Rating: 3 stars out of 5
This is the third book in the series, and they should be read in order. This starts right where book two ends, with Ethan and Ryder running into Ethan’s father Gregor, who is the attorney hired by the Corporation to help stop the Mob from infiltrating Ore 5’s entertainment businesses. The only reason to know this happens in space, is because the reader is told it’s in space. There is nothing science fiction about this, except the one alien creature. I kept hoping, but it just never happened. The big secret about Uncle Bob and why Ryder came to Ore 5 is revealed, which immediately becomes a red flag for a plot twist that never materializes. Was it planned for another book that isn’t going to happen? I have no idea. It’s the perfect way for the mob to get revenge. However, this book really does have an ending that feels like the series is done. The story arc of Ethan finally getting the respect he deserves from his father is complete. The theme of Ethan letting go of the past to see how people really treat him, what they really think of him, has played out.
As suspected, Brutus’s character is a surprise twist…and I think this was really not plotted out from the beginning but added later, or there is just no foreshadowing. There is plenty of foreshadowing about everything else, so it seems odd. BTW, I had no idea Brutus is black until 77% of the way into this third book. I would have liked to have known that in the first book so I could have been picturing him properly. Brutus and Hayden’s story just isn’t given any time to grow. There is a convoluted message about Brutus not wanting to date Hayden while he is a client in need of protection, not wanting Hayden to feel like it’s a quid pro quo. Yet as soon as the Corporation is no longer paying Brutus to watch Hayden, how is it any different? Hayden has no money or any place to stay except with the man who is giving him a free place and promising to protect him. Brutus and Hayden talk about contracts and their relationship in front of Ryder, Tommy, and Ethan…but there wasn’t a scene where they talk about it themselves, until after that. They are all of the sudden in a relationship after having a few breakfasts together as soon as Brutus is no longer his bodyguard. I did like the message that saving Hayden isn’t enough, that they could help the others exploited by the mob. I also liked the message that saving them did not mean stopping them from being rent boys if they wanted to–that was their choice. Safe. Consensual. Legal.
I don’t think this is an ARC, since the book was already published, so it upset me that the writing declined: “It made for a sense of important belonging in Ryder’s life. Like it gave Ethan a spot that no one had ever been able to fill out in his life.” There are many sentences like this that have mistakes like verb tenses, typos, or just feel grammatically awkward. In fact, this book seemed really long, it dragged on and could have been much shorter and have told the same story without all the repetitive thoughts. There is a heavy hand in guiding the reader through Ethan working out his insecurities and how to think about each situation. I think book one had promise, and I liked book two. I think you can read book one and stop. If you read book two, you will have to read book three for the conclusion and I’m not sure it’s worth it. Even the sex scenes are not that exciting anymore, and much is made of Ryder spontaneously climaxing on stage while dancing. I think this book needed better editing and some rewrites before it was released. I am disappointed the series got weaker, rather than stronger at the end.
The cover art is by Angela Waters. I’ve liked all the covers in this series and they form a cohesive look for the series.
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published May 17th 2019 by eXtasy Books Inc
SeriesOre 5 #3