Reviewed by Mandi & Tori
Beyond Surrender is the ninth and last installment in Kit Rocha’s Beyond series. Nessa, O’Kane princess and ruler of the distillery, finds her sanity and strength tested when she falls for the one man whose only goal is to see Eden fall. The sectors are going to war and nothing will ever be the same again.
This post apocalyptic series has been a favorite of Smexy Books since its first installment, Beyond Shame, was released in 2012. This dark post apocalyptic world revolves around a walled utopian city-Eden-where the rich and elite live and the outcasts who live outside the walls who have divided the city into gang controlled sections. Heavily character drive, the arc focuses mainly on Sector Four-the O’Kanes. As the series has expanded, we meet the other sectors, their rulers, and the war that is brewing between Eden and the sectors. It’s all rather bittersweet to see the series coming to an end though Rocha has confirmed that their spin-off, Gideon’s Riders, will release its first installment March 2017.
Beyond Surrender is Neesa and Ryder’s story. Nessa, the genus behind the O’Kane Distillery, has been with Dallas since the very beginning. Her family worked for his on his family’s farm in TX. Dallas left the farm to seek his own way and when things got rough on the farm, Nessa and her grandfather followed. All grown up now, Nessa is considered the princess of the O’Kane family and protected like one.
Ryder has been preparing for war for a long time. When his mentor, Jim, was killed, Ryder took Jim’s diary that is a goldmine of information, and became the new leader of Sector Five. Ryder turns up in Sector Four though, to be an ally for Dallas and his leadership. Dallas and company have been preparing for war for a long time and they are ready to proceed. It’s here that Ryder meets Nessa, and there is a definite chemistry between them.
Tori, let’s first talk about Ryder and Nessa’s relationship. I felt it was more quiet than the romances in other books. They had eyes only for each other – and while it was still intense, it was less chaotic. I liked that – since their world was erupting around them.
Tori: I agree. The romance is softer, more intimate, and though it definitely doesn’t hold the erotic edge that we have seen with previous couples, it still maintains a strong hold on the story. Their contrasts-Nessa’s impulsiveness and Ryder’s calm, steady nature-play off one another perfectly. Nessa shows Ryder how to dream beyond his mission while Ryder gives Nessa the dominance and security she craves. Nessa has spent her life unsure if men want her for her or for her connections to Dallas. Ryder doesn’t need anything from her. Not her skills or not her connections. This exhilarates and scares Nessa.
“She’d always wondered what made women bolt like terrified pray in the face of that look. If a hot guy knew what he was doing with his dick wanted to get busy, why wouldn’t you jump on and ride?
Now she got it. Arousal might have made her wet enough to squirm, but the flutter in her chest was closer to panic then excitement.
Oh yeah. She got it now, why women ran. She also knew that running got you chased.”
Their interactions are infrequent, making the time they do have together more intense as they take advantage. Ryder and Nessa both have their respective roles to play with Ryder on the front lines and Nessa staying behind to man the home fires so to speak. I loved the sense of danger that surrounds them-the possibility of death and the reactions of the O’Kane men who see Nessa as their baby sister.
“As soon as Ace and Jas and Dallas find out, they’re going to make it weird. They always make it weird.”
The romance blends well with the conflict. Rocha jumps right into the fray with no lead up, putting us right up against the wall with our favorite characters. We’ve been waiting for this since book one and I felt Rocha delivers as intended. Allies and enemies alike have played a long game and the time has come to pay the piper. Rocha doesn’t hold back and keep readers in their safe places. War is hell and this writing duo unapologetically shows us the hell the sectors go through to win back their lives and freedom. What did you think Mandi? Were you happy with the way the conflict played out?
Mandi: There was a lot of pressure on this book to deliver a solid HEA for our main couple, but to also deliver on the build up of this war, and to check in on everyone that we have met through the series. It was a lot, but the authors made it all flow so smoothly. One criticism I’ve had with this series is that we don’t always see the violent acts committed outside of Sector Four, and to understand the danger and be immersed in this world, I think experiencing the horrible acts is important for the reader. Not that I enjoy war, but in this book the authors do present it to us and it was a nice payoff. Although I almost had a heart attack when a certain sexy man went down. Good thing when Rocha gives us a HEA, it STAYS a HEA. I did think the first half was a little slow, but maybe that was because I was anticipating the end.
Another thing I enjoyed, not only in this book but the series in general, is Dallas’s rise to power and how others perceived his power. He doesn’t ooze finesse, quite the opposite actually, but he knows how to earn respect. Ryder had been groomed to be the leader of the sectors, and instead of working against Dallas or holding a grudge, he contributes to the war efforts without causing a headache for Sector Four. Dallas is also my absolute favorite character in this series (well – Dallas and Lex) so everyone better bow down! *wink*
Tori: This for me was one of the best scenes. We have watched Dallas and Lex grow within their positions and in here they actually give voice to the changes they’ve made as leaders, O’Kanes, and lovers. I have always found it fascinating that Lex and Dallas are always Declan and Alexa to one another-as if they need that separation between them and the sector.
“I love you, Alexa,” he murmured against her lips. “So let’s settle down and rule our den of sin.”
“For life, Declan.”
Mandi: Up next is a spin-off series, titled Gideon Riders (you spend a little time with them in this book) and they will take us to Sector One. The first book will be Ashwin and Kora and wow did they have some intense scenes in this book.
Even watching for it, Cruz didn’t see the explosion coming.
One second, they were on opposite sides of the alley. The next, Ashwin was slamming Cruz into the brick wall hard enough to know the wind out of him. Ashwin’s hand closed around his throat, pushing him up onto his toes, and his rational mask shattered. “Where is she?”
Oh boy. Their story is going to be HOT.
Are you excited, Tori?
Tori: Excited may not quite be the word for what I’m feeling. I’ve been completely obsessed with Ashwin since first meeting him. A genetically altered soldier who’s become so obsessed with a woman to the point where he needs to hide her from HIM? WHAAA???
They were both what their creators had intended. Perfectly formed tools meant for a single purpose. Trying to change that was a futile act that led to malfunction. He was proof of that.
He’d forget how to feel again. And she’d be safer without him.
I want to know the whys, wheres, whens, hows. *grabby hands* Also very interested in seeing who is the heroine for Gideon and how she’ll help him to accept his destiny.
Beyond Surrender is the perfect ending for this portion of the arc. A soft romance combined with an intense conflict closed some doors but left others open to ensure we are well prepared for the next adventure to come.