Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Virtually His by Gennita Low

This book just knocked me on my ass. I read it in one sitting, staying up half the night to reach the last page. Then I laid awake a bit longer trying to figure out how to share this thrill ride without ruining it for others. Everything that happened in this story was a surprise. Determined to tell everyone about this read, I even considered writing up a review and asking Ms. Low to check it for potential spoilers. Then I ditched that idea and figured I’d just be adamant (using the F word a lot) that folks read it, but remain vague as hell.

Then, this morning, I checked Low’s website to see how much of this story she is sharing with readers. Whoa. Quite a bit if you drill into her site and read the blurb for the next book, Virtually Hers. Whew. That makes it easier to review Virtually His, but I can’t say enough about how much I benefited from going into this read completely blind. As far as I knew, Virtually His was the start of a new series for Low. Aside from a few blog posts about the virtual reality technology, I had read little about the story. Hadn’t even read the back cover blurb. I simply ordered it from Amazon and waited for its release. (After reading her backlist last year, Low is an auto-buy for me.)

When I picked up the book, I read the back cover first. The blurb is a cryptic introduction of Helen Roston, the book’s heroine and Low’s newest ‘ultimate secret operative’. Very scifi. Then I read the acknowledgements. Low thanks the individuals who read/critiqued for her along the way and apologized for keeping the hero’s identity from them. Hmmm. I hadn’t read a word of the story yet and already my mind was jumping ahead.

Page one kicks off the story with a classified government memo and is followed by outtakes of Roston’s virtual remote viewing training. This was a really clever way of bringing readers up to speed without the traditional info dump. I call them outtakes because Low infuses each lecture or session excerpt with classroom antics from Helen, her star pupil. Funny and insightful. By the time the story begins, we all know that Helen, aka Hell, is a beloved smartass.

Right away, characters from Low’s previous books show up. While I had already recognized the acronyms of government agencies Low established in earlier stories, I had expected nothing more than mention or reference to those early characters. I was still thinking whole new series, whole new cast. Series slut that I am, I was thrilled to see familiar faces in full attendance to guide and care for the new heroine.

As the project unfolds, Hell continues to endear readers with her wit and determination. All the while, the unnamed hero watches her, his intent questionable, his own character suspect. And she knows he is watching. The effect? There is sexual tension long before their first virtual meeting. That tension is heightened by his formal position as the one in control as well as by his sexual manipulation of her in her first virtual tests. He is her monitor (think handler) during virtual remote viewing and each of his tests serves to bind her to him with unerring trust. Sexy as all get out.

Low deftly uses the imagery of shadow and light and a surround sound echo instead of voice to keep the hero’s cover. She also employs a hilarious device to hide his appearance in later virtual meetings—allowing Helen to create her own image (avatar) of him, fueled by her wicked sense of humor. Every sensation, every image adds to the sensual undertone, pulling the reader into the romance. All the while, Low is carefully assembling the critical pieces that make up the story’s endgame. Cunning, sexy and more than a little devious. You will just shake your head when it all comes together.

We do get the hero’s POV throughout. Not too much, but enough to ensure the reader will not sleep until his identity is revealed. We also get a handful of alpha commandos positioned to execute the final mission. Neither Helen, nor the reader knows the true intent or purpose of each commando. Low cloaks them all in mystery, leaving Helen to wonder who, if any, could be her monitor. As Helen’s need to unmask him escalates, so does the readers’. I was dying here. Trying to imagine each one as the monitor. Even taking a couple of leaps, curious about just how outrageous Low could be. I could not figure it out. Had no fucking clue. Loved that.

I also loved the humor. In one instance, Low introduces a commando during a tension-filled, high-level government briefing. His appearance and the subsequent vampire comment from his peer had me laughing so hard I nearly wet myself. Overall, for every dangerous alpha speaking softly (shiver), there are equal doses of spirited, adolescent banter. Again, sexy as all get out.

So, familiar characters, enticing romance and bulging alphas all headed toward a dangerous mission. What else? Villians, yes. But they don’t take up too much time or space. More like they provide another twist that pops on the next to the last page.

That leaves the hero’s identity and the book’s conclusion. Both of which will kick your ass. When he did finally appear, his description alone stopped my heart. In that instant, Low delivered a wallop that gave new meaning to the concept of pivotal moment. Not saying who he is. And trust me, if you go looking, you’ll find the answer. Don’t. Do. It. Savor this book first.

As for the ending, well…shit, I’m not saying anything about that either. I’ll just say that I was a touched pissed. Didn’t expect that and August is a fucking long way from now.
Buy Virtually His here.


  1. Well hell. And here I thought Cindy Gerard's Into The Dark was compelling. Crap, crap, and double crap. Does this mean I need to read Ms. Low's backlist first being the series slut I am? I guess I better get my ass in gear. I so love a good series. *G*

  2. Fuck yes. LOL! You wanted me to send this to you, right? Well, consider it held hostage until you read up.

  3. Ha! I loved this one too and did the same thing you did and read it all the way through in one sitting. Then, I raced to the computer to find out when the hell the next one came out. When it said on Amazon that it was DECEMBER, I freaked and went to her website. I feel much, much better about August. But still--long freaking way again. I loved it--it was fast, different and intimate. I want more. NOW damn it.

  4. I loved this book!

    BTW, it's not August. She just hasn't changed her website yet. It is indeed December because she's not finished yet!

  5. Whoever you are, Jennifer B, I hate you. I've got V-His right next to me and had decided (against Ms Low's advice, I might add!) to wait till V-Hers came out then read both books back to back. I had some serious pressure from her fans NOT to wait but...well, I knew who the Monitor was already, on account of the several reviews that were published once the book hit the stands so I thought I might as well wait.

    But now, after reading YOUR review, I can't wait till December. Yes, fucking December!!! Oh it was good to use that F-word for once.

    V-Hers has been delayed, not because she hasn't finished it. Jenn told us it's the publisher's decision and that to get two books out within 6 months is already a feat so she can't complain.

    Reason why I want to read Book 1 and 2 back to back? Coz Book 2 is where it really sizzles between Hell and her Monitor, it's where Hell finds out his identity, it's where her Monitor finds himself in love (for the first time, I think) and the Iceman finds himself thawing, drip by drip, until he boils over; V-His was just the cold appetizer. V-Hers, apparently, is when Jenn serves the scorching hot main course.

    Oh man...I'm going to die a slow, agonizing death waiting for December! Jennifer B, I hate you...and will likely hate you more once I start reading V-His - which I plan to do as soon as I finish Karin Tabke's excellent Good Girl Gone Bad.

  6. Great. I see a whole new bunch of books that I am going to have to add to my ever burgeoning TBR pile. This one sounds reallllly good. So, do I HAVE to read her other stuff first or is it just nice to see the characters again?

  7. Shelly, if you like V-His, you will want to read Jenn's back list.

    And if you do read her back list, you MUST read The Protector as one of the secondary characters, Stefan, is majorly connected to V-His but in a way you'll only find out if someone tells you. It blew me away when Jenn told me - and this was way before she even finished writing V-His! The reason the reader doesn't know is because of an editorial cut. Weird, if you ask me, why an editor would mess up a story that badly...but if you do end up reading The Protector, email Gennita Low or join her Yahoo group and ask "Who is Stefan?"

  8. LOLOL!! Jen, I don't believe anyone's ever hated you for aa awesome review before. A first :)

    Her books have been hit and miss for me. This one sounds great. Thanks!

  9. Oh, and Anne, wasn't Into the Dark da bomb? I'll be posting about it in the next day or two (if I find the time - otherwise it waits till the weekend)

  10. Nice to see you here Collette -- despite the bad news you bring. December? Ah well. It will be our gift to ourselves during the holidays.

    Waving to Lauren!

    Elaine you cracked me up! LMAO Thanks for the info on Virtually Hers, coming in December. I look forward to it but plan to avoid all discussion surrounding it. Again, this book was such a thrill ride for me BECAUSE I was in the dark. Had I known even half of what I learned, it would not have been the same. Still good, just not the 3-D, knock you sideways experience.

    Hi Shelly - I'll post the other reviews starting today. All good reads. *G* As for Low, I think you can enjoy Virtually His without having read her backlist. But it will be more powerful if you do. The nice thing is you have time before the next one comes out to read them all. The danger is that you will stumble over info that will ruin some of the surprises for you.

    Lori and Anne - LOL! These responses were great. Only other time that happens is when we post something about Brockmann. And STOP teasing with all the talk of Into The Dark from Cindy Gerard. Looking forward to that one.

  11. I'll put it in the box that I AM SEALING UP TODAY - I SWEAR!!!

    Yes, i'm yelling. Maybe I'll actually move my ass that way :)

  12. You know...I reread this book already. And I was wrong about the hero's POV. We get an equal share. And it is excellent.

  13. I love this review. :) I am a HUGE lover of Gennita Low's books. This book has gotten such mixed reviews, but I completely agree with you.

    I *highly* recommend reading GLow's backlist. You will appreciate the hero much more than you already do when you read the other books. My personal fav is Facing Fear. VERY intense. She just put that exerpt of Virtually Hers up recently. Most of us had no idea who the hero was (aside from guessing).

  14. Thanks for recommending this book. I really liked it. So different and sexy too. Now, for Virtually Hers, to see how to he becomes hers!

  15. Hi Casee and Anon - I'm happy to find others who enjoyed Virtually His as much as I did. I've been a fan of Low's since KarenS recommended her a couple of years back. I ordered her backlist through my library and devoured it. This one, I bought and plan to keep (real rare for me). I know I'll reread it right before picking up its sequel.


Have you read it? What do you think?

Related Posts with Thumbnails