Monday, March 7, 2016

Review: Torn (Life Tree - Master Trooper #1) by Alexa Kim

Book coverTorn (Life Tree - Master Trooper #1) by Alexa Kim
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: star star star star

Heat rating: Flame  Flame  Flame  Flame

Anno 2354. Earth’s government had a breakthrough in their top secret research project Life Tree. They’ve created perfect soldiers whose abilities exceed scientists’ expectations, thanks to the predator sequence in their DNA. Now project Life Tree is entering phase two, genetic reproduction of the Master Trooper.

Betrayed by her boyfriend and sentenced to penal servitude for drug possession, Larona finds herself among several other women en route to the convict colony on Mars. Turns out it’s not Mars they land on, but planet Terra Alpha, where the women are to be part of a research project.

There, Larona is chosen for program INBREED – she’s to bear the child of a Master Trooper. Her body is no longer hers, but a possession of Life Tree. Upon meeting Torn, who seems to have no qualms about carrying out Life Tree’s orders, Larona is absolutely desperate…

Torn has proven himself as above-average in combat and every test. That’s why he was chosen for program  INBREED – to pass on his genes – a task others envy him for because it means luxury in between tours: vacation time, good food, and clean women.

Torn never had any reason to doubt Life Tree, and especially INBREED is a duty he enjoys. To him, women just serve to satisfy a bodily need… but it’s different with Larona. When she tries to kill herself, Torn starts to question Life Tree. Because he’s developing feelings for Larona that he, as a Master Trooper, isn’t even supposed to have…

Alexa Kim has written a futuristic tale with primal alpha males and fascinating world building, bringing us genetic engineering and life manipulation.

Wow! I was not expecting to enjoy this story as much as I do, but I did. I was concerned I would not enjoy the book as much and have issues with the German to English translation. Nothing to worry about there. The translation, while not flawless, is excellent. There are a few points in the text where it could have been translated / edited a little better, but overall nothing to be concerned about or to throw the reader out of the story while reading.

I don't even know where to begin to point out all the things I loved about this story. On the surface it's a simple tale of genetically engineered males finding their mates, but beyond that, there is a society of men bred for war, who have never known anything else other than the life they have been given, while being controlled by rules, confined to certain parts of the planet and manipulated for a larger, greedier organization bent on creating the super soldier. These men are bred, live and breathe the rules they are given to live within until a single female comes along and tells them life is different on the home planet, where there are choices, where people are given free will and they can live how they please, love who they please and be with them as long as they please. This brings about a sea change in these men, triggered by the love of one Master Trooper for his captive girl of the moment, who has been award to him as a prize for good behavior and performance but turns out to be so much more.

Torn is your super soldier, bred and trained for war, with super everything. He's bigger than most men, stronger, faster, more lethal. He's also a dominant, controlling alpha male and I love that in a hero. He's basic and primal. He takes what he wants, he conquers and dominates, but with Larona at least, he is able to curb some of his baser, more primitive instincts to help her trust him and develop feelings for him. I love that he's possessive and protective and even gets jealous over an old boyfriend who is so far out of his reach to pulverize when Larona shares her past with him and he feels the need to right the wrongs wrought upon her. But if I had to point to one thing which blew me away about this story, it would be how incredibly alpha Torn is.

Larona starts off utterly terrified of Torn. I'm surprised by the degree of her terror, which seems somewhat out of proportion to the situation to the extent that she attempts suicide. As she gets to know Torn, her fear is replaced by desire. This is a romance after all. She's your typical submissive heroine. I won't call her weak but she's certainly very helpless in these circumstances, from being sentenced to life on a penal colony of Mars (that gets diverted to Terra Alpha) to being given to Torn and then being taken away from him again. She has very few choices left to her and very little way of protecting herself, very much a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. Fortunately, Torn is up to the task.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I am looking forward to Crow's story in book 2 coming soon. I saw on Ms Kim's Facebook page that it's currently being translated.

View all my reviews


My heart stops in my chest. He’s standing at the edge of the pool, watching me. There’s a dark glint in his eyes, an ungoverned blazing, while he’s simply staring at me. In that moment, I know he’s in a dangerous mood. I’m suddenly aware of the skimpy bathing suit… and realize with terror that it’s practically see-through now that it’s wet. That’s almost worse than being naked… because I can see how it’s actively inspiring Torn’s fantasies.
For a few seconds, we only stare at each other…

About the author

auAlexa Kim is a German author of hot sci-fi and fantasy romance books, usually with a dark touch. She used to be a regular with trade publishers for over ten years before she decided to try and make her own way as an indie author under the pen name Alexa Kim. In 2014, she hit it off with her MASTER TROOPER series, and she’s since been in Germany’s Amazon bestselling list on a regular basis.

When she’s not writing, she’s either indulging her hobby—singing—or spending time with a book and her two cats.

Author links: Website (German) - Website (English) - Facebook

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