Genres: Sci-Fi Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on December 1, 2018
Source: Kindle Unlimited
After reading The Last Marine a couple years ago, I was impressed with the story’s futuristic sci-fi world building, character development, romance, intrigue, and action. Imagine my supreme delight to spot that a follow up story was out and focused on one of the characters who came in near the end of The Last Marine showing he was definite hero material.
Wretched could be read out of order or standalone, but I definitely enjoyed the tie to the earlier book particularly when the scene shifted to include the Last Marine setting and characters, but also fun knowing the part Donovan Reese played in that story.
So, now its Donovan’s turn to be the main character. He’s a guilt-ridden, scarred and war-torn veteran with a tarnished hero feel. He sees himself as a failure and now he’s in the worst trouble of his life. He and his business partner, Macie were working as bounty hunters and entered Vladset space to get their man when the warrior race took them captive instead. The Vladset queen gives him the ‘choice’ of marry her daughter or die. Well then…
Celeka has been the disappointment to maman since birth with her ugliness and her failure to be a true Vladset now maman has married her off to a human as part of some deep game she is playing. Celeka doesn’t know what to make of her new husband who treats her with dignity and respect. But, he doesn’t know her secrets or what she looks like under her cloth wraps. When he does, he may seek to kill her. She is torn between two loyalties and somehow the pair of them must find a way through the danger that hunts them from both sides because many lives are at stake when war is eminent.
Like the first book, Wretched is blessed with complex world building in its alien cultures and futuristic situation for earth. Earth is in shambles after war and the fallout of a leadership vacuum so that it is not the big bad in the galaxy. A consortium of planets who all follow the same rules are the closest thing to a governing body that hold the power to allow trade with other worlds or sanction them. Vladset is ruled by a cruel dictator-queen who would rather make war than follow anyone’s rules except her own and now she has discovered source material for a secret weapon.
And, that secret weapon material is now coveted by more than one party who want to use it to hold the power. I enjoyed seeing how Donovan and Celeka’s story fit in with this broader story to give it a strong intrigue element. The romance was spicy- oh so spicy, but at the same time slow burn because they have to figure out cultural differences, their secrets, and their own personal issues that get in the way.
Macie was a scene-stealing side character and I loved his camaraderie not just with Donovan who was his business partner and close friend, but also between Macie and Celeka.
The last quarter of this book was one huge rush. There were a few twists, some big fight scenes, and some great resolution moments in the characters’ personal growth and their romance. I loved the hints at maybe a few more stories for side characters in this Last Hero world.
Those who love exciting, but spicy sci-fi romance should definitely pick up this book/series.