Shadow Falling (Scorpius Syndrome #2) by Rebecca Zanetti #BookReview
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
NOTE: The books in this series should be read in order. To start from the very beginning (book #0.5), check out Scorpius Rising in the On the Hunt anthology. The official first book in the series is Mercury Striking, and you won’t miss too much by skipping book #0.5 (but it is definitely an exciting read!).
“Stop staring at me.”
“Can’t help it. You’re something to look at.”
Look who was talking. Raze Shadow was six and a half feet of hard-muscled badassery with cut features and the most unique light blue eyes she’d ever seen. Add in the thick dark hair, the weird ability to move without making a sound, and an intensity only the most dangerous of people could ever hold? Yeah. She’d stare at him all day if he remained unaware of it. But Raze noticed everything.
Compared to Mercury Striking‘s strictly hard-edged Jax Mercury, Raze Shadow is a little more relatable of a hero. Raze has that same brutal intensity and willingness to make the hard decisions, but his drive comes from a place of protection and vulnerability, and that makes him feel more human. Even if the rest of Vanguard still sees the ex-Seal as a quiet threat.
“You’re not going to protect me from myself?”
“Hell no. You’re smart, you’re strong, and you’re a survivor. You can live with whatever decision you make.” He took another healthy drink of whiskey.
“I get the feeling you’re trying to convince yourself of those facts more than reassure me,” she whispered.
He sighed. “My job is to protect you from any external threat. You have to protect yourself internally.”
“Somehow I don’t think you’re talking about contraception,” she drawled.
Vivianne “Vinnie” Wellington may be one of the government’s top criminal profilers, but being shot up with a creative cocktail of CIA drugs by Ripper and standing US President Bret Atherton has changed her in ways even she doesn’t yet understand. If the hallucinations don’t drive her crazy(er), dealing with a determined Raze Shadow and a wary Jax Mercury just might. I loved Vinnie’s tendency to ramble and the little bursts of insight we get into how her mind may be evolving. She and Raze are kind of an adorable couple, with their vast size difference and opposite personalities.
Vinnie tried to take a deep breath. Standing between Raze and Jax was like being bracketed by raging wolves barely leashed. The tension pouring from the men on either side of her sped up her heart and stole her breath. If anybody could avoid a disaster, it was her, but she needed to control the Vanguard men as much as the reverend.
I had a hard time putting this book down and practically flew through it in a single day. Raze and Vinnie have a more playful vibe than Jax and Lynne did in Mercury Striking, although don’t let that worry you: Raze is still a bossy, scary mofo.
Shadow Falling is a solid installment in the Scorpius Syndrome series, immersive and unpredictable with just the right mix of bleak post-apocalyptic setting, exciting action, complex and mysterious characters, and steamy connections between the couples. As the series marches forward with each new Scorpius book, the larger world story arc matures and develops, bringing hope to the survivors in Jax’s Vanguard.
The action in Shadow Falling closely follows the events of Mercury Striking, so readers new to the series should definitely start with either that or the Scorpius Rising novella in the On the Hunt anthology, which chronicles how the Scorpius infection started and introduces several key players in the series.
Post-apocalyptic romance is a hard setup to balance. It has to be dark and scary enough to be believable, accurate enough technologically to satisfy eagle-eyed readers, and urgent enough to keep characters on their toes, all without overwhelming us with despair or snuffing out all hope of a comfortable future for the cast. Shadow Falling picks up where Mercury Striking left off and builds on the immersive universe it laid out while delivering a punchy, exciting story.
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