Lucky 7 by Rae D Magdon is an intensely hot gender-bending cyberpunk adventure. Right in the beginning we’re introduced to Elena Nevares who is a jacker. In this future world most people have implants that allow them to connect to virtual reality, but while the average citizens are novices in the alternate reality, jackers are the professionals. They hack code from the inside and are vital to any ops team.
The big bad corporation, Axys Generations has killed Nevares’s crew and is after her. Desperately on the run she is hooked up with Sasha Young, whose own team has been scattered and taken by AxysGen.
At first it’s merely a matter of rescuing Sasha’s team which includes herself as the handler, Cherry the engineer, Rami the master of disguise, and siblings Rock and Doc. Doc is a child prodigy doctor and Rock is her highly modified brother that serves at the group’s muscle. However even after they retrieve the missing team members, they find themselves trapped within a spider web of danger, mystery, and violence that they have to traverse and untangle before they can truly be free of Axys Gen’s evil clutches.
Oh wow, the characters are probably one of the highlights of this novel. I’ve rarely seen such a diverse cast, especially with the leads. I hated the mains a little at first but as their singular (and group) depths were revealed I quickly changed my mind.
Sasha is dark skinned and tough, both tall and well-muscled. She is gruff, angry, and mourning the loss of another team member that was killed in the original op that went bad. You find out toward the beginning that sexually, Sasha’s a service top and it’s clear from the beginning that she and Navares are in serious hate/attraction with each other.
Elena Navares is small and Hispanic with a colorful vocabulary of Spanish that adds flourish to many interactions throughout the book. You don’t have to speak Spanish to get the gist of some of the words and phrases that are sprinkled in.
The rest of the cast includes Cherry, who seems to be a transgender woman, her lover Rami, who is portrayed as non-binary and referred to as “they” throughout the book. I like how smoothly Rami is written and that detail could go a long ways to educate and acclimate readers who are unfamiliar with the identity and accompanying pronoun.
Last we have Doc, who is nothing more than a child who is barely a teen if that, and her older brother Rock, who is mute by choice. The cast is easily one of the richest and most interesting I’ve ever read.
One last thing I feel like I have to add here is the heat. As passion is sometimes known to do, the chemistry between Elena and Sasha starts angry and heated. It is filled more with anger and hot attraction than any sort of deep emotion. But as we go through the book, loyalties are tested with each newly revealed secret and that anger falls by the wayside. However, the sexual heat certainly does not. The scenes are intense enough that I probably shouldn’t have read them at work on my lunch.
The Writing Style
Lucky 7 is a fast-paced adventure that pulls you along for the ride. The first half is written from Elena Navares’s viewpoint and the second half (after a revealed major secret) is written from Sasha’s view. I didn’t find it clunky or awkward before or after the switch. And while I wouldn’t normally like such a switch mid-book, because in first person you kind of become invested with the character, it made sense. It allowed me, the reader, to connect to the other main character and understand her anger, fear, and confusion inside her head throughout the book.
This is my first Magdon novel and from all appearance it seems the author is quite exceptional at writing not just good action, but emotion as well in the science fiction realm.
I’m always on board with a good adventure and when you throw in some romance, science fiction, deep characters, and great character development, it’s a win all the way around. Magdon does a good job of pulling the reader into the virtual world and at times it almost seems like you’re reading a fantasy or are trapped inside a video game. You don’t have to be a programmer to get what’s going on. On top of the other things I mentioned above I think that technical generality really helps add to the book’s appeal across a wide spectrum of readers.
It might have been interesting to touch more on the other character’s back stories, especially Elena. Perhaps there will be a sequel and things will be brought up more at that time.
I have to say I really enjoyed Lucky 7. It was recommended to me by multiple people (glad I have book friends who know me so well) and I’m so happy I got the opportunity to review it.
The plot was crazy with action, the characters were thick with personality and depth, and there was chemistry between Elena and Sasha that I was really on board with. I also appreciated the character development that each went through to get to the end of the book.
And on the subject of endings, it was happy and hot, two great things that I love to see. But you’ll have to read it to see what the very end entails. It will certainly leave you wondering and hoping for a new book for the team known as the Lucky 7.
My prognosis, this is a book that will make you really #THINK, and make you want to #DISCUSS it after you’ve put it down.
Bonus note: You’ll want to translate the binary code at the very end. Seriously, do it.
Excerpt from Lucky 7 by Rae D Magdon
“The Hole?” I repeat, looking at Sasha. “Why do you call it that.”
Sasha shrugs. “Because it’s underground. Why else?”
The shuttle slows to a stop, and its engines switch off. Sasha unfastens her safety harness, but because of her height, she has to duck to keep from hitting the ceiling when she stands. Rock has it even worse. He has to fold himself up to avoid bumping his head. For once, I’m happy to be short.
Sasha opens the side doors. In a dimly lit garage. Loud gusts of wind blow somewhere outside, and the air is frigid enough to show the silvery mist of my breath. I unfasten my belt and clamber to my feet, holding the wall until my numb legs regain feeling.
“How long have I been out?”
Sasha answers me for once. “A couple hours.”
I grimace. Was I sleeping on her the whole time? “Sorry.”
Sasha ignores me and climbs out of the Eagle, turning back to extend her hand. I stare at it in surprise. So far, she hasn’t been what I’d call chivalrous. Before I can accept the offer, Rock’s bulk fills most of the exit. Sasha guides him down instead, and as he drops to the ground, I notice he’s shaking. Whatever AxysGen did to him, it’s bad.
“Is he going to be okay?” I ask, hopping down after him.
Sasha sighs. “You never stop with the questions, do you?”
“Considering I almost died today, I think I’m entitled to some answers.”
Sasha ignores me, circling around the Eagle. “Doc? Rock doesn’t look too good. Better get him to the med bay.”
Doc hurries over. “On it. Come on, Rock,” she says, grabbing hold of his elbow and guiding him away from the Eagle. Rock obeys, allowing her to lead him onto a wide metal platform. “Val, can you get the lift?”
“Yes, Doc,” Val says, from speakers I assume are somewhere in the garage. “Initiating descent.” The platform begins to move, descending into darkness.
I think about following, but Sasha’s still standing nearby. She’s half in and half out of the Eagle, rummaging through a storage bin bolted to the floor just under the armory.
“Want me to put my pistol back?” I ask, walking over to stand at her shoulder.
Sasha shakes her head. “No. You’ll need it to defend yourself…from me, if you don’t stop with the interrogation.”
“It’s not an interrogation.”
“Could have fooled me.”
My jaw clenches. I’m not the type to make friends with coworkers—or at all. Watching my old crewmates die was horrible, but they were business partners—acquaintances. I don’t need Sasha to be my friend, but we have to get along, because her dislike could be very hazardous to my health. More fights are coming, and I need her to watch my back.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781942976769
- Publisher: Desert Palm Press
Rae D Magdon Online
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