Sofie lives in the shadow of Felicitos–the tethered way station built to funnel Garmen’s mineral wealth up to the top of the atmosphere, where it’s loaded onto space ships. Because Garmen is a breakaway planet, not part of the Verdant String Coalition, the companies that control it are free to run things as they see fit, and Sofie is part of the resistance that wants to end their rule.
Her main goal, though, is to get away from Garmen altogether, and leave the drudgery and violence behind her. That goal is complicated by her involvement with Leo Gaudier, a shadowy crime lord whose ability to cheat the companies that own Garmen is something she admires. And when she stumbles on a terrible new direction the companies are taking, a secret alliance that will endanger everyone she cares about, she sees her chances of escape slipping away.
Leo is all too aware he doesn’t know enough about Sofie, something his own security detail is not slow to point out, but he can’t keep away. When Sofie reveals her links to the resistance, and shows him those in control of Garmen have begun swimming in dangerous waters, he realizes his plan to overthrown them in a careful operation of a thousand cuts is no longer workable.
The time has come for a single, lethal strike–and that will not be without consequences . . .
Review of Breakaway
Everybody has secrets. This is the type of story where everybody really wants to keep those secrets because they don’t know who is safe. Two examples of people with secrets are the heroine and hero, Sofia and Leo.
Sofia is a tough survivor, once an active part of the resistance, but, having walked away, now works for a Core company – subversively gathering info and occasionally supplying it to the resistance. Her upbringing as the daughter of the architect of the Tether has provided her with some interesting and crucial experiences. Her father’s death left her and her sister to cope on their own. Sophia is mentally tough and physically prepared to take on anyone.
Leo, despite Sophia’s Chapter One observation that ‘Leo Gaudier walked a dangerous path’, seems a little soft. After all, he is the one that is rescued not once, not twice, oh who’s counting, by Sophia. Where are his bodyguards? Where is his own toughness? And then later he has the nerve to tell Sophia to hang back for her own safety. He, too, is working secretly against the Cores, but his secretive actions are not talked about much, only hinted at. As you get closer to the end, you will find out more, but up until then, he seems a bit, dare I say wimpy?
The Cores, the ruling corporations, are the bad guys. They are big business with no regard for the little people. No faces. Set all the rules. Founded and rule the Breakaway worlds. Having the big no-name, no-face antagonist leaves me floundering a bit. I guess I am a fan of the really good bad villain. Evidence of the Core’s badness is not shown so much as told. Still, the no-name, no-face villain is still a villain and demands to be dealt with. The question is – How?
So basically, we are coming into a really bad situation that the Verdant String worlds would not approve of. However, they do nothing. What are they waiting for? Turns out it is the kind of evidence that makes people cry.
By the way, if you read the two prequel novellas Interference and Insurgency, you will understand more about why the Verdant String should care. While the author does provide some of the background from these stories in Breakaway, the references to the past are really best covered in those two books. I highly recommend reading Interference and Insurgency before Breakaway.
My reservations about hero Leo and the no-name, no-face bad guys leads me to a 4.5 rating. But I must round up to 5 because I can also tell you that, in Breakaway, Ms. Diener delivers in her typical style – a well thought out intricate plot, several complex, thoughtful characters and a thought-provoking situation on a futuristic world.
The author provided a copy of her book so that I could bring you this honest review.
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For Fans of Michelle Diener’s Sky Raiders Series
For fans of the Sky Raiders series, this one is for you . . .
SKY RAIDERS opens with Garek returning home to Taya, only to find her gone, and the whole village of Pan Nuk deserted. Garek is prepared to do anything to find his intended, and so begins the Sky Raiders trilogy, but how did Garek and Taya firest meet and fall in love?
This novella (12,500 words) is for fans of the series, set before the sky raiders arrive and before Garek goes off to Garamundo.
Really Quick Review of Intended
If you enjoyed the Sky Raiders series, read Intended! This prequel story gets 5 stars from me. If you would like to read it, you will need to be a member of Michelle Diener’s New Release Notification list. If you haven’t signed up, you can do so here: https://www.michellediener.com/books/intended-a-prequel-to-sky-raiders/