Book Review

Taken to the Limit, by Nico Rosso


Title: Taken to the Limit
Author: Nico Rosso
Publication Info: Liquid Silver Books 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59578-771
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

imageI received an email alerting me to this novella, and since I’m in a novellaly kind of reading mood, I grabbed it from Liquid Silver. According to Liquid Silver CEO Tina Burns, the distribution to all ports of sale hasn’t occurred yet, but it will soon. So for right now, it’s only available from the LS website. I read the excerpt on the website, and couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I bought it the following day. It’s a quick read, but a good one, of adventure, action, kickingassery, and hot attraction. Weightlessness holds a LOT of curious appeal, all of a sudden.

    Korina is an ER doctor, one of the best in her hospital, with a tactical mind and a very quick reaction time. She is prepared for just about every possibility in the ER, where much of the fuel is adrenaline and circumstances change in the measure of seconds. But when a giant fire surrounds one part of the ER, she runs toward the fire (she’s prepared for that situation mentally) and finds two sergeants in armor she’s never seen before, one bleeding and in need of immediate care, and the other, Morrow, trying to keep the wounded man upright while protecting himself.

While she cares for the wounded man, enemy soldiers swarm that section of the ER and a battle begins – yet none of the humans in the ER can see it. They’re behind a wall that occludes them from everyone else, save those in the fight. Because of everything she’s seen that she shouldn’t have witnessed, Morrow has to bring Korina with him as he runs into his next tactical mission, keeping her alive and trying to get his hands on technology that led to his comrade being wounded in the first place.

It was a brilliant decision on the part of the author to show how war and the ER environment reflect back on one another, with similarities and differences: are the people in war destroying themselves or saving each other… and are the people in the ER destroying themselves or saving each other? Korina realizes this as she learns about the battles Morrow faces:

    I’ve learned battles, too…. Prepare for any contingency, then adapt when they change. That ER was combat. We fought fear and panic. We fought death.”

    Point of view is a key element to the narration of the story, and in a very short space, Rosso peels back thin layers to reveal more to each character. Action and character development run at the same pace in each scene, but while the action moves rapidly, the character revelations and development run slightly slower. There’s no massive painfully awkward infodump, except in dialogue where exposition makes sense.

    My biggest problem was how Super Powered Awesome Boo Yah Special Morrow and Korina are. Her ex boyfriends are meaningless drones who did nothing for her. His past is nothing but battle. He’s the most supremely special super kickass soldier she’s ever seen – he leaves every other man she’s known a withered husk of flaccid weakness in her memory. Morrow will never be sitting in a bathtub on the hillside, if you catch my meaning.

    And every time Korina thinks about – because of course they have instant mind meld – or mentions an ex boyfriend or a man she once dated, Morrow gets all bristly and she has to reassure him that he’s the only man for her. It happens more than once. Once was more than enough.

    This is a habit with the ancillary characters in general: Morrow and Korina are on a pedestal. Everyone else is dumb, and the more dumbassery that’s revealed to which the reader can compare the hero and heroine, the higher the pedestal is raised, like it’s on a hydraulic lift of negative comparison. They’re pretty kickass on their own, so there wasn’t so much need to cast all of humanity and everyone else in the universe in the shadow of You Kinda Suck so as to elevate the hero and heroine.

    As with many a novella, there’s Insta-Love™, which is not my favorite thing. But there’s a short span of time for two people who have just met to commit to one another and go traipsing off into the dangers of open intergalactic warfare (no biggie!) so I suppose the Insta-Love™ is to be expected. And (OF COURSE) Morrow sees Korina running toward him in the ER and notices her running, her lab coat, and her breasts. Because in the thick of battle, with a man bleeding all over you… BOOBIES!

    Where this story kicks ass is in the action sequences. There are choreographed battles, exploration of technology, new and ridiculously cool weapons and a full explanation for Korina (and the reader) of what the hell is going on with the Earth and this hidden war. The language is quick yet descriptive – it’s not repetitive and I could see in my mind the scenes playing out. Rosso uses color, light, and physical reactions of the characters to create the scenes, and it worked very well for me. I’m not usually a space adventure fan, and I don’t usually get into science fiction tales of action because with any long battle tales, there’s too much glowing explodey death for my tastes, but this story grabbed my brain from the excerpt. I stayed up late reading it and then read more the following morning when I ought to have been working.

    If you like adventure stories, science fiction and romance, battles and hot attraction in the same narrative and a very quick but brainful read, this story will definitely appeal. And since the holiday season is flush with very short amounts of reading time (if you’re like me, there’s family everywhere and more coming through the door), this is an ideal escape that will give you plenty of adrenaline and attraction to feast on before it’s time to get back to your own planet.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    Maybe the boobies recognition is automatic. Remember “Up!” with the dogs? In the midst of tactical discussion – “Squirrel!”

  2. 2
    Laurel says:

    @ Lynne: Too funny! At our house we randomly interrupt discussions with an occasional “SQUIRREL!” It causes no end of amusement.

  3. 3
    Sarah W says:

    @Lynne and Laurel

    We do that, too!  When my older daughter apologized for not listening to me the other day, she said, “I’m sorry, Mom—-squirrel.”

  4. 4
    Emma says:

    I love all the points that you brought up—they are usually my problems with romance as well! 

    I hate it when instantly, every other man/woman in past dating history is reduced to nothing.  I’ve dated plenty of guys that aren’t my soul mate, but they were still great guys.

    And I DIE laughing every single time that the first thing the hero notices is the boobs.  Even when she is wearing something that prevents boob-sightings—say, a huge eskimo jacket that reduces her to the shape of a marshmallow—the hero instantly notes that he can see the ‘hint of glorious curves’ or some such nonsense.

    So yes, this was good for me :)

  5. 5
    lizw65 says:

    May I just say, I LOVE the cheesy, vaguely Art Deco-ish cover?  It wouldn’t look out of place on one of Ayn Rand’s novels, methinks.

  6. 6
    DreadPirateRachel says:

    The whole “Everyone else sucks in comparison with the h/h” is one of my least favorite literary devices. It actually detracts from the awesomeness of the h/h because if they were really that badass, they would still rock even if the other characters were a normal level of cool. When everyone else sucks, I tend to think, “Well, of course the h/h seems to be the best; it’s not like there’s much competition.”

  7. 7
    Ell says:

    Morrow will never be sitting in a bathtub on the hillside, if you catch my meaning.

    I really don’t. Is this a scene from somewhere? A metaphor my head isn’t awake enough to grasp? Need clue!

  8. 8
    John says:

    I was interested in this!  You don’t see many romance novels in the hetero department written by men.  Cool to know it’s a good read!  :D

  9. 9
    SB Sarah says:

    Ell – I was referring to the Cialis commercials on TV. Cialis is a drug for erectile dysfunction, and for some reason, their ads feature a couple sitting in separate bathtubs on a hillside. I have NO idea why.

    They are also filled with suggestive imagery. There’s a new one on now commonly seen during NFL broadcasts featuring a man pitching a tent. LITERALLY. I almost fell off the couch.

    Anyway, Morrow will not be sitting in a bathtub on a hillside because he is a MANLY BONER MAN who won’t need help pitching HIS tent, if you catch my drift.

  10. 10
    Nagaina says:

    @ Ell,

    There’s a commercial for one of those erectile dysfunction drugs that involves a couple sitting together in side-by-side bathtubs on a hillside. As a visual metaphor for the having of no sex.

  11. 11
    Carrie S says:

    I like it that the Heroine looks a lot like Kaylee from Firefly, but what’s with the armpit love?

  12. 12

    Morrow will never be sitting in a bathtub on the hillside, if you catch my meaning.

    And I do.

  13. 13
    Nico B says:

    Interesting! Especially written by a man – which I had to verify because I go by Nico (short for Nicole). When exploring, I see that he’s married to Zoe Archer. After getting her books, I find it’s only fair to try his too. :)

  14. 14
    smillachan says:

    Why does the guy on the cover look like President Logan?

  15. 15
    Shaheen says:

    Because in the thick of battle, with a man bleeding all over you… BOOBIES!

    I almost fell off my chair giggling when I read this. And then, just after I picked myself back up,

    man pitching a tent. LITERALLY.

    Boom! Back on the floor again. I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t caught that allusion :(

  16. 16
    Selinarah says:

    The first thing I wondered when I saw the cover was “Why is she trying to break his neck?” The elbow to the jaw/neck made me think of action films. Maybe it’s ‘special combat training’? >:)

    club49- They had to club us 49 times over the head with how cool the h/h were.

  17. 17
    Annebonnie says:

    My selection will be Scandal of the Season by Christie Kelly.  I love love love the cover and love the holidays.  Books specifically geared to the Holiday Season, especially romance, are my favorites – well, romance, magic, and werewolves is also luscious.  Christmas reading should included romantic books like this one with such a beautiful cover – going to grab a copy right away, and since I work in a book store here in Portland, Oregon – should be an easy reach!!

  18. 18
    Karen Blake says:

    Interesting blog! Especially written by a man. I love all the points that you brought up. This was good for me.

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