Linnea Sinclair was kind enough to send me an eARC of her newest book in the Dock Five Universe, Rebels and Lovers.
******* Warning: VERY MILD SPOILER about Philip Guthrie FOR THE FIRST TWO BOOKS (although I think this book can be read without reading them) ******
The Premise: In Hope’s Folly, the focus was on Admiral Philip Guthrie, a commander of rebel forces of the Alliance. Now the focus on one of his brothers: Devin. Devin Guthrie is the youngest Guthrie brother, and the quiet, numbers crunching, computer guru. He’s had a crush on Makaiden Griggs for years, but she was married and in his family’s employ as a captain of one of their many private ships. And in the aftermath of his brother’s defection from the Empire, Devin is being pushed to marry someone the family approves of. When Devin’s nephew Trip, heir to the Guthrie empire goes missing, Devin takes action to find him and in the process Devin and Makaiden cross paths once more.
My Thoughts: This is a book that stands enough on it’s own that I think you will be OK reading it without reading the first three books. Past characters make very small cameos or are talked about while they are off-screen, but aren’t the vital to the story. I think that Sinclair does enough explaining in the first few chapters that a reader will have the basics – that the Guthries are a wealthy family with lots of holdings and with a second son who has rebelled against the current regime. Although that does color Devin’s current situation, the focus is squarely on Devin and his problems, and since he’s a character who hasn’t really shown up till now, you don’t need to have read past books.
The book is action packed as Makaiden, Devin, and Barthol, a long time Guthrie employee with an Imp-Sec background protect Trip and try to discover who is behind the security breaches on the Guthrie properties and the murder of Trip’s bodyguard. The world building in this book is what I expect from Sinclair now – it’s seamless. She makes it look easy and believable. The action too is well paced. It’s a game of chase as Devin and friends stay ahead of whoever is following them, while trying to learn as much as possible why the bad guys are so interested in Trip. I had my guess who was behind their problems but I was perplexed as to why until the end. The surprising accomplice was also something I suspected but I saw in the review I’m linking below that it was unexpected to others.
In Rebels and Lovers we get a closer view of the Guthrie family than we ever had before. Details about the family dynamics and holdings come to light. I didn’t know that the patriarch, J.M. had such power over his children, or what roles each of his sons had in the family company. It was interesting to find out what Guthries had similar traits and how they got along with each other.
Since I have a soft spot for geeks, I liked Devin’s character. He’s not comfortable in social situations, but he’s good at his job as a senior analyst at his firm. His geekiness does not mean he’s weak or incapable. The only big problem he has is knowing how to tell Makaiden that she means something to him.
Devin thinks that Makaiden is married and in love with her husband Kiler. When Kiler was fired from the Guthrie employ, she left with him. Meanwhile Makaiden believes that her low beginnings would repel Devin an the rest of his family. This is where all the romantic conflict stems. I understood Devin’s point of view, but I got a little tired of Makaiden being so easy to jump to conclusions before talking to Devin about her fears. I’m not sure if this is very healthy. She often spends time assuming how Devin will feel and acts based on these assumptions. I was expecting the two of them to resolve this issue by the time the book ended so I was surprised they never really do. Maybe their talk happened off the page, or suddenly became a non issue after they survive near death in the climax. The ending threw me a little because it felt rushed after the rest of the book. It was a summarized version of things tidily and quickly wrapped up and I wanted more than what I got.
This book comes out March 23
Overall: It felt like classic Linnea Sinclair so it was what I expected and wanted to read. A straightforward science fiction romance, with the emphasis on a relationship amid action packed space opera. No frills added. Despite wishing the ending wasn’t so abrupt, I enjoyed this one.
Cover comment: Whoever did the cover for this book did try to get models that looked like the characters. Devin has glasses and Makaiden has short blond hair. Not too bad..
Jace Scribbles (conversational review) – 4 to 4.5 out of 5 (I found myself agreeing more than disagreeing with this review)