As I put the final touches on my own cyberpunk romance, Unacceptable Risk, I’ve also been doing some reading in the genre. Samhain Press (which will also be publishing Unacceptable Risk) recently released Cybershock, a trio of cyberpunk novellas, which I snapped up immediately.
Here’s my take on the first, Gridlock by Nathalie Gray.
Four Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ (4.0/5.0)
Nathalie Gray has crafted an incredible world in Gridlock. Set in a dark, gritty city run by an all-powerful AI known as the Grid, the story centers around Steel, a damaged woman who has been fighting all her life to survive, and Dante, a vigilante looking to take revenge against the Grid for all it did to him.
The story is at its strongest when it’s focused on the action and on the harsh world in which the two characters find themselves. The writing is visceral and the pace breakneck in the very best of ways, and I loved Gray’s descriptions of the city and how it came to be the dangerous, illicit place it is today.
I also really enjoyed the characters, especially Steel, who is as hard as her name would imply. She kicks ass, takes names, and shows no remorse for her actions. If you like a strong female lead, this book is definitely for you.
If I have any criticism at all, it’s that the romance felt a little rushed, and while I was enthralled by Dante’s backstory, I would have liked more time to get to know him as a character.
That said, I recommend Gridlock without reservation as a past-paced, action-packed romance/adventure set in a unique and thrilling setting.