Rating: 3.5 stars
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On the planet Breasor, Tramp Chal Farnsmith is the strongest of his kind. He is able to flash between multiple universes quickly without tiring. Because of that, Chal is highly sought after for his special abilities. He also has a choice of the cases that he takes. He doesn’t need to work, but chooses to so that he can keep busy. Truthfully, Chal would like someone to come home to. A witness to the love between his two friends, Alden and Percy, and tired of one night stands and a failed attempt at a relationship, Chal is ready to settle down with someone who could possibly love him back. A recurring dream with a beautiful unknown Thief asking for Chal’s protection gives Chal something to look forward to when he goes to bed.
When Chal is approached by Mr. Coldston about taking on a new assignment, Chal knows right off the bat that something is wrong with this job. Coldston wants Chal to hunt down a Thief named Palmer. Even after Coldston’s explanation, Chal feels that something is off. However, he agrees to take it on, even though it doesn’t feel right, if only to solve the mystery.
Palmer Holmes was born a Thief. At age ten, he was abandoned by his parents and by age fifteen he trusted Coldston to take care of him, only to find out that he had put his faith the wrong man. Palmer has been looking over his shoulder for months now, ever since he escaped after seven years in the virtual prison Coldston kept him locked in. As a Thief, Palmer is able to take anything easily, including a person’s soul and identity, but that’s murder and Palmer refuses to attempt it. Palmer knows that it’s only a matter of time before Coldston catches up to him, but he also has to try to keep his freedom. Palmer doesn’t want to become a cold-blooded killer. He just wants to be free to live his life. For months Palmer has dreamed of a Tramp he thought to be a figment of his imagination, asking the Tramp for help. When that same Tramp shows up in the diner where Palmer works, he’s not sure if he should stay or run.
Chal is unsure why he feels such an attraction to the Thief. Even more, he doesn’t understand how Palmer can be the man from his dreams. Although the attraction is immediate and strong, Chal is determined to figure out the truth about this case. The more Palmer opens up about Coldston and his shady business, the more Chal feels the overwhelming need to help and protect Palmer. Just as their attraction comes to a boiling point, they are forced to flee to Beasor when Coldston’s men track them down. Back on Beasor the situation has not changed. Chal is forced to leave Palmer with friends in order to find a way to keep him safe. But when Palmer is kidnapped, Chal will do anything to get him away from Coldston, even if he must do it alone.
Tramps is the second book in The Beasor Chronicles series by T.A. Chase and I haven’t read the first installment in the series. I haven’t read this author’s work in a while and I had a lot of hopes for this book, but it ended up falling short for me. Truthfully, I remember now that I like her more contemporary work; the sci-fi and paranormal sub-genres leave much to be desired.
The main characters, Chal and Palmer, are likeable enough, although I found that I liked the secondary characters better. I didn’t feel much of a connection to the main characters, much less feel a connection between them. Chal and Palmer, were both well-developed, individually. But as a couple, in a relationship, I didn’t feel their connection.
The storyline was good, well thought out, and kept me interested. It was creative, combining sci-fi with a little detective work and a love story. But the execution was a little weak. At times, the story felt choppy. The dialogue didn’t sound realistic and was sometimes cheesy. It was somewhat short and disconnected. Also, the transitioning in scenes wasn’t very smooth. It was odd. One moment the main characters would be talking about the inconsistencies of Coldston’s story and the next moment they would be having sex. There were a few times in the story that would happen – normal conversation then all of the sudden they were having sex. I didn’t get it. I would have preferred a smoother segue leading into the intimacy; as it stands it felt disconnected and forced.
The roles of Tramps, Thiefs, Gypsies, and non-magical Beasors were described well and I appreciated that or I would have been lost, although the story could have used more world-building. Beasor is described to be more advanced than Earth, but from what I gathered the only difference was the hover sleds that transported people from point A to point B – like flying cabs. It was said that Beasor is brighter and cleaner than Earth – colors shine brighter in Beasor and pollution isn’t a factor. Councils rule the three areas of magical Beasors and there is even a Thief Training Facility. But other than that, Beasor seems a lot like Earth with pubs and diners, businesses and residential areas. I would have liked more description of the area, more explanation as to why Beasor is technologically superior to Earth, although this information might have been part of the first book.
There was quite a bit of repetitiveness. For example, this group of sentences if from the same conversation within a few paragraphs of each other:
“Something has been off about this fucking job since the beginning.”
“Something about the job being off from the beginning.”
“I haven’t felt right about this job from the beginning.”
A little variation on words could have cleared that right up.
There was also a timing issue towards the end of the story that had me scratching my head. At one point Chal was told that they only had a couple hours to rescue Palmer. And the actual event that led to the rescue only seemed like a matter of hours while reading the story. But later, after the rescue, Palmer makes a statement about being held by Coldston overnight, and Chal states that they had to wait a day before they could make the attempt to rescue Palmer. It was all very confusing to me.
In the end, even though the storyline was decent and the characters likable, given the lack of connection I felt with the between the characters, the weak world-building, repetitiveness, and timing issues, I just didn’t enjoy this story as much I had hoped to. Unfortunately, the flaws simply outweighed the perks.
Cover Review: The wonderful cover from Posh Gosh gave me more of a visual for the world of Beasor than the words of the story. The depictions of Chal and Palmer follow right along with the character descriptions within the story and are very beautiful. Well done.