Driven—Eve Kenin

She always found it strange, that name: Noble War. As if there was anything noble about a nuclear holocaust that led to tectonic plate shifts, floods, earthquakes, and the decimation of the entire world. The Second Noble War had ended about a third of the lives on the planet along with the civilization as it was known at the time.

This is the main pick for Vaginal Fantasy this month. The theme in April is Mad Max, or more broadly post-apocalypse. The alternate being the third in the Arcana Chronicles. (Post about those three books coming soon!) I actually got this in a Women of the Apocalypse bundle (8 books) on Kindle for $.99, so I'm looking forward to reading some of the others in the collection as well.

In Driven, Raina is a trucker, attempting to win a competition by getting her cargo to the designated location before anyone else. She is hoping to win in order to be able to comfortably support a sister she's just discovered exists, and to hopefully retire from the life. But of course, her journey to the finish line is not without obstacles. Before she can even embark on the journey, she needs a pass to help her expedite the traveling along the road which is run by a corporation; without the pass, she'll have no chance of winning. Raina is meant to meet up with a trucker called Wizard, who has the pass. But when she encounters him, he's about to get into some trouble with employees of the evil corporation who are bent on killing him. Raina drives in on her motorcycle and helps him escape, only to find that the big bad guys have rigged Wizard's truck to blow up. So she's stuck with him, even though she finds him infuriating. Or unbelievably hot. Either one. Turns out, Raina and Wizard have the same enemy: Duncan Bane. But can they defeat him before he finds and destroys them?

I really liked the IDEA of this and was excited in the first chapter or so, but then it kind of went downhill for me. Raina was too much in her head. For example, in the middle of fight scenes, thinking about Wizard and his emotions or lack thereof. Focus on the task at hand, maybe! Think about emotions later when your life is not in danger. It could have used some serious editing. There were paragraphs where Raina would repeat the same thing like three times, as if Kenin assumed I had short-term memory loss and would forget what I'd read by the time I got to the end. Raina also seemed to be kind of dimwitted for somebody who allegedly survives on her wits. Like when she notices the finger tapping that Wizard does, and she's like, "Where have I seen that before?" when she'd literally just seen Yuriko do it.

I also called immediately that Wizard's Tatiana and Raina's Ana were the same person, as soon as Raina mentioned her. Especially since Kenin makes an excruciating effort to have Wizard constantly remind us that Tatiana is dead. Like this passage: "If he let himself think, then his mind filled will images of Raina and with raw and bitter regret. Regret was not new to him—he had regretted Tatiana's death for many years—but the intensity of the emotion was new. Unfamiliar. Unpleasant. And it was leaking out of the compartment he had assigned it to, permeating his every thought. That, too, was new. Even the loss of Tatiana had not eroded his control in this manner."

Raina also states that Wizard smells "warm and male and clean" and then a few pages later states that he smells "fresh and clean and male." Do you not know any other adjectives? But I suppose this is a common downfall of romance-genre books.

I found most of the characters two-dimensional, not least of them our villain, Duncan Bane. He had the potential to be a menacing, psychopathic, disturbing character but was instead more of a caricature of a villain than anything else.

The sexytime scenes were good. Those and the concept were enough to balance out the things I didn't like as much, so I didn't feel like I wasted my time reading it, but that may be the most I can say for it.

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