Book #3 in the Gideon's Riders Series
As the sheltered princess of Sector One, Maricela’s life is defined by duty: to her people and to her family. Her wealth and influence have allowed her to build a better world, but they come with a price---the responsibility to secure political stability with a practical marriage. Maricela cherishes the idea of marrying for love, but there’s not much romance in the endless line of suitors interested only in prestige and power.
And her handsome, brooding new bodyguard isn’t helping the situation.
Ivan is the perfect, deadly warrior, a man trained from childhood to be the ultimate protector to the Rios family. His focus on keeping her safe is intense--and a little intoxicating. When the threat of danger cracks his icy control, Maricela realizes she’s not the only one fighting against temptation.
Ivan knows that the blood on his hands makes him unworthy of the pure-hearted princess. But from the first kiss, their forbidden affair feels inevitable. He can give her a glimpse of life outside her gilded cage and a lover who wants the woman instead of the crown. The only thing he can never do is promise her forever.
Because spurning her noble suitors to marry her bodyguard wouldn’t just be a scandal. It could set off a political firestorm that would tear Sector One apart.
Kit Rocha does it again
I’ve been reading Kit’s books since early days, and when we moved from Sector 4 (the Beyond series), I was convinced I could never love Sector 1 as much, but with this second book in the Gideon’s Riders series I was proven dead wrong. A slow burn (so many longing looks and glancing touches!) built up to an explosive finish. The classic princess and her knight (bodyguard) story takes on new life here and the payoff is fantastic. Great character development. Kit really hit it out of the park with this one. (There are a lot of characters in play here, so I do recommend reading book one in this series, “Ashwin,” first.)
This is Maricela’s story
Regardless of the title, I thought this was really Maricela’s story. And I can’t say I was looking forward to Maricela’s story. She seemed to be one of the more bland characters in Sector One: the baby Rios, following the directives of Isabela and wanting to please Gideon. Boy, I couldn’t have been more surprised!
I now appreciate Maricela as an extraordinarily intelligent, loyal, loving, and fierce woman. She feels marginalized by her family as the “baby,” unheard as decisions are made about her future, and used as negotiating fodder in Sector One power positioning. Everyone wants to hold onto or better their positions, and Maricela is a bargaining chip.
She falls in love — with Ivan —and begins to fight for him and what she wants. And it seems like it’s the first time she’s doing that. I was happy to see her stand up for herself, even as she continued to champion those most important to her.
Without spoiling the story, I’ll just say that we find out how Maricela once before fiercely fought for her family, affecting their survival and that of the Sector. She’s got the veneer of an innocent but she’s got the heart of a fierce warrior, protecting what’s most important to her at all costs. She’s not a fighter like Ana, but she’s just as lethal—maybe even more so.
And as a fan of Kit Rocha’s “Beyond” series, I also very much enjoyed the additional detail and POV’s on the war between the sectors and Eden, and the commemoration of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Sector One just keeps getting better!
Wow! Kit Rocha has done it again…I loved this book! Not that I’m surprised, because reading Kit Rocha’s books is so comfortably easy – the writing is excellent (no distractions from spelling, grammar, or word use errors), and the stories just pull you in. I love that I can picture the people and the settings, I can hear the sounds and feel immersed in the experience. It takes a special writer to do this, and the team that is Kit Rocha is amazingly adept at building this world and the characters in it.
In the newest book in the Gideon’s Riders series, not only did we get to watch Ivan’s and Maricela’s relationship grow and develop, but, all the while, we learned more about the other Riders (whose stories I can’t wait to read). I enjoyed the various perspectives in the book – in one chapter, I could look into Maricela’s thoughts and understand her reactions, then in the next chapter, I could do the same with Ivan. Interspersed in their story were chapters viewed from the perspective of other characters, so not only did I learn about Maricela and Ivan from their own perspective, but I also learned about them from these other characters…along with the added bonus of learning a little bit about those characters themselves (which will make their stories that much richer when they get told).
As for the story itself, Maricela and Ivan are both weighed down by the expectations people have of them (and that they have of themselves), and this book is all about them learning how to reconcile their own happiness with those expectations. I love the realness of their feelings and their interactions with the people around them. I love the sense of family and that ultimately, even though it isn’t always easy, their happiness is what is most important.