Review posted originally on Tracing The Stars http://www.tracingthestars.com
There were so many good points about this novel that I find myself unsure of where to begin with the review. Caught In Amber is probably one of the best "introduction" novels for Science Fiction Romance that I have come across. It is a perfect bridge between Sci-Fi Suspense, Suspense (General) and Sci-Fi Romance. It has many elements that could fit into any setting; past, modern or future, and the world building elements are familiar enough that they would make even non-science fiction readers comfortable. It has just enough romance to make avid romance readers happy, but it isn't romance over-kill and so it should still appeal to general readers. It has a blend of suspense, action, great characters and a plot with twists and turns that will keep you guessing to the very last page.
This book earned 5 stars due to being phenomenally written in these categories:
1. World Building. Cathy easily creates a futurist world within the mind of the reader that has enough common elements so it isn't completely alien while still being unique enough to give it a live of its own. You get a strong sense of the environment of the planet, the political and culture of the inhabitants, the technology and the history without being drowned in details or long meandering explanations Cathy gives the reader enough credit to let their imagination do much of the leg work, using her expressed details to act as foundations. This is the hallmark of a great world builder.
2. Characters. The three main characters in this book are so three dimensional that you can easily see and connect to them and their stories. Sasha is a woman with a shaded past, caught up in drug addiction and hooking up with the wrong man. She is struggling to keep her head down, follow the rules of her parole and fighting against a strong sense of justice that calls for her to help out those who are caught up in the drug-world of her past. Nathan is a hero who admits to using Sasha as a means to an end until he realizes that his ending is incomplete without also being able to save her from Guy. Guy is a villain that you rarely come across - he is a villain that you find yourself liking and having sympathy for despite there being no question about his cruelty and the fact that he is a drug overlord. He is complex, conflicted and dangerously appealing.
3. Romance. There is no love at first sight or the female protagonist throwing herself into the arms of the male lead here. Normally, this means that there will be angst. Lots and lots of angst. Not in Caught In Amber. The romance in this book is mature, emotionally speaking. It is realistic and progresses at a pace that fits with the character's current states and their history.
4. The plot. This book has a great plot, full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing at every avenue. I was thrown for a loop a few times, expecting Cathy to go one way with the story only to have her go in a direction I never considered. It is a thrill ride from page one to the last page. Much of this has to do with Guy and his incredibly written character. I was never sure what he was going to do next or how he would react to something the other characters did or said. He was a complete surprise every time.
If you are new to Science Fiction or Science Fiction Romance, or if you haven't even gotten your feet wet, I highly recommend Caught In Amber as your first introduction to the genres.