Break Out

Break Out - Nina Croft Think Star Wars, only Hans Solo is Rico Sanchez, a 1500-year-old irreverent vampire—rogue space pirate complete with long black hair, shiny black attire and, *yawn* a need for lots of sex and, of course, blood. Rico isn’t unappealing as heroes go it’s just his entire persona is entirely…familiar. What makes Rico fun is his interaction with Tannis, captain of the El Cazador de la Sangre, Rico’s shiny Star Cruiser. Tannis has lizard-like features, is sarcastic as heck and no-nonsense with very little time for Rico’s nonchalance and extra curricular activities. The banter between them is great and provided more than one chuckle.

The rest of Rico’s crew is equally entertaining: Daisy, a humanoid-plant hybrid with a tragic past. Al, the scrawny human cabin boy who keeps his secrets close. The beautiful and brilliant Janey who works wonders as the ship’s systems analyst. And lastly, the very unusual, monosyllabic ship’s engineer known as ”the Trog”.

As noted in the book synopsis, Rico and crew become involved with the lovely Skylar when she approaches them with an offer they cannot refuse. Skylar tells Rico and Tannis that she is a member of the Rebel alliance but is in actually a Lieutenant in the Corp, the Collective’s military who are feared throughout the universe. Skylar is on a mission which will require her to betray the crew of the El Cazador. She needs to be successful to prove herself in her new position in an elite unit of the Corp. Skylar has a number of enhanced abilities and while Rico senses she is spinning a lie-or-two-or-three he can’t resist her pretty face, or the money she is offering. So he and Tanis accept the job to break Skyler’s “brother” out of a seemingly impenetrable maximum-security prison on a distant moon where “Jonny” is awaiting a death sentence for assassinating a member of the Collective’s elite.

Rico and Skylar play quite a game of cat and mouse over the course of the story. Despite her superior strength and military abilities Skylar is cautious and fearful of the vampire. Rico is powerful and possesses abilities that could put her and her mission at risk. On the other hand, he is an enticing distraction that she does her best to avoid. Break Out offers a good serving of sexual tension and the eroticism is moderate in nature.

Nina Croft integrates surprising plot twists and action sequences, and for the most part she did keep me engaged. I did get confused regarding the world’s social structure, and felt the Collective, the Corps, a group of religious zealots and rebels could have been better fleshed out earlier in the novel. However, I did have a better understanding by the conclusion of the story. The protagonists were well-developed and the supporting characters were given integral roles. They are a fun group of misfits. ;)

Break Out was an entertaining Sci Fi read and provided a solid foundation for Croft to continue building this world. There are a number of plot threads left for readers to chew on and hopefully the author will give us more answers in the next Blood Hunter novel.