Author: Anna Hackett
Series: Galactic Gladiators #4
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Length: Short novel
Fighting for love, honor, and freedom on the galaxy’s lawless outer rim…
Cool and driven Madeline Cochran made a successful career for herself as civilian commander of a space station orbiting Jupiter…until the day it was attacked and she was abducted by alien slavers.
Her organized existence shattered, Madeline suffered during her captivity, but since her rescue by the tough gladiators of the House of Galen, she’s struggling to assimilate to her new life. As she navigates the desert world of Carthago and the gladiator city of Kor Magna, she desperately misses her teenage son back on Earth and throws herself into finding another human, space marine Blaine, still kept captive by the slavers. She also finds herself working harder than ever to avoid a certain charming showman gladiator who is far too attractive and far too tempting.
Gladiator Lore Uma-Xilene is a protector at heart and a sucker for a damsel in distress…although he’s well aware that the hard-shelled and sad-eyed Madeline wouldn’t appreciate the title. He knows what it feels like to be ripped from the family you love and have your life destroyed, and he wants to help Madeline heal. As the two of them go undercover into the dangerous world of underground gambling, Lore knows he’ll need all his patience, passion, and a whole lot of stubbornness to not only keep Madeline safe but to melt the icy shell around her heart.
Source: ARC provided by the author
I keep trying with this series, I truly do, but at times I’m struggling. On the one hand, I love the setting of the alien world, the gladiatorial arenas and the various aliens, but the plot is getting repetitive after four books of the freshly rescued heroine starting out grieving for lost Earth, unable to imagine she will ever find her place in this new world, looking askance at her fellow Earthlings who have fallen for aliens, while lusting after an alien, then launching into various missions to save the latest spotted enslaved Earthling. The couples are pre-matched in the previous book to whoever gets to them first in a rescue, and to be honest it might be nice if there was a little more mystery about everything. Or at least a longer getting-to-know-you period.
I’m also tired of heroines who have absolutely no fighting experience and refuse to follow orders insisting to go on dangerous missions where they will just get in the way. This is not a strength, it’s verging on too stupid to live. And no, an afternoon of laser sword training does not a Jedi master make. It’s okay to admit you are weaker than someone who has spent most of their life training to fight. Equality is formed in many ways. There is nothing wrong with using your brain occasionally.
So yeah, Madeline got on my nerves at times. I had sympathy for her having a son left back on Earth, but I was not impressed with the way she seemed to dismiss Lore’s own grief because a mother losing her child trumps the loss of his entire family at a very young age. I’m also baffled by the way these heroines apparently forget all about their captivity within a couple of chapters, save for an understandable wariness around certain aliens.
Lore is a bit better, except I wanted to know more about him. Particularly his illusions and how they work, where he learnt them, how he makes up his powders and maybe see him practising with it all, testing out what he could do. I wanted to know more about how he got to where he is too. We get the barest bones of what happened to his family, but that’s about it. Because this book is all about Madeline – but sadly for me, I didn’t like her enough to care.
Away from these two, the rescue missions veered from undermanned to bafflingly overpopulated, but at least it introduced a few extra characters. I’m certainly intrigued enough by the blue creature to want to find out more.
Overall this was okay. It’s not the worst in the series, but it’s not my favourite either and not a patch on the Phoenix Adventures or Hell Squad books. I’d really love for this series to surprise me in some way, or at least make me feel more invested in the characters involved. Perhaps the next book, which pits a human hero against an alien heroine for the first time, might shake things up enough to finally get me falling in love with this series.
Protector is Out Now.
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