Friday, April 07, 2017

Review: Ashwin

Title : Ashwin
Series : Gideon's Riders #1
Author : Kit Rocha
ASIN : B01N6ECB83Edition : Kindle (Released March 7th, 2017)
Page counts : 266 pages
Language : English
Genre : Adult, Romance, Dystopia, Erotic Romance
Average Rating : 4.38 (per April 7th, 2017)
Hotness Scale : 3.5/5
Read date : March 24th, 2017
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The first book in the follow-up to Kit Rocha's bestselling BEYOND series...

Gideon's Riders, Book One

Lieutenant Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier--genetically engineered to be cold, ruthless. Unfeeling. His commanding officers consider him the perfect operative, and they're right. Now, he has a simple mission: to infiltrate Gideon's Riders, the infamous sect of holy warriors that protects the people of Sector One.

He's never failed to execute an objective, but there's one thing he didn't anticipate--running into Dr. Kora Bellamy, the only woman to ever break through his icy exterior.

When Kora fled her life as a military doctor for the Makhai Project, all she wanted was peace--a quiet life where she could heal the sick and injured. The royal Rios family welcomed her like a sister, but she could never forget Ashwin. His sudden reappearance is a second chance--if she can manage to touch his heart.

When the simmering tension between them finally ignites, Kora doesn't realize she's playing with fire. Because she's not just falling in love with a man who may not be able to love her back. Ashwin has too many secrets--and one of them could destroy her.

Once upon a time, when I first started using NetGalley (I don't use it quite often lately), I applied for Kit Rocha's Beyond Shame. As a youngster, and a newbie in reading English, I liked it but I didn't follow the series. And then Ashwin. I thought, okay, I'll give it a try. It's a new series, anyway, and I could always read Beyond leisurely.

Gideon’s Riders. Holy Warriors. Sainted heroes. Outside of Sector One, the Riders were more myth and legend than anything, a band of highly trained, dangerously lethal soldiers whose loyalty was unswerving and absolute. Here, they acted as the voice and the hands of the god-king himself, Gideon Rios. Each one was empowered to act as judge, jury, and executioner, a position of ultimate trust and considerable power.

It's a few months after the collapse of the wall separating the sectors and Eden. For background, Earth was scorched by a solar flare. What's left of the survivor in this area, is a utopia city called Eden (complete with their corrupt government), and Sectors providing whatever Eden needs. Sounds familiar? Yeah. The concept is a bit like The Hunger Games, though the cause is stated plainly. In the Beyond series, we're playing in Sector Four, where booze is their trade. But in Gideon's Riders, we're taken to Sector One. Crafts, art, a royal family, and a benevolent (albeit dangerous) leader. Gideon Rios. But no, we're not talking about Gideon. It's about one of his sisters, Kora Bellamy. She's a gifted doctor, staying for safety in Sector One during war (oh, the war occurred in Beyond. Maybe I should've read Beyond...).

Before, Kora was a doctor in Eden's military Base, taking care of soldiers and special soldiers. During her work, she meets Ashwin Malhotra, one of their most elite soldiers. But during war, Kora was led to believe that he was dead. Imagine her surprise when Ashwin appears in front of her, after helping Gideon's Riders with a band of rebels.

Treason wasn't new to him. He'd been committing it every day since the first time he laid eyes on Kora.

Ashwin used to think that Kora destabilized him. She obsessed him. The truth is, she's buried so far under his skin. There's a secret he keeps from Kora, a secret about her. Although his mission will harm Kora and those she loves, he can't help but staying and building a relationship with her. He's a deadly soldier, sooner or later he'll have to come back to the Base, and yet, being with Kora and Gideon's Riders brings him happiness.

In a way, somehow, Ashwin reminded me of the Psy's Arrows (read Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter). They have to be a perfect soldier, and any small measure of feelings are inexcusable. But Ashwin, well, he has his charms. The dystopian world in Ashwin is neater and more developed than in Beyond Shame. It's way different from Beyond series, though. Sector One is...a little bit tamer than Sector Four (in terms of kinkiness). I like that there's a feeling of innocence in this book.

For the most part, I enjoyed Ashwin. It's suspenseful without being overdone. The world-building and background setting are great. Kora and Ashwin are perfect together, with chemistry quite palpable, they're such a sweet and strong couple. The secondary characters are helping too, and Kit Rocha managed to make me curious about the other Riders.

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