***** There will most definitely be spoilers. I’m not sure how to write this review any other way. You have been warned.******
So what happens after the walls of Eden come down and the Sectors are finally free to live, laugh and love?
Good stuff. Lots and lots of good stuff.
If you are a Sector Four fan and have followed the Beyond series from Jasper and Noelle straight through to Ryder and Nessa then you’ve previously met the hero of the first book of the Gideon’s Riders series, Ashwin. If you are a Kit Rocha virgin and have decided to pick this book up because you’ve heard you can read it as a stand-a-lone, (which I totally think you can) then you are in for a treat.
Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier, genetically engineered to be stronger, faster, and smarter. He has been conditioned since a young boy to forgo feeling and emotions. Ashwin looks at everything strategically and through the eyes of a warrior. The only exception to this is Dr. Kora Bellamy. He’s never been able to keep her off his mind, and has even broke conditioning by fixating on her and her safety. There is nothing Ashwin won’t do to keep Kora safe. Nothing.
Kora was once Ashwin’s doctor in the Makhai project. Despite having grown up in Eden and groomed to be a desensitized doctor by her adoptive father, she repeatedly broke the rules in order to provide better care for her patients. She has never believed the line that Ashwin and his fellow Makhai soldiers were unable to feel emotion. Her fascination for him grows over the years and seems to come to a head when he kidnaps her on behalf of fellow soldier Lorenzo Cruz in order to save Cruz’s lover Ace in Beyond Jealousy.
Things kind of heated up after that, Ashwin became even more obsessed with Kora. She gets her taste of freedom after saving Ace’s life and she decides to use her skills outside of the walls of Eden. Ashwin becomes determined to save Kora from everything around her, including himself. He tries to separate himself from her and uses Cruz’s debt to keep her safely away from him. When the walls come down, in the midst of the chaos of the bullets flying and people fighting, Ashwin becomes enraged when he sees Kora in danger and basically loses his shit. Which scares Kora half to death and in turn sends Ashwin off, ready to go through the painful act of reprogramming his feelings for Kora out of him.
Now it’s several months later, and Kora has settled into Sector One. Gideon Rios has adopted Kora into the royal family and she feels accepted for the first time in her life. The only thing missing is the soldier who she didn’t realize she loved until he never came back from the war. Then suddenly he shows up one day, sent in to infiltrate the Riders and the Rios family.
I’m pretty by now everyone knows how much I adored the Beyond series. I remember reading the last book in the series and then immediately tweeting to the authors about how much I adored Ashwin and how badly I wanted his story to be told. I think the reply back was something like… “you’ll be happy with the first book in the new series then.” And yeah, I was pretty excited. I think the visual of the Riders all ready to ride into Eden and fight to the death in Beyond Surrender kind of set off the spin-off series perfectly. In this first book all the Riders are finally introduced and readers are able to really get a good handle on Gideon and how he holds power in Sector One through faith and goodness and loyalty. He isn’t at all like Dallas, but he is just as wonderful of a leader.
Now that the war is over, everything is different. Including Ashwin and Kora. They are finally able to have a chance together. That is if Ashwin will let himself believe his feeling for her. If he can get past his fear of hurting her and just lets her gentle, soothing nature heal him. There is just something about such a cold and unfeeling hero finally opening himself up to that ONE PERSON who he values above all others that gets me every time. There are times that he fucks up and does the wrong thing, thinking he is protecting her, but he’s trying to figure it all out. There is this sense that both Kora and Ashwin are not only finding acceptance with each other, but finding a sort of chosen family as well. Which to be honest, is one of the things I’ve always loved the most about the Beyond series, so I’m glad to see that theme continued on in the new series.
So far I’m so intrigued by the Riders and who these authors seem to be setting them up with. I’m also fascinated by the religion of the Sector and am looking forward to learning more about it. For me this first book in the new series was just as consuming and addicting as its predecessors. I’m so ready for what comes next. Deacon? Deacon and Ana? Yes, please. Gimme. Final Grade- B+
“Will you teach me how to do this right?” His expression was so serious. So earnest. “How to love you?”
A person could live a thousand years and never be worthy of those simple whispered questions. “I can’t,” she admitted. “I’ve never been in love before. We just have to learn together.”