Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS, #5
Released: August 3rd 2015
Length: 220 pages
Source: Publisher for review
As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties.
It’s been just over a year since the first THIRDS book was released, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t crazy about Sloane, Dex, Cael, Ash and the rest of Destructive Delta. The world Cochet created for us is one of the rare few that envelops completely in just a few pages, making us feel like we’ve just returned home from a very long trip.
Things are a tiny bit different in Against the Grain, but the overall feeling of comfort and happiness remains the same. For the very first time, Dex and Sloane are not in the center of the story – it’s time for Ash and Cael to get their happily ever after. The transition was a lot smoother than I thought it woud be. It must have been hard for Cochet to step away from Dex and Sloane after four books, but she was extremely successful. The fact that we’re seeing these events through Cael’s and Ash’s eyes doesn’t mean that we aren’t just as close to the rest of the THIRDS. Dex and Sloane are very much present, and so is the rest of Destructive Delta. In fact, we get to see Rosa and Letty more clearly, which I certainly appreciated.
We’ve seen some definite progress for Ash and Cael in Rise & Fall, and yet we find them very much apart. It has been clear for ages that the two love each other, and they both admit it freely, but Ash still has so many things to work through and their relationship simply has to wait. Going into this book, we’re already very familiar with both characters, but painful new things are still revealed on almost every page and their distance becomes far more understanable with each new revelation. I never expected Cael to have so much pain in his past, not with his father and brother, but Cochet subtly reminds that we’re all vulnerable and that even the best of us can end up in vicious cycles until we hit rock bottom.
The book doesn’t just focus on the relationship. There is a huge development for the overall story arc in the last part, a lot of danger and more action than we’ve seen in a while. I was genuinely scared for our team, which was a new and not entirely welcome feeling, but after a few jaw-dropping moments, I can see the direction the series is taking and I applaud Charlie for it.
Those of you who are new to the series, or even completely unfamiliar with it, please don’t judge it based on the genre, covers, relationships or anything else. I did that for months when it was first released, thinking I wouldn’t like the paranormal elements, but I missed out on so much because of my assumption. This series is at the very top of my favorites list, right up there with Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson, and I hope you’ll all at least give it a chance. The first book is still $0.99 on Amazon, so there's practically no risk.
I vote that every one of Charlie Cochet’s release days be considered a worldwide holiday. Sorry, employers, we can’t come to work today. We have much better things to do.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.