Kali Parks is a shadow in the war between two factions that are fighting to gain control of Chicago. Born and raised on the streets, she stands as a silent sentinel at her brother's side as he battles to gain control. She will do whatever it takes to bring peace to those she has pledged her life to protect, including fighting against the creatures that came to their world almost six years before. Razor, a councilman for the Alliance, has been sent to oversee the remaining Trivator troops on Earth and make sure the transition for the induction of Earth into the Alliance goes smoothly. He is the one the Alliance calls when they have a situation that needs to be resolved once and for all. His reputation for dealing with difficult rebels is renowned. He asks no questions and takes no prisoners. His job is to eliminate all threats to the Alliance. He finds himself torn between duty and something he is unfamiliar with: his heart. When a shadow warrior saves his life and disappears, he discovers his world is no longer as cut and dry as he thought.
The more he learns, the more he discovers he is not immune to the warrior's passionate desire to fight to protect her people. Forced by duty to settle the conflict, he must decide between the Alliance and his own desire to claim the unwilling warrior. When the conflict escalates, he does the only thing he can; he makes a pact with one of the factions in exchange for a prize that will surely cause a battle of a different kind - the one for his traitorous heart. Will he be able to claim her before she escapes from him again? Or worse, will she sacrifice her life to protect those she loves before he can?
©2014 S. E. Smith (P)2015 S. E. Smith
Writer, reader, now an avid listener, why hadn't I discovered this before!
I listened to this because I enjoyed the first in the series, and to be honest I am a little disappointed in the story line of this.
Don't get me wrong the setting and world building I think are great, and we're back on Earth with Razor who is trying to settle the last conflict before the world can start to re-build properly. I just found that the plot line was too similar to the first book. Alien shows up is in danger and young beautiful woman rescues him and then is claimed by him.
I think I'd have liked this a lot more if Kaylee was what the writer kept on telling us she was, she's supposed to be this warrior, fighter, and in the end even Razor calls her this, but she actually didn't do much but put herself in danger and be unconscious while all the big decisions were being made without her. This just paints her weak in my mind when I know that wasn't what was intended. (in fact Jessie in the first book was injured and all her sisters taken against their will) so maybe this is just the fantasy trend the author wanted.
David, is the total perfect narrator, and his tone with the Trivator Warriors is just amazing. He really does make this series stand out. Heck I'm not bothered I was a tad disappointed, I got to listen to David again :) haha
I did buy all of the series, because I enjoyed book 1. And I'm part way through the next one, which is showing a little more promise. Fingers crossed Jordan is a stronger woman than Kaylee has been.
Despite the above. I still enjoyed the listen, I think I just expected something different, if you can understand me.
Listening on :) thanks for the enjoyment.
This book was fantastic the way it put together and keep you listen to the next chapter to next chapter please can we have book 3 soon
"Sexy Alien on a Mission!"
Great story and performance!
Razor, the High Chancellor for the Alliance, is called in when dealing with difficult situations. He has no issue with handling any situation swiftly or harshly. After all, he's an alien from another world and doesn't think like a human; however, after he is saved by human female, Kali, he claims her as his mate. Razor will have to learn to rethink how he views humans and the actions he takes or risk Kali not forgiving him or accepting him. While he will not let her go, he really wants her to accept him.
I enjoyed this story, plot, and especially the characters! When I read or listen to a story, I want the plot, and characters to reveal themselves as the author imagined them, and not what I think they should be. I don't want them to be like a "cookie cutters" all the same, and perfect. I want and love variety, especially in characters. I love this series has both strong and weak characters.
David Brenin has an amazing voice, and I love listening to it! He also does an amazing job narrating the story! ; -)
No time lost listening to this one!
"The women kick ass as much as the men!"
Love how the ladies were the hero's to! It was extremely well written and had a great flow! I would definitely re-read.
Yes! I loved that the women were not just helpless damsels needing to be rescued, they themselves did a lot of the rescuing! Love how they were the hero's to! It was extremely well written and had a great flow! I would definitely re-read.
He had a great variety in his inflections
The end when she wouldn't talk to him for two days and his mom finally got through to her.
Just loved it!
"ANOTHER SCI-FI ROMANCE SLAM DUNK"
Another slam dunk for Ms. Smith. This book, just like the first, was excellent. In this book we meet Razor, who is Hunter’s older brother (refer to the first book). It is six years after the “Aliens” have made contact with Earth and except for a few major areas; most humans have come to accept that the aliens have come in peace and not to destroy. The city formerly known as Chicago is the last major city were the rebels haven’t really got with the plan of peace as the rest of the world. Thus Razor is sent in to either settle the rebellion or destroy any and all things in his way. And that was the plan, until he meets Kali, beautiful, stubborn, warrior Kali, who is chief of her brother’s security. Her brother is the leader of one of the faction of rebels in the city of Chicago. Razor knows instantly that this fierce, small warrior is his amate but Kali is very slow to let any man claim her especially Razor (even if his presence makes her body hum as it has never hummed before). But surely, Razor won’t give her up without a fight and Kali won’t go so quietly either.
I really loved this story. As with all the heroines I have read so far with Ms. Smith, she manages to give them just the right about of vulnerability without making them blabbering females and give them the right amount of independent without being condescending. Kali compliments Razor and vice versa. We are also able to catch up with characters from the first book, Hunter’s Claim, and discover how their lives have progressed since the last book. I’m eagerly anticipating Dagger’s Hope. I think I might have to read it before it comes to audible because I’m seriously sitting on pins and needles. UGH!!!!!!
David Brenin voice is simply Yummy!!!!! He melts my headphones and curl my toes. This guy is hot Hot HOT!!!!!
IMO, Buy the book. You don’t really need to read the first book to understand this book but it does help to better understand the world and fascinating characters that Ms. Smith has created.
"Need More S. E. Smith!"
Love these books by Ms Smith! I read and listen to them! More Please! And the Performance is Awesome!
"There's no strong female character here"
I enjoy alien stories. I dig the sci-fi; I love how creative and strange an author can get with a new culture; and I really love watching how cultures colliding can play out when humans get thrown into the mix. I even enjoy when a romance comes into it; the confusion and miscommunication as the two different species sort themselves out can be a lot of fun. What drives me nuts about this particular sub-genre is how it mostly ends up boiling down to exploitative abduction/noncon fantasies with weak partners (usually women) and no character ANYWHERE who can adequately manage to explain across the cultural gap to these aliens why overriding a human's will can be so upsetting/damaging to that human. I can handle abduction and noncon if in the end, there’s some type of understanding between the 2 MCs about what cultural lines were crossed, and an expectation that it won’t happen again. What I hate is when everyone just ends up shrugging and saying "well, since you REALLY LOVE her, it's fine." It's not fine.
Even so, I can still sometimes manage to look past that lack of understanding if the characters and writing are worth it. I managed that in the first book of this series. I liked it fine, the narration was excellent, and the characters weren't perfect, but I got along with them well enough. This second book - not so much.
Narrator's still great. Let's get that out of the way.
Now for the book itself. First off, the plot is an exact carbon copy of book 1. Heroine out on the streets spies alien in danger and is compelled to help. Alien is now obsessed and tracks her down because HE MUST HAVE HER. She escapes him using cleverness! But, unfortunately ends up in a worse situation. He (and company) rescues her again and takes her away on his ship. On the trip, he heads out on a mission that goes wrong, and is once again in jeopardy! Heroine must audaciously run in to save the day, astonishing all the aliens with her feisty female-ness and proving she is unlike anyone else ever.....except the heroine from the first book who literally just lived the same story. I swear, the author took her first scene outline and just wrote it again with different (weaker) characters; it is that similar.
Second, I don't know what book the other reviewers read, but there is no strong female character (SFC) to be found anywhere. The author keeps harping on it, telling us again and again the heroine is a tough, BA, free spirit, but repeating it just does not make it so. The author actually has to back that up with demonstrable proof somewhere in the book, just like any other character trait. Telling me a thing is true is not the same as showing me that thing is true, and being able to parkour doesn't make you a SFC. Instead, this girl acted like an indecisive door mat for ¾ of the book. And when she does actually take action toward the end to rescue her alien, it felt like a completely different character. I just could not credit that the same woman who had wandered through the action for the first parts would actually be allowed to take point on a mission to save anyone. She, in no way, had proved herself capable of doing so to that point.
I also couldn't actually buy that she was supposed to be her brother's head of security. She wandered around alone, making stupid dangerous choices that would affect everyone she cared about, hardly gave an order to anyone, never actually functioned as a leader, couldn't manage to tell an unwanted suitor to back the *$%^ up (because she DOESN'T LIKE CONFLICT?!), and kept extremely important information from her brother and the rest of her team because she was...selfish? Scared? Ashamed? Confused? Yeah, me too. I certainly couldn’t figure it out. Besides which, we're supposed to believe later that her brother is EXTREMELY worried for her safety, which does not lend itself to appointing little sister to such a dangerous position. Her actions and the way her brother actually treats her are more in keeping with a naive, teenaged baby sister who is cossetted and locked in a tower for her own safety. That is bad characterization for both the brother and for Kali.
Kali's also completely unable to verbalize to her alien why she's upset. She locks herself in the bathroom and refuses to speak to him. Literally says "I'm not talking to you." Again like a petulant teenager. Never once does she call this alien a murderer, kidnapper, or almost-rapist. Which he decidedly is, even if the author wants us to believe he has reason. And if Kali could have said it and then built the relationship from there, maybe this book would have actually been worthwhile.
And third, (Tiny Spoiler Here): On a less major and more ridiculous note, the character named Razor gets the erotic shaving scene? Really? You’re not even TRYING at that point.
All that aside, what was most upsetting to me as I read was the overall attitude toward women. I was extremely disturbed (and perturbed) by a lot of what went on in the subtext of this book. Here's my list of situations/scenes that are the worst offenders.
Before you read it, know this, I do NOT expect these kind of books to be some type of treatise on modern feminism. We're all here for the fun and the fantasy, and I get that. I like escapist fantasy fun as much as the next gal. But I do expect these stories to treat their characters with some level of respect, or it's just not enjoyable, and this book had no respect whatsoever for many of the women in it, particularly Kali.
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD
1. Kali has NO agency. She ends up being repeatedly passed around between the 3 groups of male characters, usually while she's unconscious (so to be more like an object and less like an inconvenient, actual person). Her own brother accuses Razor of being a rapist, then ends up doing a 180 and believing him when Razor says he just really, really loves her and only wants to protect her, WITHOUT EVER SPEAKING TO KALI TO CONFIRM. To the point that he makes an agreement with Razor that the alien can have her (HAVE HER), as long as he keeps her safe on his own planet. STILL WITHOUT TALKING TO KALI, who's been unconscious, and so, unavailable for comment. She could have been raped and abducted and her brother, who has no way of knowing the truth, has essentially arranged her marriage with her possible rapist. All on the word of that possible rapist.
2. Kali can't stand up for herself. She let's her brother do this to her. He straight up sells her to aliens, sending her to a completely different PLANET, to keep her "safe" without consulting her wishes or even having a conversation with her. This so-called SFC who he has appointed his head of security, trusted (seemingly) to watch his back in basically the worst gang-war street situation ever, and take care of his people, apparently cannot be trusted to keep herself safe now that his enemy has been defeated, he's been appointed leader by the aliens, and the aliens are providing support to his new leadership......but yeah, now she's not safe. She sits there and cries, and lets him, and does not MAKE him have that conversation or even explain himself. She only gets a bit of information once HE decides he can't let her leave with out telling her why he did it. And they still don't have an actual conversation where Kali gets to choose. Big Bro just wants to feel less bad about sending her away and talks at her the entire time.
3. In fact, most conversations involving Kali’s activities, plans, or future happen AROUND her, with no contribution from her, and she just lets it happen. It gets so difficult for the author to credibly exclude her from dialog that Kali actually has to lose consciousness so people can continue talking and acting around her. THIS HAPPENS MORE THAN ONCE. Right when you expect this so-called "SFC" to step in and have an opinion...she passes out. Again.
4. Everyone knows Kali's pregnant...except Kali. And even when she finds out, others (i.e. Razor, her brother, and the male doctor) decide her living arrangements, medical care, and what's best for her, having conversations around her, over her head, out of her presence, and (again!) over her unconscious form.
5. There is not nearly enough difference between the bad blue alien wanting to abduct Kali as a sex slave and Razor wanting to abduct Kali as a sex...mate. Except, Kali wants it? Sort of? But Razor reeeeeally loves her? I'm not even sure. And I don't think Kali had enough information to be sure either. I was just disturbed by the abundance of similarities and complete lack of differences, and Kali apparently wasn't disturbed enough.
6. The nurse-lady tells the aliens to ASK HER HUSBAND how to "handle" women. Because apparently you need a man to tell you that. And he tells them....trust, love and accept. Not a single word about respect. Because what SFC needs that? Then Razor talks to the other alien about his human mate...without talking to the human mate. Because apparently, primary sources are unnecessary. He actually makes an active decision in the book NOT to talk to the other female human mate to get advice. That seems completely bizarre and contrived to me.
6. Women as...pets? Half the time the aliens seem to be in a state of amused surprise - These human women, so feisty! It's adorable! Okay, maybe a culture gap argument can, kind of, apply there. But Kali's brother's conversation with Razor before the ship leaves shows that the human men are no better. He tells Razor how to take care of his new pet...I mean mate, to make sure she gets a lot of exercise and explain what her favorite foods are! I kid you not, like an anxious pet parent dropping a poodle off with a sitter. It is the most awkward conversation I’ve read in a long time, and it all happened (again!) without Kali even being there.
BONUS: This one had nothing to do with women, but really bothered me anyway...
WHY IS THE ONLY GAY CHARACTER EVIL?! I thought the brother was going to be gay too, then you just have an evil human guy who can’t take no for an answer. But no. Instead, Mr. Villain ended up being the evil gay guy, and that made me angry.
TLDR version: I was hoping to find out what was going to happen with the other 2 sisters from book 1 and their missing alien friend, which...you find out a bit, right at the end. But, maybe just take it on faith he gets rescued and try book 3. After reading this one and being so frustrated with its treatment of all the female characters I was actually taking notes to write this review, I’m not sure I will be reading any more.
"Love this series"
Awesome story, great series, love the performance of the reader.
Please keep it up!
More of this series please and thank you.
"Another great read."
I am loving these characters. The balance of romance, action, character development is perfect. I cannot wait for Saber and Taylors story!
"Loved the books"
Sexy. Great story. Loved the book.
Razor and the other warriors.
Yes. I love his voice. I choose many by the narrator. I usually choose books narrated by him.
I love the the series. I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out.
"Like this Bk2 even better than Bk1"
I like this book2-Razor, Alliance series, even better than Book1- Hunter. Not my fave series from SES, but it's decent; and a LOT better than most out there. Brenin's narration really works for this series.
"Wonderful, just wonderful!"
Every book i read just keeps getting better than the last. This one is no different. I can hardly wait to read all of S.E. Smith's books :)
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