Monday, April 24, 2017

ARC Review: Darkest Hour Before Dawn (THIRDS, #9) by Charlie Cochet

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

As life and death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most for good this time.

Jewel's rating:

I have been looking forward to Seb and Hudson's story for AGES. And it is finally here! As with all of the THIRDS novels, a lot happens in Darkest Hour Before Dawn. These books don't really stand on their own, so if you haven't read any of them - start with Hell & High Water. Also - and this is one of my favorite things about the series - these books don't take themselves too seriously. Are they remotely realistic? No. And I don't say that just because we're talking shifters here. These big, badass guys don't really act like I would expect big, badass guys to act. But I love them. Every single one of them.

Sebastian Hobbs and Dr. Hudson Colbourn have a history. And that history came crashing down on them seven years ago. Back then, they were breaking the fraternization rules by dating, and the mate bond that formed when Seb marked Hudson made things even more volatile because that bond will make them go to great lengths to protect their mate. Well, seven years ago, that instinct resulted in the death of a civilian boy and that event tore them apart. Hudson wouldn't let himself get past the guilt and he held tight to it from that day on, while Seb pined for his mate. Seven years. And for those seven years, no matter how much Hudson rejected the idea of them getting back together, he was hurting, too. And hurting Seb in the process.

In the last couple books, as things with rogue factions have heated up, upping the danger that all of them are constantly in, Seb and Hudson have taken to spending time together, with Hudson under Seb's protection. Old feelings are still going strong and if - only if - Hudson would let go of his stubbornness, he and Seb might have a chance at some happy.

Over the last 8 books, we have gotten to know the Hobbs family pretty well. Seb and both his brothers are with THIRDS and they are pretty protective of each other. Especially Seb and Ethan. But we haven't known much about Hudson's history. He's British, he comes from money and he's a wolf Therian. A wolf without a pack, because his family rejected him when he refused to tow the line. So Hudson, while being the Chief Medical Examiner for THIRDS, was still alone. Until Seb and his family took him in as part of their family. But for seven years, Hudson has stayed away.

The more I learned about their previous relationship and the seven years that followed their break-up, the more I questioned whether Hudson actually deserved a second chance. The event that caused their separation was certainly not his fault. But the seven years that followed, with Hudson being so stubborn in denying, not only his own happiness, but Seb's as well, while giving mixed signals left and right, I'm surprised Seb didn't go insane. It was martyr behavior, for sure, and I'm never a fan of that. There were better ways the whole thing could have been handled, so, I'm not 100% forgiving here, even though I still am very happy they finally got back together (though they sure moved fast getting back to where they were!).

Aside from the martyr issue, I did have a niggle or 2.

I felt like the scene with Mrs. Palmer was completely unnecessary. It came out of the blue and the sole purpose for it was to make Hudson run from Seb - again. Seven years is a long time and Mrs. Palmer's blame is squarely on the wrong people.

And I am still really unsure about the whole TIN direction and how is is going to affect the THIRDS teams. Maybe I'll end up loving it. I certainly hope so.

The rest, though? Yeah, the rest is THIRDS brilliance and is exactly what I've come to expect from this series.


ARC of Darkest Hour Before Dawn was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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