If you go back to the beginning of the Beyond series, you can see the first hints that big changes are coming for Eden and the sectors. In Beyond Ruin, change came.
In Beyond Ecstasy, it explodes.
Hawk’s wanted Jeni since the first time he saw her. Coming from Sector Six, he’s got a different view of relationships between men and women. After months of watching Jeni and observing the gang, he thinks he understands how it works in Sector Four.
Jeni wants Hawk. Has for months, and she’s not sure why he keeps rebuffing her advances. So when he offers her a collar, she’s shocked – but it doesn’t take her long to accept. As their world starts to crumble around them, they fight to build something just for themselves.
Beyond Ecstasy was a bit of a change from the previous books, in that despite the couple appearing previously in the series, we didn’t really know them. Or at least, I didn’t feel like I knew them. Truth: I thought Jeni was just a gang groupie of sorts. From her earlier cameos in the series, I never got the sense she was truly an O’Kane. She never seemed to be around the women, and the men, while they treated her well, also kind of just…not used her, since she got what she wanted, but she didn’t play a part in their heirarchy. And Hawk’s too new (coming in with Finn in Beyond Addiction) to get a real sense of who he is.
The overall effect was more standalone than the previous books, but you would absolutely, definitely be lost if this was your first trip to Sector Four.
I like Hawk and Jeni together. They’re sweet, and while they like to play around on the smuttier side, they both yearn for that sense of belonging and comfort that comes with knowing your partner loves you absolutely. Not soulmates, mind you, but lifetime love. They’re surrounded by it in the gang, and you can’t blame them for wanting it for themselves.
That said, I didn’t feel the squee-inducing anticipation I’ve had for past couples. Jeni’s been on the fringes, so seeing her interact with the other women like she’s been part of their circle all along was disconcerting. As I stated above, I didn’t even think she was a gang member. Hawk is a bit different – introduced around the middle of the series, it didn’t bother me as much that I didn’t know him that well.
So. Romance? Yeah, it’s good. But.
War doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t avoid those who can’t afford to lose and stick with the people who might get hurt, but will ultimately survive. In this, Beyond Ecstasy surpassed my expectations. The rising tensions in the sectors vibrates off the page, and I dreaded turning the pages because I didn’t want to know what would be destroyed next. And there is destruction. It takes many forms, and each one is painful.
Seeing the O’Kanes band together under Dallas and fight to protect not just their way of life, but everyone else was just…hoo boy. Normally I’d be all about the love. This time? It’s war, baby. It brings out different characters *coughcoughRydercoughcough* and turns Dallas from a leader to a general, mustering his troops. They’ll willingly fall in behind him.
It’s our second-to-last trip through Sector Four, and I can’t wait for the conclusion.
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Review copy provided by the authors.