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Sci-Fi Fiction Review: Heat by R. Lee Smith

Heat by R. Lee Smith


Synopsis from Goodreads
Mature subject matter for adults only.

Earth. A world quarantined since its discovery by the Far-Reachers of Jota's history. And where the fortunes of slavers and chemists have been made ever since.

It was to Earth that Kanetus E'Var, the son of Jota's most ruthless slaver, escaped to make Vahst, a powerful drug manufactured from the human brain. And it was to Earth that Tagen Pahnee, Fourth-ranking officer of the Jotan Off-World Security Fleet, was sent to bring the criminal back to justice. Neither of them could have anticipated that at that moment, E'Var's hunting grounds were experiencing the worst heat wave in years, triggering the Jotan breeding cycle in both males.

Home is not an option for either of them. Both are determined to find a way to work on this hostile planet, surrounded by humans, surrounded by dangers, surrounded by Heat.

Adult readers only, due to graphic gore, violence, and explicit sexual situations.

Amazon kindle US/UK


* * *
 This is a twisted, addictive and utterly compelling read, which will leave you confused and wanting. Why? Because despite the villain being a really evil, alien and extremely ruthless character, you can't help but root for him.

Kane is a slaver dealing in human traffic from a quarantined planet Earth and in extracting dopamine from our brain which allows him to make a powerful and very expensive drug Vahst.

Anyone remember this film? That's what the story reminded me of. However, Heat is so much darker, bloodier and grislier, that it will churn your stomach.

So the plot is pretty easy to follow (see synopsis), it's the dynamics between characters that remain the most fascinating part of the book.

Kane picks up Raven - his unwilling accomplice/victim/toy who would allow him to function through Heat pretty early. Raven is smart, sly and really wants to live, so she learns to adapt to her situation, and then perversely she starts feeling something for the mass murderer who tags her along. Kane is evil by our standards, he kills left, right and centre, and yet, just like Raven herself we can't help but feel sympathy for him. It's horrifying and revolting, but at the same time strangely compelling.

Tagen - a woefully unprepared Jotan officer of the law sent to Earth to catch Kane, on the other hand, is a walking disaster. His superiors don't have any information on Earth that is less than 5 centuries old, and they truly think that we still live like barbarians. They are unaware of our physiology, technological advances or intellect. Tagen very quickly understands that he will need human help and again tries to recruit the first human who doesn't attack him on sight - Daria.

Both Daria and Tagen are whitewashed, innately good characters, and consequently pretty boring. Tagen tries not to give in to Heat, and it's Daria who leads the investigation and who helps him to survive. I did enjoy Daria with her OCD, and I wanted her to be happy and the good guys to prevail in general, but it's Kane's parts that I was reading with bated breath.

It is a testament to the author's talent, that she manages not only to make us love the wrong hero, but creates an ending satisfactory on all fronts. I personally felt like this book deserved to be continued as a series, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It's not for everyone, but if you loved anything else R. Lee Smith wrote, this is a must read for you.

* * *
Как и предыдущая книга Р.Ли Смит, Жара оставила меня в полнейшем восторге.

Если кто помнит фильм Тёмный Ангел с начала 90х годов, то сюжет Жары очень на этот фильм похож. 

Канетус Эвар - работорговец и пират с планеты Джотан сбегает с тюремного корабля с целью попасть на карантированную планету Земля, где ему нужно будет расколоть черепа пары сотен людей, чтобы извлечь из их мозга допамин, что является основой очень дорогого наркотика Вахст. Нет проблем. Единственное, что ему препятствует это жаркое лето Земли, которое провоцирует его на брачный сезон, характерный для его планеты, где жара длится не больше 9 дней.

Чтобы не отвлекаться от серьёзных дел, Кейн хватает первую же землянку, что попадается ему на глаза  и таскает её за собой, пока он следует своим кровавым планам. Рэйвен умна, хитра и очень хочет выжить и сбежать от инопланетного монстра, поэтому невольно она становится его  криминальной сообщницей. И как это часто встречается в отношениях между тюремщиком и его жертвой, между Кейном и Рэйвен вознивает странная форма привязанности.

Когда Эвар сбегает, ему вслед посылают джотанского полицейского - Тагена Пани. Бедный Таген - совершенная противоположность злодею Эвару. Он - настоящий белый рыцарь и совершенно неподготовлен к своему заданию. Последний раз джотанцы сунулись к нам 500 лет назад и они до сих пор думаю, что мы живём в средневековье и разъезжаем повсюду на телегах. Таген быстренько понимает, что ему нужна наша помощь и вербует первую землянку, которая не пытается его пристрелить - Дарию.

Честно говоря, Таген совершенно бледнеет на фоне такого яркого злодея Кейна, и читать о нём с Дарией довольно скучно. Помимо воли читатель начинает симпатизировать антигерою, и именно это странная перемена стандартных ролей делает Жару наэлектризованной, напряжённой и необычной книгой. Очень советую, хотя знаю, что понравится далеко не всем.


Blodeuedd said...

The first one, yes maybe

Unknown said...

Uhm, okay. I don't remember the film but with a rating like that, how could I not want to read this?

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