*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
The characters in this series are always standouts. Each one is unique and not at all cookie-cutter. While there are some, like Micah, who play a fairly prominent role in every book (I think of him as the AKM shepherd), it’s unusual for me to like and identify with EVERY featured couple across a book series. The first time Malek and Gina are reunited in RotA is a powerful scene and exquisitely written. You can practically feel his aggression and possessive instincts vibrating off the pages, and the shock and bewilderment of their unwitting audience is priceless. The writing is so passionate it gifts the scene with a striking, visceral feel. RotA bristles with emotional intensity and charms with its soul-deep love story. The highs are steamy as hell, and almost manic, while the lows are unbearably intimate and earth-shattering.
There are so many memorable scenes that tugged at my heart strings, but one in particular stood out as exceptionally moving. I won’t tell you what it is because I don’t want to spoil it, but I must have read it five times. The closeness and boundless, selfless friendship and loyalty Ms. Lynne pulls from her characters is just exquisite, and one of the reasons this series is so increasingly habit forming. Another scene is brutally satisfying in its relentless revenge, even for someone as squeamish as I am about bodily mutilation, especially since it’s the good guys who get to dish it out and for good reason. If you have not yet started this series, you simply must!
Donya Lynne is a ruthless storyteller, in the best possible way, and the AKM books just keep getting better. Even if you know how events will ultimately end up (this is PNR, folks, a happily-ever-after ending ain’t exactly a state secret), the story takes you on such a complex, well-crafted emotional ride, you can dive into the story and completely immerse yourself in the deep friendships, loyalty and camaraderie, the passion and despair that are so intimately penned.
If you’ve been waiting for the next Black Dagger Brotherhood, this is it, but with a story arc and featured characters that stand on their own merit and writing that is as complicated and talented as J.R. Ward’s without the abrasive, almost gangster style. I dare you to read Return of the Assassin and remain completely unmoved by the events in this book. And to think, this series has so much potential awesome left to explore!
New to the series? Start with Rise of the Fallen and meet the infamous and incorrigible Micah. *Grin*
My rating: 5/5 stars, a “must read”!