Plot Type: Post-Apocalyptic Soul Mate Romance (SMR)
Ratings: Violence—4; Sensuality—4+; Humor—2
Publisher and Titles: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Whole-organics are regular human beings with no technological modifications.
Post-humans are people who were born wholly human but have been "technified" by various modifications to their brains and internal organs and by the insertion of various implants. The modifications can be simple or extremely complex and can be programmed by their creators.
Mechs are human-shaped robots created in laboratories. They can be programmed to do a variety of tasks, but they can never truly experience human emotions (although they can be programmed to mimic those emotions). A mech-clone is a special type of mech that has been shaped as an exact replica of a specific human. These mech-clones are indistinguishable from the human they are imitating. You can imagine how this would come in handy during a time of war when each side wants to infiltrate the other.
Free-fae collectives are holographic beings that work like walking, talking databases for the person who created them. They are highly illegal and are sought after by both law enforcement agencies and the underworld. Free-fae collectives can take any shape, including that of the human body. Although they appear to be solid, they are not. If you try to touch them, your hand goes right through them. They are made up of a large swarm of nanos that can change form as needed. Although free-fae collectives can look just like humans, they cannot experience most human senses. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas in which Jackson's mythology goes awry. Jackson never explains why her free-fae collectives can hear and understand human voices but cannot hear a number of other sounds. She doesn't explain why these entities without solid form can pick up something but cannot sense it—cannot feel its texture, smell it, hear it, or taste it. For example, one free-fae collective picks up a dress but cannot hear the rustle of its fabric or feel its softness. It is difficult to understand why Jackson never bothers to explain any of these inconsistencies.
A rip-roarin' snarky, sexy sci-fi paranormal romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heat, and heart. Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love ignites in the most inconvenient places...
Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive
Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what's left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas—sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.
Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most-wanted list. Someone has set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it's the perfect storm. xxx—xxx (em dash) xxx–xxx (en dash) über-alpha själsfrände Ragnarök clichés
Kellen Hockley is a lean, lanky, jeans-clad whole-organic who was a veterinarian in pre-war times. Now, he is Heron's chief medical officer and provides vital tech support. Mari nicknames him "cowboy" for his looks, his Stetson, and his Texas drawl.
Chloe is a gorgeous free-fae collective. Mari nicknames her "perky blond." Mari muses that, "Chloe could look like anything she wanted—her whole existence was just a loose confederation of nanites and light particles held together with digital will—but she wasn't real, couldn't know smells and tastes and touches...Chloe would never stroke that sweet kitty down the corridor, never smell flowers or sex or ghost peppers. Never taste Jamaican rum or her own tears."
Garrett is a whole-organic mechanical genius who is in charge of all of Heron's hardware, on the ground and in the air. Mari nicknames him "squirrel-nervous mechanic." Garrett is obviously in love with Chloe, but she is unaware of his feelings because she can't feel emotions.
I'm sure you want to know more about the 4+ sensuality rating I have awarded this novel. Let's just say that this is the first novel I've read that includes techno-sex (and lots of it). When Heron is driving his James Bond-ish car or his spaceplane, he is actually wired into them, so whatever Mari touches (or fondles), Heron feels it in various sensitive body parts. Mari is an extremely sexual being, so she takes full advantage, and when he turns the tables and begins using his personal techno-sexual abilities on her, things get really hot, hot, hot!
I have to say that I have mixed feelings about the future of this series. Although Jackson has established most of the techno-mythology, she hasn't done a top-notch job at integrating it into the plot. The reader needs to truly understand this complex technology-based world in order to make sense of the plot, and Jackson's explanations are frequently incomplete, inconsistent, or utterly lacking. Also, Jackson gives no background on the causes of the Texas secession or on the horrific climate conditions that are affecting the world. Most importantly, though, her big reveal about Mari is problematic to the extreme. There is no way that secret could have been kept from Heron or from Mari—no way at all. It is so implausible and disappointing that it spoiled the entire book for me. I'll probably read the next novel just to see if Jackson gets a better handle on her mythology and her plotting, but after that...we'll see.
The second novel will tell Kellen's story, which has a direct connection to Wanted & Wired. You see, Kellen's soul mate is the widow of the man Mari accidentally murdered back in the very first chapter when she shot the human instead of his mech-clone. In fact, the action in Perfect Gravity overlaps the action in Wanted & Wired, beginning with the scene in which Kellen has to tell Angelo Neko that her husband is dead. Parts of this scene appear in both novels.
To read an excerpt from Wanted & Wired, click HERE to go the book's Amazon.com page and click on the cover art.
NOVEL 2: Perfect Gravity (pub. date 11/7/2017)