Red Zone by Janet Elizabeth Henderson
Series: Red Zone #1
Published: April 22, 2019 by Entangled: Amara
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Welcome to the new world. Things have changed just a bit. Big Brother’s not only monitoring important things like what toilet paper you buy—it now has direct access to everything you see thanks to the mandatory implant you get at birth. And Friday Jones has seen something she wishes she hadn’t.
Now she has all kinds of undesirables after her—some to straight up kill her and others who want to steal what’s locked in her head. So, she’ll need the help of a ruthless mercenary, Striker, if she has any chance at survival. That he’s a jerk, who she wants to punch in the face, well…a dying woman sometimes has to make tough choices.
Striker’s special abilities have kept him in the shadows for a reason. He has no interest in getting mixed up with the smart-mouthed, hard-headed women no matter how his body reacts. But then he discovers what’s in her head and all bets are off.
From the first page of Red Zone I was really intrigued by the world that Janet Elizabeth Henderson was building and I was curious to see where things were going to go. I had some mixed feelings throughout the book; when I look at it as the first half and the second half I found that the story was really good in the first half but Friday was particularly annoying as a character, however in the second half I actually liked Friday a lot more but felt like the story got a little overly complicated. There were a few info dump areas but overall Henderson does a pretty good job of getting across the post-apocalyptic events that have created the world her characters are currently living in.
Friday was a bit of a mix for me and I’ll admit I didn’t like her in the beginning. She’s supposed to be incredibly smart and inquisitive but Friday’s constant barrage of questions while they’re crossing the Red Zone made her feel a bit like a four-year-old that constantly asks why. She goes from being terrified of the Red Zone to babbling in a way that doesn’t really make her seem smart even though that was supposed to be the intention. As the book progresses, Friday becomes less of a stereotype of a smart but awkward woman and actually becomes more of a three-dimensional character that I really enjoyed reading about. She’s still a little silly and goofy and has a million questions but now she felt like a real person. Striker was your quintessential protective alpha male and while his immediate feelings for Friday came out of nowhere, overall I liked him as a character. Stryker and his team have a lot of secrets to protect and they need Friday’s help to get answers to some of the questions they have. I found their situation to be very unique and I’m really interested in learning more about the team.
As Stryker and Friday travel across the territories running from their enemies, Stryker begins to realize that Friday is more than just special for his team she’s special for him. It came across a bit cliched, but I did enjoy the big bad smuggler becoming a squishy marshmallow where Friday was concerned. There was definitely a faded mates vibe going on with Friday and Striker which wasn’t really explored until the end and even then was still left with some questions as to why and how. I’m hoping the answers to those questions will come later in the series.
While I was a little up and down while reading Red Zone I did enjoy some of its unique and fresh takes on science fiction romance with almost a touch of the paranormal. I’m very interested in some of the ideas and concepts that Henderson has put forward and I’ll be curious to see what she does next.
3 stars – it was good
ARC provided by NetGalley for honest review
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