Reading Level: adult, YA
Source: a copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Hemophiliac and ace mechanic Ethan Hayes had risen to the top of the computer gaming circuit as the Scarab. When he invented a new device that made him rich over night, he and Mary Ann were able to enter SimCon, the simulated European road race, like Cinderella at the ball. After he stumbles across a cyber-criminal ring, they kidnap Mary Ann to silence him. Now, it's up to the Scarab to save her.
I have to admit that I had a hard time with this one. The writing was fine, but the techie quality just went way over my head. It took a very long time for me to find my pace because I felt like I was reading techno jargon over and over again. That would be my one complaint.
What I did like is more important. I liked the characters. They were believable. You had a man with genuine concern for the love of his life. He also had a long list of very real reasons why he couldn't marry her, despite his desire. That made me feel sorry for him. Of course, all of that changed seemingly overnight. He became this amazing super smart millionaire. Gotta love that.
His love interest, Mary Ann, is this bad ass female cop. She can kick anyone's butt and you almost dare someone to try. It seems like she's a walking contradiction. She gorgeous and intelligent, yet she has a mean street-wise streak that would make Al Capone cower. She's hard core.
The SimCon race was pretty intense. Once I made myself ignore the techie aspect of the plot, I was able to focus on the content. There were a few diabolical schemes floating around. You had major subterfuge and blackmail, among other things. Anyone that likes James Bond style action would enjoy this read. There were plenty of car chases and an aura of mystery that could keep you interested.
I don't really think this fits in the YA genre. It seemed geared more towards adults--particularly the male audience. Maybe that's just my take though. I don't see my students being able to comprehend the intricate detail that went in to describing the SimCon race and the cars. I feel like all of that would have gone over their heads.