Title: Dominant Predator
Series: Borders War, #2
Author: S.A. McAuley
Length: Novel (137 Pages)
Publisher: Total E-Bound (September 20th, 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5 Hearts
Blurb: A relationship is the least of Merq and Armise’s concerns…
With one bullet, Merq Grayson set the wealthiest citizens of the world on a collision course with the poorest—with those fighting for their freedom. As the Borders War reignites, the Revolution faces heavy losses. They scramble to maintain their advantage, to strike at the Opposition and crumble their power structure before they are able to rally.
But Merq is in the midst of an internal battle that shakes him to the core. For the first time in his life, Merq will have to reconcile the inherent tragedy of war and decide just how much vengeance can be justified by spilt blood. How much can he trust the men and women around him? The President, Neveed, his former soldiers, his parents…and Armise.
Merq and Armise find themselves off grid and on the hunt for Committee members. Merq is just as unsettled with Armise at his side as he was with Armise as an enemy, but they will have to learn how to fight together—or they may just die together.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence.
Review: I am left speechless with this book. It was remarkable to say at least, and while I expected it to be good, I honestly didn’t think it’d be this good. McAuley can definitely write war and reading this futuristic humanity’s huge cluster-fuck was a hell of a ride.
In book two of the Borders War series, we view Merq going through so many changes. Subtle at first yet gaining intensity as the story moves forward, Merq finds himself in unknown territory for the first time in his life. Everything he was, everything he knew, everyone he trusted, or not, everything around him changes making it extremely difficult for Merq to cope.
The Olympics are over thanks to him and his bullet hitting true, and while Merq never expected to make it out of there alive his world shakes up big time when his former nemesis and secretly lover Armise helps him escape the stadium alive. And Armise comes with this huge revelation that he doesn’t want to keep living anymore if Merq isn’t alive and in his life, thus changing sides not because he believes in the Revolution, but because his one and only loyalty lies with Merq. And is what really shocks Merq to the core.
Now this might not make an impact for you who are not acquainted with the series, but Merq is a very peculiar person. He was “created” for the sole purpose of being a soldier, the perfect soldier at that. An indestructible weapon that will do anything and surpass any obstacle to complete his given mission. Even he doesn’t view himself completely human, his emotions long ago beaten out of him, and his entire being built within walls, shut down until nothing at all existed except his job and his President.
To have Armise make such a declaration and follow it up with turning sides and coming to life, like that, is such a great life-altering change for Merq, that he finds it impossible to deal with. Yet he has to, as he just set the world on fire and the aftermath is bloody and violent unlike anything he has yet seen.
Point is my thoughts are quite scattered. I don’t know what to address first. The world this author has built is just awesome. The differences between the poor and rich people, the ugliness of the citizens’ reality right there for you to see and feel, the world and power order, the dynamics, and the balance between lost knowledge and new technology was amazing. The war that issued was brilliant, the fact that the Revolution was losing more than one would think made for credibility and gave authenticity to the story, even as I wondered how on Earth they went through that plan that had no solid backup for the aftermath.
Then there were the characters; all of them had this uniqueness about them. You could distinguish them from each other with ease, each of them making an impact. I can actually remember every single character in this book, even the lowest soldier, and that is quite an achievement. It was a distinct difference from the first book, that this time around each character was more visible, prominent, and their mission a bit clearer in this book.
As for our main characters, what is there to be said for them and not be an understatement? I don’t know who I loved more; I don’t think they could be better. Their relationship is a war in itself, a fight that has been going on and on for years and we only saw a glimpse of that in book #1. The feelings and emotions emerging from this couple are enormous and so, so raw. The fact that they literally kept trying to kill each other in the past, leaving permanent marks on each other’s body that are described in graphic detail, make their growing intimacy much more potent. The fact that both of them are trained killers used to work alone, and now making a team and trying to fit with each other while not letting those unnamed feelings in the way was a textbook on intensity. Absolutely delicious! They are simply perfect together; the unstoppable Merq and the unmovable Armise. Two pieces that when joined make the ultimate death-machine. But I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the best of them yet, and that the next installment will be glorious.
And I’m not even mentioning the erotic part between them. Meh, that was near perfect. Brutal, vicious, and most times almost deadly. The feelings running deep without even being mentioned at all, so refreshing and so utterly hot.
I just loved this book; I really, really was knocked out from this read, and I really, really can’t wait for the next one to come. Totally recommended!