Friday, June 17, 2011

Seduce Me in Dreams: A Three Worlds novel by Jacqueline Frank

Bronse Chapel is the leader of a specialized unit of men and women in the interplanetary Militia, but lately, something has seemed... off about their missions. The intel they have been handed has been different from what they found on the ground, and sometimes, the missions themselves have turned bad. But Bronse and his team have soldiered through and made the missions end successfully despite the intel that has been lacking.

But now one of his team, the new comm tech Trick, is injured and Bronse is having to carry the young man out on his back out of the Grinpar desert on the planet of Ebbany, a harsh planet that is one of the three that the Interplanetary Militia keep watch over. And when Bronse and his team get back to base, his own lack of sleep combined with an inability to relax over what might be happening to him and his teammates in the Extreme Tactics Force makes him decide to work out his tension with some exercise. But somehow he falls asleep in the middle of his exercises and dreams of a lovely, auburn-haired woman who warns him that his life is in danger, and that an unspecific "they" are seeking to destroy him and his team.

Bronse thinks that it was merely a hallucination caused by the lack of sleep, but when his own second-in-command warns him that the higher-ups want his team to go out again on a mission almost immediately, which enrages Bronse, who is always careful to ensure his men make it back from a mission. Asking them to go out again after such a hard and torturous mission is a sure way to kill his team, and he wants no part of it. Thanks to a sympathetic superior, he wins two weeks of rest and recuperation for his team, during which he has more dreams and visions involving the woman.

The woman is Ravenna, one of the "Chosen Ones" of Ebbany. She and her fellow Chosen Ones have psychic powers and live in a temple near a village of her people. But when a Warlord threatens the villagers, they decide to send him tribute to keep him from attacking and devastating the village. So they sent Ravenna to be the man's bedslave and her brother, Kith, to be his seer. But in truth, it is Ravenna who is the seer of the pair, and due to her insistence on not following orders to be quiet, she is whipped, although not raped, because she is to be the Warlord's.

She isn't sure why she has begun having visions for Bronse, a man she has never met, but when his next vision takes him back to Ebbany to "extract a diplomat", he ends up near where Ravenna is imprisoned, and she is able to give him advice to keep his team together and keep any of them from being killed. But when Ravenna's escape puts the rest of the Chosen Ones in danger, Bronse decides to bring them back to the IM base and trust in his comrades to keep them safe, even Ravenna, who he has come to feel something for and has become the lover of.

Neither of them can forget that someone wants Bronse and his team dead, but can Ravenna's senses, and those of her fellow Chosen Ones, keep them and Bronse's team safe and root out the traitor in command while keeping them alive and unharmed? And can Bronse keep the younger Chosen Ones from becoming lab rats to the IM Scientists and assure them something of a normal family life while their secrets and powers are examined?

I've loved Jacquelin Frank's other series, the Nightwalkers, ShadowDwellers and the world of stolen women (my personal name for her series that started with "Hunting Julian"), and this new series was both interesting and different. It takes place in a more science fiction-y universe that is composed of a system with three habitable planets, and it seems that the other members of Bronse's team and the other chosen ones will be the ones taking part in any future books in the series. And while I liked the Chosen Ones and their powers, I didn't find Bronse quite as compelling. Yes, he's hot, hunky and a great warrior, but sometimes he seemed like your standard cutout hot hunky military man.

Okay, he's brave and all, and has made the military his life and the team his family, but there was a strong bead of familiarity in those concepts that just never seemed to make it to somewhere where he stood out and was different. It's not a bad story by any means: it's hot and there is plenty of great character interaction, but I just felt that he wasn't much different than the last twenty hot, hunky military guys who have been the hero in military-themed romance novels. There just wasn't enough to me that set him apart from the pack.

It's still a good novel, with a strong romance, and a mystery of who is trying to kill Bronse, but there was something lacking in the plot. When the villain is finally caught, we never seem to get the reason why he is so pissed off at Bronse and needs him to die. Bronse is like "Why?" and the villain just never says why, and I found that irritating. Maybe I missed the reason somewhere, but they never really do find out, and that peeved me off, as I wanted some kind of story closure on that. So I would come closer to recommending this story than not, but there are some issues that made this book less than fully enjoyable for me, and some might also find issue with a possible underage (really underage) romance that seems to be happening to one of Bronse's team in the background with one of the Chosen Ones. I can only hope the Chosen One ages to something near legal before they make an appearance in a future sequel;.

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