Rating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

The Nall is mad, and in his madness, he has led his people to invade a planet of sentient humans. He has ordered his armies to destroy cities, raze the ground, and kill each and every human they find, with a handful of exceptions. Those humans small enough and pretty enough are captured and kept as sex toys for the Alasharians, used for the entertainment of the Nall’s depraved court. But the Nall has gone too far. It is clear, now, that he has been tainted by the evil power of the Void and it is time for Chris, Nary, and Lasar — along with all those Alasharian’s untouched by the Nall’s evil; by the remaining few humans still able to fight; and with the power and wisdom of the Sha Sha Ar, a powerful mystic and healer — to put an end to the madness. It is time for a new Nall to rule the Alasharians.

All of those who come to the hidden military base come looking for Chris, and when the rebellion cannot produce him, their restlessness grows. Even Morgan, Chris’ own cousin, can do little more than assure the men and women risking their lives to abandon the Nall and side with the freedom fighters that Chris does exist and shall soon be with them. Morgan, still lost in the newness of his soul match with Rama and Hallosh, doesn’t have the knowledge or the ability to be the leader the people need. Instead, it’s Graham who has to step forward to stir up the crowd, to tell them the truth behind his experiences.

Knowing the Nall has been corrupted is one thing, to hear from one of his victims is another. Alasharns react with horror, humans with grim sympathy. It’s a unifying moment for them, each and every soul there determined to end the Nall and his court, or die trying. Even as they gain strength from their shared goal, the void is testing at the weak points, giving nightmares and sowing doubt and discord. Fortunately for Griffin, he managed to accept his own soul matches and finds comfort in Balor’s love and Omen’s strength. So long as there’s love in the world, the void can never truly win, but… where is Chris? Where is the powerful mystic promised to save them all? And where are Nary and Lasar, the leaders of this fragile and fragmented rebellion? Time is running short. The Nall knows where they are and has an army at his command, an army with no care or sympathy for the civilians inside the mountain. If they lose here, they lose everything.

This book, the fifth and final installment in the Soul Match series, has more action than the previous books. There is more violence as Alasharians and humans unite to destroy a common enemy, and people have to come to terms with the loss of those they love. While it effectively tied up all the loose ends, it didn’t exactly hit the spot, for me.

The world building in this series has always been of the “less is more” approach, with the Alasharian’s being aliens simply because they come from space, rather than because they’re actually all that different. For all that there are five books in this series, I think the story takes place over less than a month from Chris and Morgan’s initial capture to the climactic scene between Lasar and the Nall, a month in which everyone finds their true love, the Alasharian’s realize their invasion was immoral and their actions evil, and for all of those who were assaulted, tortured, and enslaved to be pretty much over their suffering. That’s not to say I need the author to linger over the pain and suffering, but I would have liked at least an acknowledgement that there was pain and suffering — and that it requires more than a good fucking — to get past.

So much time was spent in the first two books with Chris, Nary, and Lasar becoming a trio that the haste with which Morgan, Rama, and Hallosh became bonded felt cheap. They’re a cute grouping, and I honestly believe Morgan and his soul mates are going to be happy with one another, but they didn’t feel necessary to the story as a whole. In a previous review, I mentioned my displeasure with how Graham’s story was handled, with how easily and quickly his trauma was cured — in less than two days! —  because of a magical alien soul match and the healing power of love and sex, and I cannot help but echo it, a bit, here. The story goes by so fast that nothing feels real or permanent (this said about a story involving aliens). Everything felt less grounded in these last three books, as if there were no consequences to any actions, and the end of this final book felt so very … pat.

I’m a sucker for a good “happily ever after,” but I think the story rushed too quickly past the plot in order to show us how happy each of the three humans were with their new alien husbands. In the final scene with Chris, Nary, and Lasar, Chris is introduced to sounding. It’s a moment of trust and love, with each step involving consent and communication and ending with sweet and loving aftercare. I regret that we won’t get to see more of this particular trio, who were my favorite of the books, but I’m glad to see that they managed to overcome the loss and suffering they had endured. This was a cute, light, sugary sweet end to a cute, light series.

elizabeth sig