Ashwin by Kit Rocha (Review)

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Title: Ashwin by Kit Rocha
Published: March 7th 2017
Page Count: Who knows?
Where’d I Get It: Netgalley (eARC)
Rating: 4 stars

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.

Oh, gosh, okay. This appears to be a spinoff to some other novels? I was assured by the blurb at the beginning of the book that it doesn’t matter and I can start here. I felt pretty confident starting here, too. Sure, there’s some backstories there that I wish I had, but I guess I can always go fetch those later.

As a dystopian sci-fi romance, this book delivers well on all fronts. The worldbuilding appears to be top notch. Though, even though I was assured that I could just jump in at this point, I felt like there were some brushed over portions of the actual worldbuilding. That’s fine. I got the gist well enough. They live somewhere in the desert of post-flare USA. There’s predetermined areas where intensely formidable people rule over more formidable people. Everyone has a pretty intense personality. I guess dystopian wastelands will do that to you.

The science-fiction portion is interesting, though kind of cliche at this point. Growing supersoldiers to be the best killers, expecting them not to feel? Yeah, it’s a tired trope, but it works really well here. Kora herself is also genetically engineered, mean to feel too much, and is a great counterpoint here to Ashwin. There’s also a matter of tracking isotopes that is the basis of the climax to the story, and the extra bit of drama for our hero and heroine’s relationship. That was a fun little addition.

Before I go into the romance portion, I want to talk a little bit about the plot and the characters. As stated above, Ashwin is an unfeeling soldier who is tasked with infiltrating Gideon’s Riders, the group in charge of Sector One. Gideon himself knows this and allows it, because Ashwin is a super soldier, and even having one of those through weird means is better than not having one at all. Gideon is hoping Ashwin’s old feelings for the adept healer, Kora, will help bring Ashwin over to his side. He has quite the faith in it.

All right, plot points aside, the romance was great. The sex scenes were long and intense. The duo that makes up Kit Rocha doesn’t leave anything to the imagination and leaves no stone unturned. If you need a steamy romance, look no further. This book has you covered and provides surplusses.

I guess my only complaint is that the conflicts seemed easy enough to fix with a bit of elbow grease and ingenuity and some honesty. Which, overall, isn’t a bad thing, but I never felt like the hero and heroine were in either a) danger or b) in fear of breaking up, especially after they failed to forget each other previously. It was still a great set up for something that can prove to be a great series.

Now, I mentioned above that there’s a lot of strong characters in this book already. I’m actually pretty excited to hear that the second book tackles Ana and Deacon’s relationship. The short interactions that Ashwin and Kora had with both of them had me already super in love with Ana, so, I’m looking forward to that.

Overall, this book was just what I needed right now, an interesting enough romance in a rough and tumble world and I appreciated it a whole heck of a lot. Looking forward to diving into more, and maybe backing up and visiting the O’Kane’s point of views.

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