Tuesday, January 23, 2018

ARC Review: Judgment Road by Christine Feehan

Series:     Torpedo Ink #1
Pub Date:Jan 23, 2018
Publisher:Berkley
Length:462 pgs
Source:NetGalley

I have been totally excited about this new series from Christine Feehan. I was a little worried as its a spinoff of the popular Sea Haven series and, despite my work on reading her back list, I haven't read this entire series yet. While there were a few areas where I wished I had the backstory, for the most part I was fine reading this without reading that earlier series.

So... Torpedo Ink. A motorcycle club and family forged in horrific circumstances. Seriously, the back story on these guys (and girls) is so sad and intense and sometimes hard to read. So it was emotional as hell y'all. In addition to their tortured background, these guys are trained assassins and most have some special ability. There were only light paranormal elements, not enough to really classify this as a paranormal romance, but a nice blend of fantasy and dark reality to make our characters more interesting.

Anya Rafferty is our heroine, and does not start out as part of the Torpedo Ink family. Anya was somewhat of a tortured heroine herself, having been homeless most of her life. But I had to admire her drive and work ethic, and the plan that she had for her life. I also admired that she didn't really let her life circumstances get her down, she was determined to take care of herself and solver her own problems. I was kinda worried about Anya's sweetness and how she would fit in with all the damaged bikers, but she had enough sass and temper to hold her own most of the time. I also came to see her sweetness as the perfect counterbalance to our hero's darkness, and I think they were paired well together. There was a time or two that I wish Anya would have communicated better with our hero, but for the most part they were adults and acted as such. There wasn't a ton of unnecessary drama or fighting, and I liked that.

Our hero and one of the enforcers for Torpedo Ink is Savva Pajari a/k/a Reaper. Reaper was an extremely damaged individual due to his childhood, sadistic captors, and horrible things he was forced to do. There are times when you think that Reaper is so damaged that he will never be able to function as a normal person. And he won't really - Reaper is definitely never going to be normal. But that doesn't mean that he can't function or have a relationship. I was so wrapped up in Reaper's character that I found myself siding with him more often than Anya. The turmoil that Reaper experiences was palpable. He had to learn to overcome past torment to make things work with Anya, but also had to learn to balance this new person in his life with his family in Torpedo Ink. It definitely was not easy for him.

The relationship between Anya and Reaper was like the rest of the book - intense. There were not a lot of light and happy moments between the two, but the small ones were poignant and meaningful. The chemistry was off the charts and the intimacy was hot, heavy and usually rough. And when Reaper's past intruded into these moments, it was emotional and hard to read. I couldn't help but want things to work out for them just because Reaper deserved it so much... Anya did too, but again, I was wrapped up in Reaper.

I think this promises to be a long-running series due to the amount of secondary characters that will make good heroes and heroines. All of the Torpedo Ink members need to tell their own story, and I can't wait to read the future books.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley Romance.

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