Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Ava Gray - Skin Game

Kyra is a con woman and a particular kind of thief. She steals with a touch, but she only takes one thing: her target’s strongest skill. Which means she can be a fighter, an athlete, a musician, an artist—anything she wants… for a limited time. Heartbroken, she turns her gift toward avenging her father’s murder; with deadly patience, Kyra works her way into casino owner Gerard Serrano’s inner circle. After pulling off the ultimate con, she flees with his money and his pride.
Reyes has nothing but his work. Pity for Kyra, he’s the best and mercy never sways him once he takes a job. He’s been hired to find out where Kyra hid the cash—and bring her back to face Serrano’s “justice.” Dead will do, if he can’t locate the loot. He’s never failed to complete a contract, but Kyra tempts him with her fierce heat and her outlaw heart. So Reyes has a hell of a choice: forsake his word or kill the woman he might love.

Comment: I wrote down that I got this book in 2010 and it has been waiting in the pile since then. At the time, pretty much anything that sounded romantic with paranormal elements or content would have sounded appealing, that is probably why it was added to the pile.

In this book we meet thief Kyra, who has a special ability, she can touch someone and "steal" the best ability that person has, making her temporarily great at anything. Kyra has become a thief because she wants to avenge her father's death, caused by a casino owner, and when the story begins she is running from the perfect con job. 
Reyes is a mercenary man these days, hunting down people, bringing them dead or alive and any job is only a job. When he is tasked with looking for Kyra, he feels it might be easy work and his contract will be finished successfully, as usually is. However, he soon discovers she is more intriguing than what he expected and the more he gets to know her and spend time with her, the more he realizes she isn't as guilty as she was made to look... could they find a way to be together?

At some point, the idea of this story would have been catnip for me, and I'd look for to see how these two would fall in love in the midst of so many complications, but while I still liked the idea of this novel, I wasn't too excited with how it was developed, and in the end it was only meh to me.

I would say the biggest issue was the relationship between the protagonists. I just didn't warm up to them nor did I feel their connection was that believable. I can accept the wariness and tension when they start spending time together but what was told about them as individuals and how they were connecting didn't feel very special. I suppose that if their pasts or their personalities had made a bigger emotional impact on me, so I could sympathize more, I'd have cheered for them too. The way things went, I wasn't too focused on whether they would end up together or not. (I knew they would, though)

Kyra is the most interesting character, simply because of her ability. I admit: I can't remember if it was shared why and how she has that ability to steal other's best feature but it was still a nice detail. Of course, I would be interested in seeing how this affected her life but her thievery career just didn't interest me and while I can understand why she felt like avenging her father, the whole con work and such isn't something I really appreciate, unless it's comedy movies like "ocean's 11" or something...

Reyes is a very traditional type of hero, in the sense he isn't perfect but hides a better heart than he lets on, at least he does start thinking he should help Kyra when they talk and learns why she is this way. I don't have much to say about him, he is rather forgettable to me, but he does follow the pattern one comes to expect from heroes who start one way but change course to help/save the heroine.

The plot develops very easily, like a certain cat and mouse game, and in between we have some passages from the casino owner's POV, nothing much about him, he is a very simple type of villain, just someone looking for power and getting the upper hand on everyone.

I'd say the most fascinating element in this whole thing was a secondary character, Foster as he calls himself, someone who I figured was infiltrated in the casino business also to bring down the casino owner. He acted very shady and secretively but we learn he did what he could for a woman he considered his mother, as well as his sister, both confined to a bed in a nursing home, due to illness. 
I can't remember either why he considered the casino owner guilty but this Foster guy's actions and how he used Mia, a friend of Kyra, to get information felt wrong but clearly this is a romance in the making and I saw by the blurb of the next story, they will be the main couple. I can't say if I feel like reading it though, considering the writing style and the fear I might be disappointed.

One detail I found weak is the paranormal content. I really don't think this should be considered paranormal romance (there's an author's note explaining this was an attempt to write something different from her usual style) because it's not the big deal it could be in the story, or at least it's not developed as it could. I suppose I wouldn't have minded seeing Kyra using her ability for better reasons or to help others somehow...

Anyway, this ended up being a rather boring story for me, I wasn't that interested in the main characters nor in what they were doing or how they could join forces to escape or punish the bad guy. I'd say the best thing about having read it is that it is now one less book on the pile.
Grade: 5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment