I love sci fi and when I saw the cover for what turned out to be book two of this trilogy, I knew I had to read the whole set. Book one is het, and yes, I do mean there are girlie bits and m/f sex going on. Having said that, it’s very well written and the heroine is no shrinking violet. I quite enjoyed reading all three books and books 1 and 3 were no exception as the strong female lead helped make my day.
Awaiting execution on a foreign planet, Anna Lee has nothing left to lose—until Commander Rehz Akran offers her a chance to escape her fate. Anything is better than death, but when her training for Akran’s mysterious mission begins, the brutality is hard to take . . . especially since Anna has no idea what the workouts, beatings, and endless sexual demands are preparing her for.
Rehz Akran doesn’t deal with failure. He’s determined that his last trainee will survive her immersion in an unimaginably alien world and return alive—even if it means she’ll hate him forever. He needs to stay detached, but his new recruit makes that impossible. Soon he’s willing to defy his own training for a chance to forge a true connection with Anna.
It’s Rehz’s job to teach Anna to survive as a Tribute. And if she does, it’s his task to help her overcome the trauma of the experience. But this time he isn’t doing it to save his planet. This time he’s doing it for love.
Okay, so I wasn’t surprised at the BDSM type elements of the story. I thought I knew where this was going, but boy was I ever wrong. I’m not going to spoil it, but I will say that the beings Anna is being trained as a Tribute for are definitely what you’d probably expect. So much so that I had to pause, blink, take a moment to ask myself, “WTF?!”, shake my head, get up, go make myself a coffee, and then dive right back in.
Having said that, I quit liked the character development and dystopian type atmosphere prevalent in the novel. It’s made quite clear that the training centre is nothing like the rest of the planet, and in fact, the rest of the planet really knows nothing much at all. The government has made some terrible decisions, that much is obvious, but just how wrong those were only come to light when Anna is offered as Tribute and returns when her time is up.
Cheated out of his exit from the Tribute program, Kai Mexr is forced to return as a trainer for one more year. His trainee, Aled Price, is an idealistic Mitan patriot who Kai struggles not to loathe on sight, and who seems up for any challenge Kai sets him. As Aled learns to give up control and endure the program’s worst, Kai is drawn into an intense sexual game that leaves him wanting more.
But then Aled must fulfill his duty as Tribute. He must endure the Ungrich—or die.
When Aled returns, it takes Kai’s ruthless presence to pull his trainee back from the brink of madness. Surviving the Ungrich makes Aled doubt his blind allegiance to his planet—and to everything else he’d never thought to question. But with Kai at his side, Aled finds a new cause to believe in. And with the help of master trainer Akran and his partner Anna Lee, Aled and Kai forge unbreakable allegiances of blood, sex, and love that could save the entire planet from the Ungrich for good.
Kimi: Man, this story goes from bad to worse for these guys. Kai not only survived being a Tribute TWICE but the guy in charge of the program, Palk, cheats him out of exiting the program after doing his stint as a trainer. He’s told he has to train one more if he wants to get out. Aled is a young military recruit with stars in his eyes. He is tricked into volunteering as a Tribute and when he realises that it’s not a military mission, he’s seriously disillusioned. Kai has to train him, but along the way, the two bond and boy is it hot in here just thinking about that…
Anna’s previous stint as Tribute uncovered some hidden truths, but the reason for Aled’s being tricked become all too clear as well, leaving a lot of questions that must be answered. A reckoning is due, let me tell you!
Rehz Akran has had enough of the Tribute program and its sadistic overseer, Palk. When Palk captures Rehz’s mate, Anna Lee, and offers her and Aled Price to the Ungrich for further research, Rehz is ready for rebellion. But first, with the help of Kai Mexr—who wants Aled back just as much as Rehz wants Anna—he must break into the Ungrich world, rescue Anna, and discover why they want her so badly.
The chilling answer to that question lies in Anna’s forgotten origins—origins that Aled shares. To save their lovers, Rehz and Kai must take on Palk and a government that is more than willing to sacrifice Anna and Aled to keep the peace.
The two couples join forces—in more ways than one—and together they discover that they may be capable of defeating two civilizations and changing the course of Mitan history forever.
Kimi: Palk’s been a real douchebag all through books one and two, but in book three he really goes all out. His reasons are partly clear, but it’s only when Anna and Aled are taken and re-offered to the park illegally, that his motives become fully clear. To say they take on the government isn’t completely true- Palk and his cronies have not been completely honest wit the government, and so what our heroes (and heroine) uncover rocks not only them but the government to the core. My only quibble is that ending feels little bit rushed and we’re left kinda hanging. I’d really like to see what happens after.
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