Rating: 2.25 stars out of 5
I’m Ian, and this is my story. Like the others, I have a legacy. I was raised with the best of everything, one of the riches kids I knew. That isn’t the legacy, however. That is to be a part of something I didn’t want, and never asked for it’s tearing me apart, but I can fight it. With some help, I can fight it.
Meeting Pat Castaldo, the hot, muscled FBI agent was the beginning of a life I thought was ending. I am terrified I’ll get him killed, and others, if I can’t stand up to my father and the other men that make up the terrible secret society. My family has been members for hundreds of years, and it was supposed to be passed to me. I don’t want it, but I took it, and I took it to end them once and for all.
In the middle of all this, I am falling in love. That was a surprise, and one that possibly terrifies me more than the Gilded Grail. This could hurt, and I could get this beautiful man killed, along with a lot of others if I fail. My money may be able to solve some of my troubles, but there is much more that it can’t.
I’ve never had to be brave or fight for anything. This is my fight, though, and I will win. I’ll win it for my friends, for humanity and, maybe most of all, I’ll win it for Pat.
Raised in wealth most could only dream of, Ian Andrews III didn’t know another way of life existed until he went to college and learned about the world. There he met friends and came down from his palace to try to be like everyone else, but he had too much money to achieve that.
When he was set to finish graduate school, his father took him on a trip to learn the destiny that had been chosen for him. He would become a member of the Gilded Grail, a secret society that had members whose families had been a part of it for hundreds of years.
He was a legacy, and there was no choice for him. He would become a member, or he’d die.
Learning about this secret society, hearing their ways and goals, then going through the initiation, he was terrified and ran off to hide away from them and everyone.
His best friend worried when he’d been gone for days, his phone left in his room, not a word from him. Calling in help, it came in the form of an FBI agent in town on business. He was doing a favor, checking up on the missing college student, and right away smelled trouble. When he saw Ian’s computer history and the name Gilded Grail, he knew he had to find Ian.
Once he did, he learned the secrets that no one outside the order knew. Together, they decided to try to stop them from a horrible goal they’d set, one that threatened every man, woman and child in the world.
Falling in love with one another was easy but keeping that attraction at bay to try to save everyone a horrible fate, Ian and Pat struggled. Pat called for more help, and Javier Duran came, an old lover of Pat’s, and one of the world best mercenaries.
Sparks fly and jealousies ignite. Saving the world and falling in love at the same time wasn’t easy on any man. It could tear them apart or make them more determined to have the other in their lives forever. That was considering if they could stop the Grail and there was a forever…
When it comes to deciding on ratings and writing a review, often it is harder to do so for a story that falls short of what you expect a good or terrific story to be rather than a story that meets or exceeds those standards. Praise comes easily. But putting into words why a story falls flat? That should actually be more precise and perhaps well thought out.
Reviews, while a subjective animal, should be as objective still as possible, as weird as that may be. And that has to do with the fact that for the most part we are talking about books that authors have put their heart into (excluding the new book mills out there).
All this is leading up to the fact that when giving out low ratings we should be as objective and specific and perhaps thoughtful as possible.
Yes,33 Degrees of Separation (Legacy Book 3) by Rain Carrington was a story that I had some issues with.
It does have some promising elements here. There was some really nice twists to the plot I enjoyed, hence the .5 in the rating. But there were also quite a few elements that had me reevaluating the characters, their professionalism, and the entire plot structure. That doesn’t even address the problems I had with the main characters relationships and the BDSM aspect.
Characterization and their Professions: I will use this as just one of the examples of the issues I have here. One of the main characters, Pat Castaldo, is a FBI agent, who specializes in cults etc. Without putting anything into context, he makes a move on a traumatized young man (who has no idea who this FBI guy is btw) hiding out in a cabin, sends the young man’s black roommate out into the night to a small , nearby white homogeneous small town to get supplies for all three of them while they figure out what their next plans are. Smh! Anyone who watches TV cop shows would be groaning here. So yes. This is a small white town where most grocery stores never stay open late. Usually it’s the quikmart as the gas stations where there are cameras and people plenty suspicious of strangers. So why not let the roommate stay and comfort his best friend, and the big bad FBI white agent leaves with all training, and obtains the supplies while checking out to see if anyone followed them? Nope, that doesn’t happen.
It’s not logical, it’s not great procedure, and tbh, it’s one of the many issues you have with the lack of professionalism here that it takes you out of the story and disconnects the reader from the characters and plot. It will get worse. So I will leave it at one example. They felt extremely under researched and lacking in details. Just not believable in any way.
Romance, Relationships and BDSM: I am unfamiliar with this author’s previous stories or this series so I don’t know if BDSM figures prominently in Carrington’s other novels. From the author’s note, the main couple’s relationship was to contain a small amount of BDSM (D/s). I am not sure how much research or where this author conducted that research, but what happens here between Pat and Ian in no way reads like any “in the lifestyle” D/s relationship I have read or met. In fact it borders on abusive and ignorant, labeling the use of force as BDSM and being the aggressor as Dom without having the necessary structure or understanding in place. In one scene, Ian is actually beaten into agreeing to a course of action and that’s labeling BDSM. If you are not familiar with BDSM, perhaps as a reader, you might think ok, that’s what a D/s relationship is all about. But even if you are a pain slut, there are discussions and agreements to be held, none of which happens here. This is a total mess IMO. And I haven’t even gone into the instalove aspect.
I think that’s plenty. Won’t even go into that ending. Apparently there is more to come in this series. I won’t be venturing further.
Poor characterization, unrealistic backgrounds and professions, plotting I didn’t believe in, and labeled sexualities that don’t follow the basic tenets for safety all conspire to do this story in.
That’s my recommendation. Do with it what you will.
Cover art is interesting but doesn’t tell you much about the story.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 353 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by AAS Publishing