Dear Ms. Kenin:
I was anxious to read Hidden, the second in your new futuristic romance series. While not as revelatory to me as Driven, Hidden still has all the elements that attracted me to your work in the first place.
In Driven we saw the downfall of the ruler of North, leaving behind a fragmented land with no law but that of might. Gavin Ward is one of those who has might through the power of his ability to produce a popular drug. Hidden tells the story of Tatiana, or TTN081. She is the sister of Wizard, hero of Driven. In this post apocolyptic world set in the frozen Northern Waste, Tatiana is on a mission. She seeks to hunt down and terminate the scientist, Gavin Ward, who tortured her for years and she searches for her brother and sister, also lab experiments.
Tatiana has six senses. She can read people. Whether this was organic or an unexpected by product of years of being an experimental test subject, it is unknown. But while she can feel the emotions of people, she herself has little practice being human. She studies people and attempts to divine the “proper” response based upon her observations. But she knows she is but a flawed vessel and this drives her to find her family for with them she has a commonality, with them she believes that she could be at peace with herself.
Tristan is a scientist who is the leader of a small cadre of people who live in a subterranean complex. He’s beset with the guilt that he helped to create a deadly plague and infect the people with whom he lives. The plague creates photophobic individuals whose body parts eventually die off and whose blood immediately infects any who come in contact with it.
Tristan and Tatiana both suffer from survivor’s guilt. Tristan is further tormented by the fact that his own hands created the death that surrounds him. He labors to find a cure but has had no success. when Tatiana is exposed to one of his people, Tristan takes her into his subterranean hideaway determined to kill her at some point even though he is intensely attracted to her.
It’s the delicate weaving of the science and the emotion that raises this above other speculative fiction romances on the market. Tatiana’s existence, the manner in which she is created, the way in which her emotional makeup is woven into the tapestry of the worldbuilding, makes it impossible for her to be taken from this book and put in another setting.
The problems I had with the book included the fact that I thought it had heavy ties to the first book. I wondered if someone could pick up Hidden without having read Driven (not like that is a punishment since I thought Driven was a great book). I also thought some of the pacing was bit too slow. Still, this is a unique speculative fiction with bringing a fresh aspect to romance with strong worldbuilding and a poignant love story. B
Note: I forgot to add this to my recommended reads list and will be updating that list with this book and a new one I read last night tomorrow morning.