Depths of Blue

Depths of Blue - Lise MacTague Torrin Ivanov fancies herself a "technology dealer", though the other side thinks "smuggler" is a more accurate term. Acting on a tip from a shady information peddler, she lands on a planet on the outer fringes of the galaxy hoping to strike up some lucrative deals. Used to using her feminine assets to help things along, she dresses up for the part. What she doesn't realize is that it just might get her in big trouble.

Jak Stowell is a killing machine. Her reputation as an incredibly efficient sniper has allowed her to get away with a surly attitude and disguising as a man. Unpopular with her boss, she is the first choice for the worst missions with the lowest chances of survival. And of course, she gets assigned to take out that off-world smuggler in the heart of the enemy territory.

As a tale of adventure/survival drama, this book is great. And most of it is due to the poignant and very realistic portrayal of Jak--as a soldier torn between duty and compassion, as a grieving sister, and as a woman confused by her attraction to another woman. Torrin is also very well-drawn. Her ethics, such as it is, supposedly preclude her from killing in cold blood. But having to go back and forth through enemy territory does tend to blur those lines. :) Will she be able to accept Jak the killer? Will she have to pull the trigger herself? Moments like these add remarkable depth to the characters.

Outstanding pacing, tight plotting and plentiful thrills and drama all add up to a fast page turner. The romance is well developed and the sex is hot. The worldbuilding is adequate (read: won't bore non-scifi fans) and the technospeak isn't overwhelming. What maybe more of a concern is the level and frequency of killings. There is, after all, a war going on. And the lead character is a sniper. The violence is graphic (e.g. head shots), but it is in character and not gratuitous. There are occasional lapses in the plotting but the author got so many details right it was easier to overlook.

Favorite quote:
"Birds called back and forth while insects buzzed from stalk to stalk in the surrounding grasses. The grasslands around them buzzed with life, but none of it touched the stillness of the void that yawned within her."

4.75 stars