LAST CHANCE
Michelle O'Leary

 


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First in the Sunscapes Trilogy
DLSIJ Press, January 2005
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood
 
Science Fiction Adventure Romance
 
Del has done a lot of bad things under the orders of Quasicore, a corporation dominant in the Federated Planetary Alliance, but murder is too much. Still bearing the scars of Quasicore torturers, he escapes. Del knows he will have to run forever, so he plans to make a living in slicer races. He is an expert in the tiny, ultra-maneuverable spaceships called slicers, which connect directly to the pilotís brain and run off his brain impulses. Del doesnít know that someone he has never met has plans for him.
 
On an out-of-the-way asteroid on the Fringe of civilized space, Delís assessment of his fellow racers is telling him that he can count on winning this race. He is dismayed to see a couple of Shadow slicers touching down to join the lineup. Shadows are the top-of-the-line slicers, too expensive for anyone on the illegal slicing circuit, and these pilots are the sinister Shadow Twins, gorgeous Sin Shay and handsome Kai Shay, who always win their races. They move with the arrogance of successful predators, outclassing everyone around them.
 
In a bit of complicated dealing, Del finds himself bound by contract to Last Chance, a company owned by Shay Enterprises, Quasicoreís competitors. Sin Shay is so seductive that Del canít make himself object. His brotherís warnings go unheeded. A Shadow slicer of his own, a team to bond with, pirates to out-fly, and the irresistible presence of Sin Shay Ė Del will even risk being caught between Shay and Quasicore when the gargantuans clash, to keep all this.
 
LAST CHANCE is a thrill ride and a half. Back and forth we leap from the instant ignition of Del and Sin, to the deadly stalking of corporate CEOs, to the roaring exultation of space flight. As Del falls deeper in love, there are things he needs to know. What is it about the Shaysí elite pilots, that made the Shays choose them? What is Sin doing in secret meetings where Del is not allowed to go along and protect her? What does she feel so guilty about?
 
Author Michelle OíLeary continues to hone her talent as a writer. Her novels are light stories to read for fun and excitement, but written with the skills of classic adventure. The subtleties of a sculpted glass gift raise the warning hackles on your neck; the sizzle of a love scene lights up the room; the twists and dodges of a desperate space run give the sensations of experiencing the rush along with the pilot. Iím not claiming perfection: there are still the bizarre romantic misunderstandings that seem to be obligatory in romance novels. But this high paced adventure is the kind of science fiction romance that readers pass around among themselves with anticipation.
 
OíLearyís THE HUNTRESS was my Favorite Adventure Read of 2002, and LAST CHANCE has a good chance at this yearís title. I didnít care how late I had to read, I was caught in the spacewind and I was not going to put the book down until I had it finished. I came off the ride lit up with exhilaration. Itís good to know that the second in the Sunscapes Trilogy, HERE THERE BE DRAGONS, is being written now.
 
February 2005 Review

 

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