Eve Kenin
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East meets West across time and tradition as three young American women and their Indian immigrant mothers take first steps toward true sisterhood, shattering secrets and sharing joy and tears in Eve Kenin's
Driven (Shomi)

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Driven (Shomi)
Eve Kenin
321 pages
August 2007
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Driven is an exciting story set in a futuristic world of snow and ice where the heroine, Raina Bowen, has had to learn to be self-sufficient, to trust no-one and form no close friendships. She drives a rig transporting grain across the vast icy Northern Waste but, like other independent rig drivers, is at risk from the Pirates as well as the organized trucking gang, the Jansons. Just before her father, died, he arranged for her to receive a special trucking pass for the main highway, meaning she might win a prize to be the first rig to get there - however, she needs to collect the pass from someone called Wizard.

While waiting for Wizard at a rest stop, she finds herself coming to the aid of another lone rig driver who has fallen afoul of the Jansons. Once she has rescued him, she discovers that he is Wizard and that the pass he has for her is worthless. They have larger problems, though, when Wizard's rig is destroyed and he has to travel with Raina. When Raina realizes that her cargo isn't grain but weapons, her plans change again. She decides to give the weapons to the rebels who are trying to dissolve the stranglehold that the evil Duncan Bane holds. Bane is a real enemy to Raina, and when she discovers that the enigmatic Wizard also hates Bane, she finds herself among a group of people about whom she begins to care. As she becomes more fully a part of their group, she discovers that they are withholding a big secret from her, and that she may be part of a complex plot to destroy Bane - which might involve significant danger for her.

Wizard is an interesting character here. Raised by a computer, his speech and behavior seems cold and unfriendly, but his interactions with Raina begin to teach him to feel and understand human emotions. Raina is a feisty, strong, independent woman and a great heroine. Wizard can answer some questions about Raina's own youth and why she's been so successful in the difficult world in which they live.

The denouement with Bane ends rather abruptly and simply, but that isn't the main point of the story, which was Raina and Wizard both learning to rely on and accept other people. The setting of the icy Northern Wastes is well described; the cold, snow and darkness all add to the atmosphere of the story. The plotline never drags, the characterization is well-drawn, and the concept of this story is original. Driven is a book that will be very much enjoyed by many people.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2007

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