Tag Archive | Freedom

Freedom’s Embrace by Rachel Leigh Smith

Freedom's EmbraceSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

They made the wrong choice. Putting it right requires going into a war.

A’yen’s Reign: Year Two

Taran has served Nicco, prince of Marcase, for twenty-three years. While on a fact-finding mission to Corsica–a planet annexed by the empire thirteen years ago–Taran and Nicco are kidnapped by the Freedom Alliance and taken deep into the Corsican hardwood forests.

Da’Renna, sister to King A’yen’s linked bodyguard, has loved Taran since the moment he saw her. Leaving him behind wasn’t easy, but her brother needed her more. Hearing about Taran’s kidnapping makes her wonder if she made the right choice.

With the help of a friend from Corsica, Da’Renna and her brother sneak in to find Taran. When mercenaries take her hostage, Taran must make the choice he dreads most: his master, or his soul-mate.

If Taran loses his girl, he’ll never find his way to freedom.

Note: This novel stands alone and is a great entry point into the A’yen’s Legacy futuristic romance series.

This is book 4 of the A’yen’s Legacy series, and introduces Ren and Taran, who we met briefly in book 3, as the main characters. The book is split between two stories, really, with some sections filling out the history between Ren and Taran while others follow present day events, which take place shortly after the events of To Save a Life.

It was interesting to finally get a deeper glimpse inside the Marcasian Empire and some of the problems it faces. And, of course, to get to know Taran better – ok, and some of the other characters. Ro and Varune make a significant reappearance in the story, and we see some of the more familiar faces too.

I had no difficulty following the separate story lines, and especially the historical information was useful to finding out what drives Ren and Taran in the present. And I’ll be frank; at times I just wanted to knock their heads together and get them to wake up and see the light… well, to be honest, that applies more to Ren than to Taran: Taran has a far better grip on what’s really going on.

The book is an excellent exploration of what “freedom” really is and means to different people. That, and sacrificial love. And boy, the answers don’t come easily in the slightest.

Another star turn from Rachel, and I can’t wait for the next one!

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To Save a Life by Rachel Leigh Smith

To Save a LifeSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewer: Laurel

A’yen’s loved ones are under attack. To save them, he’ll risk everything.

Half the Lokmane are free and the resettling of Lok’ma is in progress. A’yen is crowned king, but it isn’t stopping his enemies. Someone is after Ro, and the woman he’s falling in love with is caught in the middle.

When Fae is trapped in a cave-in at a dig site and wakes up with fake memories, A’yen knows who’s to blame. Proving it is the hard part. Things get worse as his past relationship with a human male, a man once again part of his life, is used to trap him and try to turn the people against him. And destroy his marriage.

Ro is then framed for murder, another move to discredit A’yen. Saving his marriage and reputation is easy compared to saving Ro’s life. Ro’s demons come for him, taking him back to a life not worth living.

A’yen races to save Ro before he can act on his deepest desire: killing his tormentor. Happily ever after can’t happen if Ro is dead.

Can this series get any more addictive? It’s taken me three days to read through this book (with extensive breaks inbetween enforced by life – breaks which were infused with a longing to read more), and I could easily read the next one.

I can’t say that this book is better or worse than the previous two, but the events that unfold are compelling. At times one laughs out loud, at others one cries, and yet others one wants a certain person to burn in hell… yet through it all, one just wants to read, devour, inhale more of this book.

Smith introduces us to several new characters in these pages, expanding our knowledge of the Marcasian Empire in particular. I for one cannot wait to learn more of them, as I know we will in upcoming books.

In short, a compelling read that doesn’t disappoint. And among the best I’ve read so far this year

The King’s Mistress by Rachel Leigh Smith

TKMSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Freedom has a cost. Can A’yen pay it without losing his soul?

Liberation of the enslaved Lokmane begins with the king. A’yen and Fae agree to visit the Hidden, a group of escaped Lokmane, to protect his identity while the Shadows make their move with emancipation acts. But he’s not prepared for the prejudice rampant in the Hidden, or their lack of patience for him. And his new linked bodyguard is unstable to the point A’yen fears for the young man’s sanity.

Upon returning to Titan, A’yen is kidnapped and taken to the largest breeding farm in the galaxy. This time he’ll be himself even if it kills him. His resolve to unite his people grows as he wonders if he’ll live long enough to do it.

With A’yen kidnapped, Fae returns to the Lokmane homeworld seeking the final pieces of what happened two thousand years ago when they were conquered and enslaved. Getting as far away from her father as possible is the only way to keep her from disappearing too.

Separated by light years, A’yen and Fae have to stand alone and fight for their right to live in freedom. No matter the cost.

This book is an excellent read. The universe Smith has created is one I can easily immerse myself in, and remain stuck in there for days after I’ve finished reading one of these books.

The second book in the A’yen’s Legacy series, The King’s Mistress is a continuation of the storyline begun in My Name Is A’yen. We follow A’yen and Fae as they figure out what’s required of them as the next king and queen of the Lokmane, but some new characters are introduced, particularly Da’Ro, mentioned in My Name is A’yen as someone Na’var knows. While the story focuses predominantly on how A’yen can relate to his people, both the enslaved and the free, it also deals very elegantly with the topics of trust and identity.

There are many surprises along the way in this story, and nobody gets away easily. As always, Smith is unafraid to demonstrate the inhumanity of man – at times graphically – but juxtaposes this with an exploration of what it means to be a person, an individual, free. And a very important lesson underpins it all; don’t judge, because you don’t know what a person has been through and who they really are.

Suitable for both YA and adult readers, but deals with issues such as rape, slavery and physical and sexual abuse.