By Derek Gunn
They live ordinary lives, but they are extraordinary. They are the Offspring, children of a mysterious experiment gone awry—and they are in terrible danger. The Offspring series is about a group of twenty-somethings who live ordinary lives but possess extraordinary psychic abilities. They are the Offspring of parents involved in a mysterious experiment gone awry. They are being hunted by the government and others like them. Together they must find the truth and fight an enemy out to destroy them.
BEYOND THE DARKNESS is the fifth in the Offspring series by Jaime Rush and follows the exploits of characters that will be well familiar to readers of the series. Jaime Rush is also known as Tina Wainscott and has written many books before this series. There are a lot supernatural romance series at the moment featuring vampires and fairies and the like, so it was refreshing to find one that features characters with abilities created through experiments and who have a firm foothold in reality, well, fictional reality anyway, with a little parallel world thrown in for good measure.
It is difficult to start reading a series this far in and catch all the nuances and character traits that the series has laid down in previous books. Although it can be read as a stand-alone book this is not really a series where you can just jump in. There is a long history that has changed the characters to what they are now and relationships that have left certain characters unsure of themselves and unready to move on that take a while to get the hang of if you haven’t been following the story. If, however, you have read the first four books then you will find no problems with continuity and will enjoy this new instalment.
It took quite a few chapters before I got the hang of who’s who and why people reacted as they did. Of course, after I managed to get through it I found that there is a really useful page on the author’s website that gives a crash course on who’s who which is well worth reading.
This book features Petra and Cheveyo who have a strange relationship. I won’t even try to explain all the issues they have on the relationship front as they each have baggage from the previous books. Suffice it to say they love each other but aren’t about to make it easy and let each other know. Cheveyo stole Petra’s heart and then walked away without a word, leaving her devastated, well that’s her take on it anyway. Cheveyo is a shapeshifter and appeared in previous books where he saved Zoe and since then has had a thing for Petra. Unfortunately he has a bigger destiny and can’t let relationships get in the way. He hasn’t abandoned her though, he has been watching Petra and her friends from the shadows – and no, this is not a creepy stalker scenario. When a supernatural force threatens them he is forced to emerge to protect her. But can he stay focused with Petra so close?
Petra Aruda is not really confident in herself. She has healing and hearing abilities but wants to live a normal life. She is trying to move on, going out on dates, but can’t really shake the memory of Cheveyo. A friend, Pope, comes to her and asks her to contact Cheveyo. Pope saved Petra’s life in a previous book and she has to brave her feelings to make contact. The relationship between Cheveyo and Petra see-saws relentlessly through the book, and I am not going to tell you the outcome, or even if there is one. This latest threat though will force Petra to become more of a warrior than merely a pawn or she risks losing her friends and her life.
Up to now the main threats have been mainly Governmental but Rush launches the series in a new direction in this book introducing an extraterrestrial threat that will take the series to a different level and allow her to expand the storylines accordingly. The series is full of action, the scenes are well executed unlike many books in this genre and romance, you won’t be disappointed with these either.
I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to ask Jaime a few questions about her writing and what’s coming up.
When did you decide that writing was what you wanted to do?
I’ve always had an imagination for stories. I used to make up “movies” with my friends, directing and acting as we went. We would run through the neighborhood, climb billboards, and have sparking-gun fights with the enemy. So even though I went to community college for a time taking business courses, I knew I wanted to write. In fact, I would daydream about the current book in class, and that’s when I decided to take a year off from college (I was also working full time) and write. I never looked back.
How do you write? Do you have a ritual, do you plan out every detail or do you see where the story leads?
I have a good idea about the story and characters before I start a book. I never consider anything concrete, but I do generally stay on course.
What are your views on the eBook phenomena— is it a help or a hindrance?
I think it’s great and it’s a deterrent. It’s great that so many authors who were cut loose from traditional publishing contracts because of numbers now have other avenues to stay in the business and make a living from it. The stigma of self-pubbing is gone. On the other hand, it’s creating a glut in the market, a lot of competition. I too am bringing back my out-of-print titles, so I can’t complain! But it’s been very gratifying to see my books get a life of their own again.
If you were given one paragraph to convince people to buy your novel what would it say?
I’ve always done my own thing, for better or worse, so each book in my series is structured differently than the ones before. Even my shifter (who surprised me because I’ve never written shifter characters) comes from a different background; he’s not a typical were-creature. If you liked X-FILES and LOST, my books are definitely for you!
In between work and writing do you have any time to read? Who do you enjoy most?
Not much, but I’ve always got a book going. A lot of times I read in snippets. One of my favorite authors is Ilona Andrews.
The sixth book in the Offspring series, DARKNESS BECOMES HER, comes out in June 2012. I’m also playing with an exciting new idea, and I’m always (it seems) working on an e-release of my backlist.
For anyone out there who loves steamy supernatural stories with a big dollop of action then this is for you. Of course, if Jeaniene Frost and Vicki Pettersson are your cup of tea then I’m sure you already have Jaime’s books. But, in the event that you may have missed them, get yourself down to the book shop or fire up your e-reader and get reading. You won’t be disappointed.
Missing the romance and action of her favorite television shows, X-Files, Roswell, and Highlander, New York Times bestselling author Jaime Rush created her own mix in the Offspring series, from Avon Books. The Offspring: Sexy…dangerous…outcasts. They possess extraordinary abilities, and together they must find the truth and fight an enemy out to destroy them.
Visit Derek at: www.derekgunn.com.