What were you doing when you were 19? I know I wasn’t up to much – no doubt moping about some girl and being a bit rubbish. I certainly wasn’t getting involved in international espionage incidents and kicking ass like Alix, the heroine of G. T. Almasi’s ‘Blades Of Winter’.
Alix is a ‘Level’, which is code for secret agent with lots of cool extras including bionic legs and enhanced eyesight . Thankfully, it’s more Steve Austin than Inspector Gadget as she uses her additions to fight off international threats rather than for rescuing cats from trees.
As well as her special prosthetics, Alix seems to have received a sassy implant as she has an answer for everything and is a constant source of irritation to her superiors. In fact, she’s probably the exact type of girl I would have been moping about. Plus she’s a red-head and I’m a sucker for a red-head.
Unfortunately, being super cool, sassy spy does have a downside and following the kidnap of a family member, Alix is plunged into a worldwide incident that may involve members of her own inner circle and will require all of her go-go-gadget sass to save the day.
The action moves thick and fast and the Matrix-style slowing down that Alix experiences while under fire allows for some additional emotion and thought from our lead character.
We also get a handle on the character dynamics quite quickly so there’s no dilly-dallying. We’re introduced to Alix while on mission well above her experience level and while she copes more than ably, her flaws are quite apparent.
Her, at times unbearable cockiness, is quite nicely balanced out by some insights into her personal life or lack of. Her father was also a Level and Alix is weighed down by his reputation and covers this up the only way she knows how.
The author also does a good job of creating a family around Alix. Trick, her best friend and partner, is a big brother figure. Raj, her handler and immediate superior is the father figure that she eventually learns to respect. I found myself trying to figure out which of the two would be the one to ultimately betray her, if either.
A fun, exhilarating read that starts fast and doesn’t let up.
(pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books. 356 page paperback. Price: $ 9.99 (US), $11.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-440-42354-6)
check out website: http://www.delreybooks.com/