Beyond Surrender (Beyond #9) by Kit Rocha #BookReview
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
“Have a little mercy, huh? Dallas’ll never forgive me if you get dead on my watch.”
“Pinky swear,” Ryder lied dryly. War was war, after all. The same story, repeated for tens of thousands of years. Some who fought lived and others died, and you never knew which you were destined to be.
Beyond Surrender—the intense final story in Kit Rocha’s epic Beyond series—is edgy, gritty, terrifying, and satisfying. It’s everything a reader could want in the final piece of the story puzzle we’ve pieced together over the last three years. The Beyond series was the first erotic dystopian series I read, and it is still the most memorable. The hedonism, the controlled violence, the brotherhood and family. The sheer, uninhibited exhibitionism and sexual freedom. Beyond Surrender features Nessa—the O’Kanes’ most protected sweetheart and the whiskey genius who holds the secrets of their lucrative liquor trade—paired up with Sector Eight’s leader Ryder, a man groomed from childhood to lead the Sectors in their rebellion against Eden’s brutal control. Ryder isn’t an O’Kane, and his relationship with Dallas is edgy, so Beyond Surrender veers into new story territory while still delivering that thrilling erotic punch readers have come to expect from the series…
Her heart pounded. She tried to get a full breath. “I can’t relax. You’re trying to foreplay me to death.”
His brows drew together. “I don’t think that’s a thing.”
She wiggled her wrists in his grasp. When that didn’t work, she rocked her hips up with a groan. “It is totally a thing. You’ll see when I die.”
Where most of the O’Kane boys so far have been cocky and dominant, Ryder is unlike any previous romantic hero in the Beyond series. Part of what I enjoyed most about Ryder was his analytical mind, his cool control and the little bits of warmth and shyness tucked away under all that mmm mmm mmm man! He’s controlled but gentle, at times rightfully smug but not arrogant, dangerous as all hell but doesn’t flaunt it. This guy is smooth dark chocolate—quiet, vibrant, and deep.
“That was… wow. It was really wow.”
He ducked his head with another of those heart-melting smiles. “I didn’t quite catch that. Wow, you said?”
She didn’t know if her cheeks could flush any harder. She screwed her face up into a scowl and smacked his shoulder with her fist. It bounced off. Of course it did. A laugh sputtered out of her, ruining her attempt at severity. “Don’t get smug. I hate smug men.”
“You don’t hate me.” He rose on his knees between her thighs, all those delicious muscles flexing as he moved, and finished opening his pants.
And for Nessa, being the whiskey princess of Sector Four is about more than just nurturing and guarding the product that built Dallas O’Kane’s empire. She has a connection with Dallas that predates their time in the Sectors, and I loved getting the little peeks into Dallas’s past.
“She’s family, in every fucking way that counts. I will ruin anyone who makes her cry.”
Some of the series couples are obvious pairings (or multiples), characters meant to be together and the authors made no secret about it—Dallas & Lex, Ace & Cruz & Rachel, Jas & Noelle—but Nessa’s match isn’t even hinted at until late in the series, and while Ryder isn’t someone I would have picked for her out of a character lineup, they make a pretty darn perfect couple. And the underlying theme that surrounds them is freedom and unification—two people of different backgrounds and temperaments coming together to fight for the same greater good. And, of course, they steam up the pages as hot as any other O’Kane couple.
His chest was a warm wall of smooth skin over muscle, and she had the drunken thought that if he stuck around after this war, she was going to feed him donuts and candy until she’d softened the edges of the weapon everyone else had honed him to be.
This was a really hard book for me to read. Aside from it bringing the end of a series I have loved and followed for several years, I personally connected with so much of Nessa—her essence and spirit and self-aware shortcomings. Seeing her flaws and fears and hopes laid out on the pages brought clarity to some of my own life choices.
Whatever you needed, you could have. But you didn’t have to take everything on offer, either. That was the magic of the world Dallas had created for them—a place where you belonged even if you didn’t fit in, because the only qualifications for belonging were showing up, having each other’s backs, and caring.
The mystery of Eden and how it fits into our modern day Earth has been slowly teased out in bits and pieces throughout the series. The authors stay true to form here—you won’t find any expository history lessons to tidily wrap it all up—but they do give us enough to satisfy those basic questions about the shining city and—finally!—its locale.
Beyond Surrender is a deeply satisfying ending to a vibrant, addicting series. The pacing is perfect, the build up beautifully tense, and the emotional arc carefully balanced and nurtured. Looking back across the series, I can’t choose a favorite story. I just enjoyed them all so much. But this finale in the saga of The O’Kanes vs. Eden is definitely one of the most immersive and enjoyable. It’s a rough ride, but it’s true to the O’Kane spirit, and I loved it.
I’m actually not sad it’s over. Sector Four and it’s famous whiskey gang have earned their peace, and the setup for Gideon’s Riders is mouth-wateringly tantalizing. Fans of the Beyond Series will adore this book, with its celebration of all things O’Kane, and hunger for the first Riders book to come.
New to the Beyond series? DON’T START HERE!! This series really needs to be read from start to finish to fully enjoy each separate installment. Kit Rocha has posted a reading order (with handy character and Sector profiles) for the series here, or you can just snag Beyond Shame*, the first book in the series, and jump right in!
*Denotes GraveTells affiliate link
I received this review copy from the authors. No compensation was received for this review.