Galena Margolis, a brilliant scientist with a tragic past, is determined to fulfill her destiny and develop the vaccine that could save millions. Yet when Galena’s test subjects meet with foul play, it’s clear that someone is still determined to stop her, and that Galena herself is a target. As the Ferry empire forges a plan to keep her safe, Declan Ferry, the politics-hating black sheep of the family, steps forward to protect her—but the emotional cost may be more than either of them is willing to pay.
As unknown enemies close in, it becomes terrifyingly clear that they threaten to destroy not only Galena’s lifesaving work but also the very fabric of fate. As Galena and Declan race to uncover the traitor, they also forge a special bond that could save both Galena and those she’s sworn to help. Torn apart by the past and hunted by those she trusted, can Galena find room amidst her fears for a passion that could make her stronger than ever? And even if she and Declan can find their way together, will it be enough to keep the future from coming apart at the seams?
I’m going to be taking out my aggression on the PNR/UF genre as a whole here, but I am so sick and tired of the ‘fragile rape victim who finds white knight with magical healing cock’ trope. SO, SO TIRED OF IT. In this instance, it’s even worse – she has to marry the dude and ~consummate it~ to achieve the Ferry family’s healing powers to basically ensure she can remain physically indestructable while she finishes the research that could save the world and also people want to kill her for.
I’ve just come across this particular trope in about 3 books in the past month, and it irks me. I find it exploitative. I know rape happens in real life, but in this genre we’re talking magical powers and the afterlife, so realism ain’t exactly at the top of the priority list, y’know? There are other ways to show character development. I’m tired of having rape used as a device to show our heroine’s shining inner strength and fragility. There are other ways to do that too. In short, this is a rant which is better encapsulated by Seanan McGuire’s fabulous post on why her characters will never be raped: http://seanan-mcguire.livejournal.com/470626.html
Onto the book itself.
And look, let me be clear – the author wasn’t gratuitous in terms of showcasing the rape survivor/recovery – there was certainly sensitivity involved. She was very explicit in detailing that the victim was not at fault, and in romance scenes, that stop means stop. (Although I must say, the love scenes were quite cheesy and cringeworthy.)
Apart from my issues up above, I really do like the world that Sarah Fine has created. I like the family dynasty aspect, and the sibling relationships and rivalry. I’m intrigued by the different alliances and the undercurrent of instability that seems to be running through the core of their supernatural world.
This was also definitely more on the PNR side than UF, to my disappointment – while I’m a bit sketchy on the exact genre definitions, the romance took precedence over pretty much everything else that was going on. After a while though, the whole “I must protect you” thing got old.
The characters themselves were likeable – Galena is hella smart, sensitive, incredibly brave and determined. Dec is protective, loyal to those he loves, and uninterested in all the politicking and career climbing.
I didn’t particularly enjoy this installment, but I’ll still be checking out book 3 to see how everything ends.
ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.