Thursday, November 3, 2011

REVIEW: Kidnapped by Megan Derr

Kidnapped (The Infinitum Government, #1)Kidnapped by Megan Derr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

CAUTION: Long Review, Spoilers

Kidnapped is the first book in the Infinitum Government duology by the talented writer Megan Derr. (The "third" book Jewels of Bangkok is a spin-off, set in the same universe but in a different timeline and doesn't relate to the main story.) The story's main conflict is for our heroes to save the Draconis race, a derivative of the Save the World trope. However, Kidnapped ended with a HFN and doesn't conclusively resolve the "save the Draconis" issue till the 2nd book.

The Draconis race is a "genetically engineered race designed by the be legal supplements to increase their power." A Draconis will match to a magics-capable person through eye-contact, and then that person and the Draconis will each share their power. Example: Sean can teleport, Mendel can heal. Matched, they both can teleport and heal. But only if they are together! Separate, neither the magics-capable person nor their Draconis can use their power, inherent or shared. Same example: Sean without Mendel nearby can neither teleport nor heal, same thing for Mendel without Sean nearby.

If you're thinking this story uses the Soul Mate trope, you're half right and half wrong. Draconis and their magics-capable, non-Draconis match usually do end up in a romance, but not always.

Kidnapped is told in 3rd POV following mostly from Sean, Mendel, and Cyan's perspectives. If readers are worried about keeping plotlines separate, no worries. At the middle of the story, they all meet and deal with the same crap, i.e. rescuing people, saving a race, fighting the villains, etc — the usual shit heroes have to do.

Initially before everything merge into one single followable plotline, there are three plotlines. FYI, you can read the first 15% of the story on Smashword here.

Plotline 1: Sean is a Rehabber (ultimate prison-keepers/warriors) and he accidentally matched to a Draconis recent-prisoner named Mendel. Readers can read that event of a prologue here for free. Revealed as a magics-capable human, Sean runaway with Mendel...well, after Sean got kidnapped first. Heh.

But wait? Why is being a magics-capable human so bad?

A magics-capable human is a magics-vulnerable human, vulnerable "to all magics—mind control, telepathy, telekinesis, and hundreds upon hundreds more." All humans working in the I.G. are magics-incapable and therefore magics-invulnerable. If humans suddenly evolved into a magics-capable race, then the entire power structure — the I.G. will fall. There would be no personal protection against brainwashing and the like.

Every race but the human race are magics-capable and already knows how to deal with it. Humans, for their part, don't except for being their magics-less self. Sean being a magics-capable human is a small step towards that fearful future.

Plotline 2: Eine and Lark, last two survivors of a vigilante crew, are coerced through poison to kidnap certain important people. They are coerced by a crazy vengeful villain named Jade. Under that dainty beauty of his is an ugly heart of sadism. Jade also happened to be the fraternal twin brother of Cyan leading us to...

Plotline 3: Cyan is a Rehabber, co-worker and best-friend of Sean. He is on the quest to find Sean so that he can bring Sean back home to visit Sean's dying mother before she R.I.P.

And I said before, they all eventually meet and fight the good fight.

Characters of Interest

I was a little miffed at reading Eine and Lark's "adventure" in chapter one after reading about Sean and Mendel in the prologue. I wanted the story to continue with Sean and Mendel's plotline because the prologue had a really good cliffhanger. But I soon got over it.

And soon Cyan became my favorite character in Kidnapped. Cyan eventually joined Eine and Lark's "adventure" after the two vigilantes inadvertently kidnapped Cyan. Oh yeah, before the kidnapping thing happened, before they knew each other, Eine and Cyan had a shag a few hours ago, doing the whole "sex with a stranger" and "sex to release stress" deals. LOL! Memorable quote below.
"I told you, rock spider, it's better to fuck a Rehabber than fuck with one—did you want to test that theory?"
I really like how Cyan, as a Rehabber, could kick butts and smash skulls. Despite Jade accusing Cyan of cowardice, Cyan truly had a take-charge kind of attitude. Once the kidnap incident was resolved with Eine, Cyan didn't mind shagging Eine some more. The story described them, from Lark's dialogue, as having "fuck-me eyes" for each other. LOL!

So the story follows Sean and Mendel as one couple, Eine and Cyan as the other, and just gay Lark as the third wheel. Lark was the weakest character of the main cast in the character development department. I read his personal history and predilections, but I never got to know him as a person. Actually, I'm not sure if Lark can be considered as part of the main cast — the whole matter is debatable.

But in short, Lark's character development wasn't enough to satisfy me. But oh well, this was a small gripe and I was mostly concerned on the two established gay couples.

In Conclusion

Kidnapped was fast-paced and contained more actions than I expected. The story was complex but it wasn't convoluted, it was an easy sci-fi to read. I detected a streak of humor in the story because some of the scenes had me chuckling.

The story is aptly titled because there were a lot of kidnappings happening. Giving Kidnapped three-stars for an I-liked-it.

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