3 out of 4 stars
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When you work protecting the interests of the most powerful nation on Earth, how do you know who to trust?
Cynthia Patterson works as the chief investigator and bodyguard for Senator Mike McBride, and she's, at the same time, waging a cyber war against USA's terrorist enemies, along with her brother and a team of tech geniuses. So, when she meets charming but mysterious Sky Eastman and she's swept off her feet, the stakes are much higher than in a typical romance, and complications get greater than she could've predicted.
Cynthia and Dan: Cyber War by Dorothy May Mercer is a blend of thriller and romance. I enjoyed much more the romance plot than the terrorism one, mainly because I think the suspense is underdeveloped and the ending was predictable.
I found two main problems in Cynthia and Dan: Cyber War: the character development and the lack of congruence and realism in some parts. Cynthia is not only supposed to be a grown-up woman living in a developed nation in the XXI century but, also, bold enough to work as head of security and wage a cyber war. However, she's naive and infantilized beyond what I consider believable or acceptable. I understand the idea of suspending disbelief for the sake of literature, but this is taken to an extreme and I neither think it's congruent nor I approve of it as a role model. I can't give away too much, but suffice it to say she's even referred to as “young lady” by one of her love interests. The dialogues and reactions seem unnatural and exaggerated at times. I also found some contradictory or plain strange references, such as cyber experts using an outdated platform such as MySpace.
A core subplot of the book focuses on women's reproductive rights, and this was my favorite asset of the novel. Not only do I find it commendable that the author approaches such a sensitive and important topic, but she also discusses the consequences of certain decisions without fear-mongering but with realism. At the end of the book, the author offers a list of resources for anyone who needs or wants to expand their knowledge on unplanned pregnancies, emergency contraception, abortion, and reproductive rights. This is a controversial subject, and it might upset some readers.
The novel is very complete, as the author offers a brief chapter of endings and loose ends, where she lists possible doubts the reader could have, solves some of them and plants some new questions and possible cliffhangers that open the possibility for new stories.
I heard the book on Audible, narrated by Scott Ellis. Although the narrator makes an excellent performance, I would have enjoyed hearing it in a feminine voice since most of the book is narrated from Cynthia's point of view. Because I heard the book instead of reading it, I can't tell if it has typos, but there aren't any noticeable grammar mistakes.
There is a brief erotic scene that's not too graphic and, in the audiobook, it's previewed with a warning that R rated content comes ahead. The book doesn't contain any profanities, which, honestly; I found unrealistic considering the content.
For the relevant and current social issues approached, as well as the entertaining plot, I rate Cynthia and Dan: Cyber War by Dorothy May Mercer 3 out of 4 stars. I subtracted one star because of the underdeveloped characters and lack of realism.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who's looking for a light read with a little mystery and romance. Those interested in politics, terrorism, technological warfare, and women's reproductive rights will find it interesting. Readers who are looking for surprising and unpredictable thrillers full of twists might find the plot disappointing. I wouldn't recommend this novel for fantasy fans either. People bothered by the controversy surrounding women's reproductive rights, abortion, and emergency contraception should stay away from this book.
Cynthia and Dan
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