Sink or Swim (RELIC #2) by Maz Maddox
Release Date: March 19
Two dinosaur shifters go under cover as an engaged couple on a luxury cruise ship in order to lay their hands on some stolen dinosaur fossils, that’s the premise of this book. Baha is a Spinosaurus and Jackson is some kind of gigantic, flying fur-lizard.
Oh, and they’re gay and secretly has the hots for one another.
When they’re in their human forms.
That feels important to clarify.
So Baha has one personality trait, and that’s grumpy. Meanwhile, Jackson is a sunshine, glass-half-full, kind of guy who isn’t deterred by Baha’s shitty personality in the least.
Baha is a member of RELIC and gets the assignment to retrieve the fossils, Jackson is his ticket onto the cruise ship since it’s owned by Jackson’s slimy, ex boyfriend. And most of the book, those two just schmooze around with the other cruise passengers, trying to convince everyone that they’re actually engaged. And, in my opinion, they didn’t really succeed.
When Jackson introduced Baha to his ex as his fiancé, Baha responded with an outraged “What!” and then refused to even try to blend in or play his part during the rest of the cruise. So, obviously Baha wasn’t really meant for undercover operations. And how Jonas, Jackson’s supposedly experienced criminal ex, didn’t see through their ruse is beyond me. It’s actually not much that is even slightly logical in this storyline. And I guess I shouldn’t let that bother me. It is an utterly quirky story meant to entertain and amuse after all. Yet, it does bother me.
I can accept pretty much any weird story premise, however unlikely. Millions of years old dinosaur shape-shifters? Sure, why not! An evil, artefact auctioneer who happens to be the ex boyfriend of one such shape-shifter? Okay that was weirdly convenient, but bring it on! But I draw the line at entirely illogical details that end up being central to the story.
Royal, the RELIC computer genius who fakes a bitcoin account for Baha, but apparently can’t possibly exceed $1.5 million.
Jonas, the slick criminal who left Jackson for dead years ago, but still lets Jackson join the cruise, etc.
The parts of this story I liked the best were the ones where Baha and Jackson weren’t on the cruise. When they got to know each other when visiting Jackson’s archaeologist friend, when they got drunk and wild in Lisbon. Or when they went all prehistoric on an outing. That was totally charming and genuine.
So I can’t lie, I liked Smash & Grab (RELIC #1) much better. I think one thing that made that story more interesting in my eyes was that only one of the MCs was a dino while the other was human. I find that dynamic to be way more entertaining. Sink or Swim were more of macho posturing, growling and wrestling which I can usually do without.
In conclusion, this read is quirky and weird and mildly entertaining. It’s actually quite difficult to classify. It’s not a romance. Yet it’s not action/suspense/adventure either. It’s some sort of light-weight comedy but without actual laughs.
Basically, this wasn’t my kind of read, but I’m guessing that most people who loved Smash & Grab will love this book too. So, 3.5 stars.
* A free copy of this book was kindly provided by Gay Romance Reviews *