Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.75 stars
Narrator: Mark Westfield
Length: 3 hours, 20 minutes
A lot has happened to Dex and Sloane, not the least of it that Dex died and came back as a Therian-human hybrid and Dex and Sloane are getting married. Oh, and also joining TIN. The guys barely have a handle on all the newness and changes, but now they face an even bigger challenge. They have to tell their friends and family everything that’s happened. As expected, no one takes it well. But the men, especially Dex, work to assure everyone that no matter what, the close-knit group of family/friends will stick together through thick and thin.
For me, this book is really an interlude in the THIRDS series. Or maybe even an extended epilogue for Smoke & Mirrors. After the events of the previous book, things were left a little unsettled. And by that I mean, while Dex and Sloane were in a good place, there were a lot of changes going on and they hadn’t yet shared any of that with the people they were closest to in the world. I think the characters, and the readers, needed this shorter book in order to get everyone on the same page as we head into the home stretch of this series.
This book is a lot of things. It’s loving and sappy and sweet. It’s emotional and actiony. It’s everything the THIRDS series is known for, boiled down to seven or so chapters. I liked that we got a solid grounding in the team, in the relationships, and even in a mission the team goes on. But there’s very little progression in the overall storyline with this book. It’s kind of a step to the side, and maybe a tiny step forward. While I think it was necessary to take this step, I was also hoping for a bit more advancement of the plot. Since a large part of it was rehashing information we readers already know, I was always waiting for things to move on a bit.
What I really liked was that we got to learn how Dex and Sloane’s new position with TIN, and the teams’ role in that, would work. I thought it was very clever, maybe a bit too easy, but it worked within the confines of the rules of this world. That part worked really well for me, as I’ve too often seen authors shift their world to fit a new plot, changing or rewriting rules. Cochet does a good job here fitting in the new position, and the teams’ role, in a way that makes sense with THIRDS, and the established worlds’, SOP.
As I have with this entire series, I listened to this one in audio. Westfield does his usual outstanding job. I am constantly impressed with the way he portrays these characters, how he brings exactly the right emotion to every scene. Whether it be action, drama, feels, or sexy times, Westfield is spot on with every character and nuance. Not to mention his general narration is smooth and easy on the ears. Occasionally, there were inhalations between sentences that intruded on the narration, but it was easy to ignore as I fell back into the world, letting Westfield’s voice wash over me and transport me to the THIRDS universe. I will make mention of a special note in the beginning, where the narrator explains that from now on, accents in the story will be toned down so as not to detract from the overall narrative. This actually worked really well for me. Calvin still had a hint of a twang in his words, Hudson barely the ghost of a British accent. Each secondary character is immediately recognizable in the voice Westfield has given them before, even those who have less of an accent. It works so well and really enhances the story.
So another easy recommendation from me. While I would have liked a bit more progression with this story, it was a book that was needed for the overall arc. And Westfield’s narration gives it that something extra that really takes it over the top.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.