Wednesday, May 12, 2021

ARC Review: The Scouts by Kasia Bacon

The Scouts (The Order #3)From the Blurb:
Soldiers. Lovers. Soulmates.

Lochan and Ervyn—an assassin and a sharpshooter—remain in service to the Queen as part of an elite reconnaissance unit.
The Scouts are ghostlike. Elusive. Deadly.
They strike at enemies of the Crown without mercy. They get the job done, leaving no loose ends or witnesses. When Magic Supremacists threaten the safety of Elven Country, they do their duty—whatever it takes.
Lochan and Ervyn belong to each other, but will serving together as comrades-in-arms strengthen their bond as lovers or tear them apart?

Ky's rating:

The Mutt and The Highlander​ were just the beginning. They were prequels, short stories to give us a glimpse and wet our appetite, to prepare us for the real thing. And if the world building and the characters managed to capture you in just a few pages, like it happened with me, then you're in for a great adventure with The Scouts.

The first full length novel in the series, takes place about two and a half years after Ervyn and Lochan joined the Scouts. They are still together and they have no plans of changing that any time soon.

I liked their military's approach regarding couples, they were protected and respected regardless of being in the same team. So Ervyn and Lochan didn't have to hide or pretend, they could be together out in the open. Their society was like that as well, everything was out in the open and there were no expectations about the gender or the roots of anyone's partner.

The story follows the Scouts as they work on a mission and they move through a number of towns. That means that there are some familiar faces making quick or longer appearances and it was nice to see them and remember their stories.

The general mood in the first few chapters was possessive and jealous. Ervyn and Lochan had to make a choice and they did what was expected of them, hoping that they would be able to salvage their relationship. Don't let that scare you, though. Apparently, Kasia Bacon is an expert at creating some delicious tension, wrting some angsty scenes, keeping us on the edge of our seats and then soothing us and placing everything back together again. And she does all that, while keeping the characters and their relationship intact. It doesn't even feel fake or like trying too much for angst, it's just perfect!

Lochan and Ervyn are working very well together, both as teammates and as a couple. Lochan is the stoic, quiet, serious one. The one with walls all around him, who keeps himself away from people and doesn't trust easily. And Ervyn is the funny, social one, the mischievous Dark Elf who talks a mile a minute when he comes across anyone from his neck of the woods. He's also the only one who Lochan allows to get close.

In the sequels, we only got to see a teaser of Lochan lowering his defences to let Ervyn in. This time, though, their relationship has progressed with time and Lochan is a lot more relaxed around Ervyn. He lets him touch him more easily and he's more approachable. He isn't afraid to be vulnetable when they're together and it's glorious to see him like that.

There will be more coming from this couple in the future, as the ending as somewhat open. It's not a cliffhanger exactly, but it's clear that there's more. I'm both happy and frustrated about that, though. I'm happy because of course I want more stories in this universe in general and more tales from Lochan and Ervyn in particular. And I'm frustrated because I don't want to wait, I want them now!

Honestly though, I know that however long it takes for the next part of Lochan and Ervyn's story to get here, it's going to be worth it, just like this one did.

~ I read an ARC of this book. ~


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