Review: Manu (Hell Squad)

cover-manuTitle: Manu
Author: Anna Hackett
Series: Hell Squad #16
Genre: Sci-Fi Action Romance
Length: Novella
Available: Now


As the battle against the invading aliens intensifies, a group of bad boy bikers and mercenaries will stand and fight for humanity’s survival… 

When former berserker Manu Rahia lost his leg on a mission, he was forced to leave his squad. He knows his new role as head of the Enclave’s firing range and armory is important, but hates that he isn’t still out there fighting face to face against the aliens and protecting his brothers’ backs. But then one woman catches his eye. A no-nonsense woman dedicated to her job as head of security. A woman who seems cool on the surface, but who Manu is convinced is hiding more under her business-like exterior. 

Captain Kate Scott dedicated her life to her career in the Army. Now she works hard taking care of security for the Enclave and its residents. She learned a long time ago that she isn’t a passionate woman, and that she’s better off sticking to her work. But seeing one big, bronze-skinned, muscled man at the range every day has her hormones going into overdrive. She’s never felt like this and she’s determined to get herself under control. 

But when the aliens launch a viscous new attack, right on the Enclave’s doorstep, Kate and Manu must join forces to stop the raptors before more people get hurt. Kate will fight fiercely to protect her team and the base, as well as her heart. But Manu Rahia is a man who knows what he wants, will walk through fire to get it, and what he wants is Kate. 

Note to readers: This sci fi romance contains a lot of action (dangerous missions and deadly aliens), tough warriors (the badass berserkers of Squad Three) and a steamy romance (lots of sexy times between a sexy former berserker and the head of Enclave security). So if you like it fast, and gritty, and sexy, this is for you! 

Source: ARC from the author

If you’re already a fan of Hell Squad, or like your sci-fi romance to have bad ass heroes and in command heroines, than you’re going to like this. It’s quick and steamy, with plenty of guns and danger and evil alien tech. It’s exactly what you’d expect from this series and is a wild and sexy ride.

That’s all you really need to know. Everything that follows is really more about me than the book, but hey, it’s my review, so just bear the caveat in mind.

I’ve been looking forward to Manu’s tale ever since he first appeared a few books back. The oldest of the Rahia brothers, he lost his leg on a mission just before the survivors were forced to leave the Blue Mountain Base, but he’s formed a new life for himself as the man in charge of weapons. He’s alpha and likes to be in charge, which, if I’m honest, I am growing a bit tired of.

The way he described all his friends and former squad mates and their “women” got on my nerves. There’s a lot of that in the first few chapters as the book reminds us who has hooked up with whom. But it’s always male character + his woman (name not always required), never female character + her man (name not always required). I know it’s alpha macho language default, and Manu definitely isn’t the first or only one who uses it (see all of Squad Three), but it grated because there was so much of it and it would be really nice to think that in the future there might be some progress somewhere. He’s also incredibly pushy when it comes to Kate and her boundaries, frequently grabbing her arm to hold her back to talk when she’s made it clear she doesn’t want to. I was worried this was going to expand to a lack of respect when she was in command, but thankfully it didn’t, and it was actually Kate who ignored Manu’s privacy when they finally came together.

Kate was okay. She’s ex-army, in charge of base security and incredibly stern and repressed thanks to the nasty comments of an ex. Which is pretty much the usual when it comes to a woman being in charge in these stories. Luckily for her Manu is there to push her boundaries and break down her barriers – and they are very good together. But, I don’t know, I just think I’m over these kind of things. Where the guy is easy going but tough – while hiding a private pain – and the strong woman is really hiding her wounded emotions and is secretly super passionate and ready to explode for the right man. It’s well written and it works great within the Hell Squad series, but I think I need a little more depth or originality or just something different, because even the Gizzida stuff failed to really intrigue me. Mostly because I knew Squad Three were going to blow something up and bust them out of it in a highly unlikely but entertaining way.

So this is definitely a case of it’s me not the book. The book is fine, it’s a perfect continuation of the Hell Squad series, featuring a slightly older couple. The aliens remain evil, the humans remain defiant, Squad Three remains crazy, Hell Squad are still around to mop up any messes and there is steamy sex. No, it doesn’t break any new ground for the genre or even the series, but it’s quick and hot and entertaining. If that’s what you’re after, then go ahead and enjoy.

Hell Squad: Manu is Out Now.
Visit Anna Hackett for more details.


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