Seleste ARC Reviews: How the Glitch Saved Christmas by Stacy Gail

Reina Vedette chose principle over position when the Chicago police department ordered her to accept performance-enhancing body modifications or lose her rank. Demoted to a level one detective, Reina’s stuck chasing a bizarre, Grinch-in-reverse break-in case with fiery bod-mod enthusiast and level five top detective Edison Wicke.

Wicke has had his eye on Reina for ages, and as the two of them hunt down the benevolent burglar, they take turns warming each other with body heat in the subzero Chicago winter. Despite professional friction and their opposing views on bod-modding, Reina soon has to admit that she and Wicke are perfect for each other.

But when they track down their philanthropic quarry on Christmas Day, an unexpected glitch in a homemade android brings out Reina’s emotional side, and she and Wicke must decide whether love between a Neo-Luddite and a “walking toaster” is a gift that either of them can give.

34,000 words

  • File Size: 256 KB
  • Price: $2.99
  • Publisher: Carina Press (December 3, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009FWZ48W
  • Buy How the Glitch Saved Christmas at Amazon

First, that title… I LOVE that title so much. It was honestly the reason I initially looked into the A Galactic Holiday anthology from Carina Press. Add to the fact I developed a soft spot for glitches after the movie we just saw and I was sold. But I’m going to stick with this glitch for the moment.

World-Building: As this was a novella, the world-building was very focused on the aspects central to the story. In this case, that means the bod-mods, the androids, and the tech. These were handled really well with just enough information to allow the reader to picture them without becoming weighed down in minute details that would have made the story drag. This new Chicago is one that seems very have/have-not divided yet I wasn’t quite sure at any point if that was only in regard to the characters mentioned in the story or if it was a city-wide issue. Assuming this is a stand-alone story and not the beginning of a series, I would have liked to get a better sense of the inhabitants as a whole.

Romance: I’m a sucker for a good enemies to lovers story, and this one didn’t disappoint. From the beginning, it was clear Reina and Edison were hot for each other, even if she saw him as a bit of a interloper. I do wish there’d been more room for Reina to switch gears from her animosity to smexy times. Even though I knew it was coming, it seemed a bit abrupt. Having said that, their smexy times were hot, so…

Characters: I really enjoyed Reina and Edison. As mentioned above, I would have liked to have seen more of their interplay as they shifted from enemies cum partners cum lovers. However, I liked the way she never backed down from anyone, even those she found suddenly out-ranking her. And Edison… He’s hot, he’s smart, and he’s not ashamed to show weakness. Really? Does anymore need to be said about that? The story pretty much was those two with brief appearances by a few secondary characters who weren’t on the page long enough to make much of an impression.

Plot: This is a Grinch in reverse story. Someone broke into the apartment of a mom and her two kids, leaving a Christmas tree and a couple toys. Reina and Edison are called in to investigate. Edison informs lone-wolf Reina that they’re now partners and have to work together. Considering she sees him as the guy who showed up at her precinct, decided he was going to be better than her, and was first in line for the body-modifications she refuses… she’s none too happy about things, especially since she’s also horribly attracted to him. As they are hot on the trail of the non-Grinch, a hiccup in Edison’s mods nudges them toward each other in a moment of public semi-intimacy. In the end, all of the hints brought up throughout the story wrap together nicely with a pretty little bow. I was left with a couple lingering questions involving relationships in the workplace, why the precinct would put their best guy on such a minor case, and (without being spoilery) how the hell the end was going to work out in their rule-based world. While reading, I was completely able to suspend my disbelief. (Too many hours spent watching Castle brought them to mind after though.)

Ultimately, was the story perfect? No. I do think I would have enjoyed it more as a full-length novel where the characters’ relationship would have had more time to grow more organically and we could have seen more of the world and other characters. However, I understand the constraints involved in a novella and sometimes that slower build-up just isn’t possible. At the end of the day, though, How the Glitch Saved Christmas did what any good Christmas story is supposed to–it made me smile. No, more than that, it made me feel good, and it gave me a tiny bit of hope for the humanity in us all.

***FULL DISCLOSURE: Seleste also writes for Carina Press. ***

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