It’s always fun to be surprised by a book you never expected to land on your lap. THE RIVER OF NO RETURN was not a book on my radar until one day I received an email that brightened my eyes and made me determined to read this debut by author Bee Ridgway. It’s a book that blends genres to the point where the word genre no longer makes sense – it’s science fiction, historical, romance, action-adventure, mystery, and so much more. And trust me, it might be close to 500 pages, but it gripped me and refused to let me go until the very last word.GENRE BENDING FUNWhile THE RIVER OF NO RETURN is a hard book to peg to any genre, it’s a book that takes the best of things from different categories of fiction and creates a mind-bending experience. Following Nick (an English marquess taken from a Spanish battlefield and sent to the year 2000 as he is about to die) and Julia (a young spinster who is one of the most powerful manipulators of time ever, even if she doesn’t realize it), THE RIVER OF NO RETURN takes place at multiple times, from current day back to 1815, where Nick is dispatched by The Guild to hunt down the Ofan. Or so he thinks…THE RIVER OF NO RETURN takes genres, throws them in a blender, and pours out a giant delicious smoothie of flavors, times, characters, and sensations. The characters are (mostly) well constructed and portrayed, even if there are a few clunkers, such as the underuse of Nick’s mother and stereotypical use of Nick’s sister and Julia’s best friend Bella. And of course there are characters with secret agendas, hidden identities, and realities that are uncovered with each page.TWISTS AND TURNSOne of the best things about THE RIVER OF NO RETURN is the fact that when you think you’ve figured the story out, you realize that you were very, very wrong. I still have theories about what will happen in book two, and theories that were soundly debunked in book one. Sometimes, that character you think is the bad guy all along isn’t the bad guy after all. Or is he? Really, I still don’t know. But that ending! Trust me, you will be salivating over the very idea that book two (and eventually book three) will be coming to you, complete with more twists and turns and romance.VERDICT: One of my favorite novels of 2013 so far, THE RIVER OF NO RETURN is a sensational mix of historical romance and action-packed science fiction that will appeal to fans of literary fiction and genre delights. A definite must read.