Wednesday, June 7, 2017

ARC Review: The Farthest Edge by Kristen Ashley

Series:     Honey #2
Pub. Date:June 6, 2017
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Length:497 pages
Source:NetGalley

I was one of the first to say that I wasn't sure about this new path for the Queen, Kristen Ashley. I didn't know how alpha subs would work, and femdomme is just not my kink. But, as a faithful fan, I was determined to give it a shot, and not just stop after the first book. Man - I am SO glad that I continued with the Honey series! With this second installment of the series, Kristen has found her groove and I felt like her voice was back after getting a bit lost in the first installment, The Deep End.

Evangeline Brooks was the mysterious domme that we read about in The Deep End, the one who had something terrible happen to her while she was in The Honey. While Evangeline's situation was somewhat mysterious in the last book, we meet her and quickly learn all the sad details in The Farthest Edge. I will leave those details to the reader to learn, and go on to say that the event has had an extended effect on Evangeline, making her believe that she can no longer partake in the intimate lifestyle to which she was accustomed. She has buried herself in work and estranged herself from the friends who care for her in an effort to cope with what happened. Outside of her domme personality, I found Evangeline to be a typical KA heroine. She was likable and down-to-earth, a little girly, and totally independent and capable. True to her domme persona, she was also able to take charge and be assertive when needed, particularly when that was what her man needed. But she was more of a warm and fuzzy domme than some of the others we have met, and I liked that about her. I also liked that she wasn't married to the persona and found it just as hot for Branch to be bossy and break character.

Branch Dillinger is a super badass soldier and tortured hero. Betrayed and thought dead by his government, he is now somewhat off the grid and moving through society as a ghost. While he has his own plans for vengeance, he also works for Aryas and with others (whom you may recognize from other KA books), when situations need to be taken care of. Branch is our alpha sub, leaning more toward alpha than submissive. He knows what he likes/needs, and he knows how to get it. Unfortunately that sometimes leads him to unsavory places and I wasn't quite sure what he got out of those sessions besides punishment. Branch's character was more in line with other KA alphas that we have met... seemingly more so than Ollie from The Deep End. Branch was in charge everywhere but the bedroom, and sometimes he even flipped and took over there as well. He was a dirty talkin' bossy sub, telling Evangeline what he wanted and how he wanted in almost every scene. 

Where it seemed that The Deep End was straight erotica, The Farthest Edge took us more into the realm of romantica. I felt like we had more relationship building and emotion in this installment, and that is where the "feel" of KA came back for me. Quotes and sentiments like below gave the story that classic KA feel, while providing the new experience of this femdomme trope:
I'll take what I can get of absolutely right for as long as I have it, fighting to earn more along the way, rather than not ever having it and never knowing how beautiful it feels.
So I wasn't really expecting to meet any more secondary characters in this series... but man, we got a doozy in this story. I am already half in love with Cam (a/k/a Gerbil), who was Branch's closest friend and ally. I am curious to see whether he will be a hero in the Honey series, or whether he will be a crossover into one of KA's other stories. I think it would be fun to see one of the male doms crossing into one of the other series instead of having them become switches in this series. But however KA gives them to us, you can believe that I will continue reading.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, St. Martin's Press.

Honey Series