that isn’t too much of a spoiler), it feels like much has passed between them and not just a lot of dialogue, mainly a lot of tension. Even with all the space the two characters are given to be fleshed out, Reed and Gwen still come off as caricatures. Not to mention Griffin and Gwen’s father, her family, who quickly disappear into the organization they briefly stuck their heads out of.
Gwen, a bit of a Daddy’s girl after losing her mother a little ways back and having her sister banished due to her fraternization with a Primary, works under her father and the Board at the Company where they as aliens that appear human sell magical products that alter people’s appearances. If this all sounds a little too corporate, it is.
Reed, also known as the Retriever (a complete joke of a title, please tell me it’s a joke), “retrieves” important people. Surprise, surprise Reed’s path crosses Gwen’s. It is unclear who should trust who.
The alien backstory gradually becomes more and more of the interesting centerpiece in this otherwise predictable world until about a third of the way through when its imagery and imagination completely steals the show in one stunning scene, then it is forced to succumb to our original Reed/Gwen truststory. From what is shown in that one scene, it feels like the author has much more to offer rather than this hokey – not even worthy of the defamation B-plot tag – story. The first few pages of the next book in the series also direct our attention to more quirky protagonists.
Perhaps the feeling here is that the author could have gone out on more of a limb than she has? With stories like these, when entirely new cultures are introduced, there should be opportunities for inserting more totally alien fixtures, colors that our eyes cannot see, things that completely defy human communication and certainly there is a bit of that with the fact that Gwen can speak twenty + different languages but that is all handled in a minimal, nearly offscreen way.
Although I begrudged the beginning and the end of this book (and had some sort of hope three quarters of the way through) I will hold out hope that the next book, Alien in Ice Land, will deliver.
|Recommended:||For those in it for the long haul|
|Like this, like that:||The Immortal Heat series by Britt Bury and the Circle of Seven series by Coreene Callahan|