Thursday, 9 February 2017

Dawn Study by Maria V Snyder

Title: Dawn Study
Author: Maria V Snyder
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Date of Publication: January 23rd, 2017
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Summary:


New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder brings her Poison Study series to its exhilarating conclusion.

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person's resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

Review:

This final part of Yelena's story has been a long time coming. Yelena and Valek are one of the most enduring couples in fantasy. Despite each being hated in the other's home country, and being kept separate for much of their relationship by their duty to their respective leaders. With her pregnancy to worry about and the loss of her powers, Yelena is perhaps at her most vulnerable. Despite this, she must convince Sitia's leaders that they are being controlled by magic, and free them of this influence so they can take back power. Valek must face the Commander one last time as his loyalty is pushed to its limits. At stake is not only the fragile peace between Sitia and Ixia, but the fate of all magicians.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

Title: Long Way Home
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Date of Publication: 1st February 2017
Source: Purchased by reviewer

Summary:


Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.


Review:


Violet has had a troubled relationship with the Reign of Terror since her dad died. She broke up with Chevy when he wouldn't choose her ahead of the club, even though it broke her heart. She spent enough time around the club while growing up to see the way they treat women, as property to be protected, or as objects to be used and discarded. Violet intends to be neither. Still blaming the club for the death of her father, her strained relationship with Eli, son of the club president and her father's best friend, is a source of conflict for all concerned. Eli sees it as his job to look after Violet and her mother and brother. Violet wants nothing to do with any of them.

When Violet and Chevy are placed in a life of death situation, Violet finds it difficult to maintain the distance she's created between them. She still loves him, she always has, but can he make the choice to put her first?

Chevy knows that Violet doesn't want him to join the Terror, and neither does his mother. But how can he choose between them and his family? An encounter with The Riot leads him to question what he knows about his father, as well as his own loyalties, and forces him to make the choice he's been avoiding for so long.

I am a big fan of Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series, and I've equally enjoyed the Thunder Road series. It stands alone, separate from Pushing the Limits, but in this book there is a long-awaited crossover which will delight fans of the original series.

In my review of the second Thunder Road book, I commented that I wasn't entirely happy that the objectification of women by the motorcycle club wasn't really addressed. It was just presented as something you had to accept if you wanted to be with a member of the club. Violet refuses to accept it, and it does get a bit more attention in this book.

I was expecting my investment in these characters to have dwindled a bit, but it hasn't. The action and drama start early on, placing a massive burden on both Chevy and Violet, and the tension comes from whether they'll share that with each other, and find a way to mend their relationship, or deal with it alone. I found myself genuinely emotionally invested in their story, and while a HEA might seem inevitable, nothing was certain until the end.

It would have been nice to have seen more of the female characters from the previous books, but that's a very minor gripe.

There is enough here that this book works as a standalone if you haven't read the previous books in the series, but for maximum impact, I would suggesting reading both series in publication order.