Favorite Quote: Being worshipped was a double-edged sword.
Reviewed by Tori
Deacon is one of the few original Riders left and their leader. A self-contained aloof man with a secret bloody past that comes back to haunt him when he is called to a murder scene. Forced to reveal all his secrets, he begins to see that his inability to accept and move beyond his past has inadvertently caused a rift between him and the Riders. Only Ana, the new recruit, sees past the walls he’s erected to the real man beneath.
What begins as an itch to scratch becomes a joining of souls when Ana and Deacon fall deeper than either planned. But when Deacon’s old crew comes calling, demanding payment for his supposed betrayal, Deacon has a plan to deal with them once and for all. He just needs to convince Ana and the Riders not to follow him into Hell.
Kit Rocha takes us back into Sector One and gives us unfettered access into the lives of those who choose to protect the Sector and the Rios family-the infamous Riders. A skilled set of soldiers whose religion has conditioned them to believe that their purpose in life is sacrificing themselves for the greater good. However, the Riders are going through some growing pains after the war with Eden that resulted in the loss of 30 men. Gideon has solidified himself as the leader of Sector One and the Riders. He seeks not only to make this group less kamikaze in nature but he has also opened the elite group to females. Though part of a series, this book can be read comfortably as a standalone. A spin off of their best selling Beyond series, Rocha does a light recap to help bring you up to speed.
Indulging ourselves into the history of the Riders and interacting with them on a personal level helps readers to understand the ideology behind Sector One, the Riders, and our hero and heroine. It also helps to reinforce that the individuality of each Sector and their residents. While I certainly enjoyed the eroticism of Sector Four, I find I don’t miss it so much in here though that’s not to say the loves scenes aren’t sensual in their own right. Sector One is essentially a religious cult whose residents all work for and worship the Rios family. While exploring one’s sexuality is certainly encouraged, marriage is the endgame (for most) with polygamy and multi-gender relationships the norm.
Ana and Deacon are interesting characters and very much alike despite their age difference. Intelligent, loyal, protective, and skilled, both have chips on their shoulders that affect their everyday lives. Deacon has a past that, unlike the rest of the Riders, didn’t originate in Sector One. He has seen and done things that he regrets and is unable to forgive himself for. Ana’s demons revolve around her father’s legacy and her need to constantly prove to herself as a Rider and her uneasiness at what messages she may be sending to future female Riders. Every day she unconsciously waits for someone to tell her she doesn’t belong and make her leave.
The balance of the romance with the external conflict surrounding the Riders was a little off kilter. Everything felt rushed and too simplistic for the issues surrounding this couple and the team. Ana and Deacon share a moment and suddenly they are a couple. I felt like I missed some crucial moment in their evolution from team mates to declarations of love. The emergence of the Suicide Kings and their association with Deacon is very interesting but I wish we would have divulged deeper into their background and Deacon’s time with them. It’s all very low-key.
Witty informative narrative and a steady pace keep the story moving along as Rocha introduces more characters to further expand this world. Ana’s aunts are delightful and Gideon’s sister Maricela continues to reveal herself as more complex than originally thought. Excited to see my fav O’Kane couple make a cameo appearance along with a surprise character who I hope spends more time in Sector One. This invigorating and personable secondary cast provides depth and continuity in the arc. Complex by design, we see that everyone has their own agenda and the rules are long gone. Allies and enemies alike are climbing out of the rubble of Eden, looking for footholds to regain what they lost.
The ending is an explosive affair that resolves the main conflict while opening multiple storylines as it sets up what looks to be the main arc for this series. Overall, Deacon is a quiet romance that celebrates life, love, and new beginnings. I’m looking forward to reading about the next Rider to fall-Ivan-release date to be announced.