THE SHADOW RUNNERS by Liz Maverick

This futuristic romance is set in the year 2176 in a penal colony that’s a cross between a toxic-waste dump and a Regency London ballroom. Escaped convict Jenny Red swore nothing would ever take her back inside the notorious prison colony of Newgate, Australia, until prince-turned-rebel Deck Han Valoren makes her an offer she literally can’t refuse. Deck will pay any price to bring revolution to the corrupt aristocracy that rules Newgate—until his choices put Jenny’s life on the line. Now Jenny the confirmed loner must learn to look beyond her own needs to see the big picture, and Deck the idealist must look beyond the collective good to recognize the value in one very special individual—Jenny—or neither will leave Newgate alive.

This book is a great example of the futuristic “action romance” that has become part of the Dorchester brand and Liz Maverick’s calling card: fast-paced, smart, sexy, imaginative romance starring a tough-as-nails yet still vulnerable heroine. Both the publisher and the author tackle a sub-genre that’s a relatively recent arrival on the romance stage—futuristic romance—and pull it off very nicely. This book would make a great introduction for any curious newcomer to both the genre and prolific author Maverick’s work.

I’m curious to know how other readers feel about the relatively new science fiction and futuristic romance hybrid. I like the opportunity for world-building and creativity the genre provides, and I find that the quite manageable page count (usually around 300-350 pages) means a fast pace and lots of action, while some fat sci-fi sagas demand hundreds of pages of patience until the real action commences. In futuristic romance, there’s a nice splash of science but not too much, and the degree of focus on the romance itself may vary. Usually the romance is still the spine of the story, but it tends to be presented in a franker, less frilly style than in some historical romances, which I also adore for different reasons. Really curious to know how readers who classify themselves as soft sci-fi fans would react to a futuristic romance like this one, or others discussed on the blog.

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This futuristic romance is set in the year 2176 in a penal colony that’s a cross between a toxic-waste dump and a Regency London ballroom. Escaped convict Jenny Red swore nothing would ever take her back inside the notorious prison colony of Newgate, Australia, until prince-turned-rebel Deck Han Valoren makes her an offer she literally can’t refuse.

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