Sometimes you want something fun. The Knight of Ambra is fun, but… and you knew there was a but… it still left me wanting and wondering.
Michaela is just trying to survive. She’s an orphan. Has to work two jobs just to make ends meet. She’s a bike messenger for a dry cleaning service. The job’s okay. The pay is decent. And she doesn’t think about what her boss's clients do. She’s not the kind of person to go looking for trouble. But trouble is just what she gets when she stumbles into a deal gone bad. Brant is trying to make a name for himself as a Knight of Ambra… Treasure hunters with a mission… A mission to save the world’s cultural treasures before they’re destroyed through greed, war, and environment. They’re like Indiana Jones… only much less legal and scientific. Brant’s first solo job was supposed to be a simple buy… Something easy to get his feet went and prove that he has what it takes to handle the pressure on his own. Only it wasn’t a simple buy. The seller ended up dead. The buyer escaped with the merchandise. And one bike messenger just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now everyone wants Michaela dead. And worse, she’s now forced to rely on a man who has essentially kidnapped her in order to save her life. Michaela is torn between wanting to escape her handsome pseudo captor and staying to help him recover the treasure and maybe, just maybe act on the attraction she can’t help but acknowledge.
I’m really torn on this book. On one hand I really liked it. Like squeeing to my co-author about how much fun I was having reading it. It might have been because the story reminded me of one of my favorite crack pairings in fandom.
I also liked Michaela. Her struggles and reactions felt real. I could relate to her. She reacted like how I’ve seen people react in crisis… brave in the moment but occasionally deeply, deeply stupid. Because higher reasoning is not a thing unless you train for it. She was brave in the moment, but when the adrenaline wore off she crashed. She cried when that rush wore off. She often did things because she was conflicted. She didn’t know if she could trust Brant or run from him. Her poverty was a part of her and her reactions were colored by that. Let me be clear, some of the things she did were dumb… really really dumb. But they made sense for the character. If anything, Brant was the most unrealistic. Brant was kinder to her than I would have been, and easier on her than he should be. But I got his motivations. I loved the dialogue. I loved the characters. I want to read more from this author. But again I’m torn.
A few reasons.
The first is that the story could have used a good content editor and a proofreader. There were a lot of grammar errors, wrong words, and missing words. Things like viscous for vicious, to for too, wrong punctuation for coordinating conjunctions. Things that a good proofreader would catch. But also things that someone who is too familiar with the text would miss.
As for why it needed a content editor and why I’m still so conflicted... well I need to add a spoiler alert to this:
One, there’s a fairly big scene in the book that promises that if the characters make it out of their life threatening situation they will have happy monkey sex. That thing never happens on the page. If they hadn’t had explicit manual sex and really shoddily written penetrative sex I wouldn’t have been so disappointed that when we got to the end that this promised scene never occurs. Just so you know 112 words and one paragraph does not make a good sex scene. Either keep everything non-explicit or suck it up and realize that you’re going to have to write smut.
Second. There’s no real conclusion… Oh there’s a happy ending, but plots that are introduced aren’t fully resolved. Things like what happened with the artifact? Will Michaela get her life back? Lots and lots of dangling threads that aren’t tied up. It felt like the author got ending fatigue and went “How can I end this thing quickly?”
I wasn’t satisfied.
But it was a fun book up to a point. I liked the characters. I liked the author's prose. But because I had two really big problems with it and because I walked away unsatisfied.
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