I’ve been waiting for this book since i finished Deacon’s book!! Honestly this series gets better and better with each book, and we got bodyguard/princess trope with IVAN and yessssss!!!
Ivan has a serious case of the feels for Princess Maricela and the feelings are reciprocated but Ivan is a good soldier and won’t act on them…well, initially 😉
The dynamics of the royal families made my head spin, not gonna lie, (there’s so much to keep track of!) but it was so intriguing to read about them, as there’s a bunch of suitors vying for Maricela’s hand, and the political intrigue is fascinating!!
What always sticks out to me in Kit Rocha’s books is the women, the authors always craft such multidimensional female characters, who come from all walks of life, who are powerful in so many different ways. i love that!! Loved that Maricela is a princess who seemingly has everything but isn’t really free, as her older sister pushes her to marry one of the eligible suitors who keep vying for her hand, but Maricela wants none of that. She wants Ivan!
And the man himself Gideon mother effing Rios has a POV chapter and me after each it:
Which is wishful thinking on my part because i have no idea where G’s book falls in the line up buuuuuut it’s very clear who his love interest is now and I AM HERE FOR IT!!
But back to the pining between princess and bodyguard. So they decide they can’t give into their mutual attraction so let’s be friends yes good plan. Me while this is all going on:”this ain’t gonna last” but i adored their banter and of course the tension between them…was oh so delicious. mmhmm.
Of course, now he had a mischievous Maricela circling him, all bright and smiling and happy, and he could still see the line of her underwear through her transparent pants and trace the sweet curve of her breast where her shirt clung to it. It was blasphemous to enjoy the view.
me: poor Ivan
also me: mwahahahaha, yes good.
Another plus in the book was everything didn’t just revolved around Ivan and Marciela. We see Ivan with his Rider buds, we see Maricela with her friends, yayyy for female friendships in boooooks! I loved the times we get to see the ladies together. We get a scene with them all getting ready for the ball and it was A+++ You learn a lot about a main character from how they interact with the people around them.
Also as per usual we have a really big cast of characters here, i mean the Riders alone, there’s so many of them and any scene with them are fun to read (hi Reyes :D). It adds so much to the Rider who’s book it is when we get to see them interact with their fellow riders, it’s pretty interesting learning about their varying pasts and how they came to join up.
Ivan’s past is vastly different from Maricela’s for sure. His uncles kidnapped Mad and Mad’s mother, so even as Ivan’s mother had nooo idea people gossip about it and of course it affects Ivan, even though the Riders dont see his relatives actions as a stain againt Ivan, he does. He’s such a complex guy. Maricela is as well, but in her own way. I’m always here for the opposites attract vibe 😉 It absolutely made for great charged scenes between them:
It was inevitable. Impossible, reckless, blasphemous. A violation of the oath he’d sworn to Gideon. And inevitable.
Which of course had me screaming KIIIIIISS ALREADYYYYY but i do love to suffer for the will they or won’t they moments and these were just right for the build up to THE MOMENT without stressing me out! Because you know it’ll all have been worth it.
And it so was.
This book introduces a POV chapter from a character we haven’t met before (well, at least I don’t think we have >.>) Sara, whose back story we get a glimpse of. That chapter raises so many questions and i need to know moooore. It also acts as a jump off point for a reveal about Maricela that Ivan didn’t know, that we the reader did not know. i almost shrieked at that reveal. so
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The smooth skin over her ribs was interrupted by a splash of black ink so unexpected that he simply stared at it, his mind unable to process the meaning. Clarity hit him like a knife to the heart. Maricela had a raven.
Maricela did what she had to do to save Gideon, take the assassins life, and she had zero regrets. Thus the raven. This was such a great moment, especially since she and Ivan basically cuddle after this reveal. 🙂
And all the ships in this book, oh my. There’s the set up for basically all of them and yeah I can’t wait for the rest of books. We get Hunter and Nita POV chapters as well, and I neeeeed iiiiiiiit!! She’s been in love with him for about TEN YEARS!! can you imagine the pining going on there, and how it’s alll gonna manifest itself in their book? I can.
This is what Kit Rocha does best, drops little juicy teases to get us excited for the next book without taking away from the current book’s MCs.
There are so many moments between Ivan and Maricela that stuck out to me, one being when he takes her outside Sector Four, so she can feel like a “normal” person and not the Princess of Sector One.
“Everything happens to me. I might as well be a table or a lamp. Just once, I’d like to do something.”
Ivan helps her experience a few firsts, another one being taking her to Eden. This is why i always advise people to read the Beyond series before diving into these books. Getting a sense of what Eden was, the final showdown and what Ivan takes Maricela to see would add so much more oomph to that scene, the gravity of that moment. *sobs* Maricela going to the memorial where so many Riders lost their lives was so charged with emotion, it had me reminiscing on the series that got us to Gideon’s Riders. Not gonna lie I might have teared up a bit at this scene.
And holy shiiiiit the revelations towards the end there, wowwww!! My heart was in my throat for both Ivan and Maricela after that attack then for Reyes and Nita because daaaaaaaamn!! Kit Rocha has once again crafted a story that had my emotions all over the damn place: laughter, shock and surprise, reminiscing about everything that happened with the O’Kanes and Eden. so. many. feelings.
Ivan and Maricela worked through their conflicts and weddiiiiiiing bells soon 😀
I should stop rambling now but…OMG I SCREAMED AT THAT ENDING. THE LAST CHAPTER IS GIDEON’S POV AND o m g!!!! Change is a coming and I don’t know if i’m ready but I do know i’m ready for Gideon’s book tho, even though he isn’t next >.> but my excitement for book 4 had grown to squeal worthy proportions. i am ready.