Author: S.A. McAuley
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 159 Pages
At a Glance: Intense doesn’t even begin to describe the final chapters of Powerless, and what’s in store for you in the rest of the series.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: He was built to be invincible.
Merq and Armise return to the States after their mission to assassinate the remaining Committee members only to find the leadership of the Revolution isn’t as stable as they had thought.
Outside forces come crashing down on a Revolution stronghold, leaving two of their soldiers gravely wounded. Merq’s history with his brothers in arms Simion and Neveed forces him into making decisions that will impact his future with the Revolution.
Merq has always identified as a soldier first. Always known who deserved his loyalty and who didn’t. But with the uncertainty surrounding the leadership of the Revolution, the mysterious disappearance of the jacquerie and increased activity with the PsychHAgs, Merq knows there are few people he can trust.
The only man Merq wants or needs at his side is Armise Darcan. But his reliance on his former enemy may be a miscalculation that will threaten everything Merq stands for.
Reader Advisory: This book contains references to violence and to genetic experimentation on children.
Publisher’s Note: This book has previously been released under the same title. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.
Review: “We were both externally marked, battle-hardened, on every inch of our skin. But it was the memories we carried with us, the depth of surety in each other – and not those slashes woven with ink – that marked us in an indelible way.”
What to say about Powerless, book three in S.A. McAuley’s epic Borders War series… To paraphrase the opening line of Peter Travers’ recent Rolling Stone review of the new film The Revenant – Note to book pussies: Powerless is not for you. This book will kick your ass and rip your heart out. BUT, IT’S SO WORTH IT.
The storyline picks up right where it left off in Dominant Predator. Merq and Armise have been called back from their hunt of the remaining Opposition Committee members to protect President Wensen Kersch from an assassination threat. Things begin to get out of hand straight away. Merq is certain that Armise is hiding something from him, and he’s getting some very strange and mostly vague information regarding the state of the union, so to speak, from Jegs. Still, at first it seems to be clear where they are needed most at the moment.Only, what is obviously a cut-and-dried decision for Merq isn’t so black and white for Armise, and thus, the first conflict of the book arises.
Circumstances cause a lengthy separation between Merq and Armise. And, by “circumstances,” I mean chalk it up to Armise’s hard-headedness, or stubborn male miscommunication, or the fucked up mess that is war…take your pick. In hindsight, of course, I see it was necessary; you do get the satisfaction of some explanations along the way. Also, McAuley has written a harrowing, gorgeous, EXTREMELY well-thought-out novel here. There is no doubt that she executed the story brilliantly. BUT, that doesn’t mean I have to like it, or that it didn’t shred my heart to smithereens.
Merq is tested beyond what any human should have to endure. Physically, emotionally, and every other way you can imagine. He even completely gives up at one point – which was one of the toughest chapters I’ve ever had to muscle through.Three different people have to remind him of his worth, and that he is stronger and smarter than he thinks.He has to dig deep in this one. This book marks a turning point for Merq. No longer is the mission everything. Powerless is what he intends to no longer feel, ever again. From this point forward, any fighting Merq does is on his terms, either for himself, or later, for his future with Armise.
“You’re only powerless if you let them take away your power.”
As in the first two installments, the writing blew my mind. This book, and this entire series, contains some of the most powerful and gut-wrenching dialogue I have ever read. There is so much brilliant foreshadowing in this book I can’t even tell you. And, there are incredible scenes between Merq and various other characters, particularly President Kersch, Simion, and Neveed, which are unforgettable. I grew to love both Simion and Neveed more than I can express; at one point the dynamics change between Sims, Neveed, and Merq, and their interactions become absolutely priceless.
The politics are fascinating, never tedious. I think McAuley nailed the perfect balance of politics, action and love story. The entire series is a statement on the human condition, the levels people will go to in the name of power, and the presence and shifts of good and evil, both in the world and in individuals.
“We’re bad people, Darcan. We’ll always exist more in the darkness than the light. But if we’re going to make it, we have to find some way not to be bad to each other.”
Intense doesn’t even begin to describe the final chapters of Powerless, and what’s in store for you in the rest of the series. There are secrets, lies, and mind-blowing revelations. I get goosebumps and/or burst into spontaneous tears every time I think about it. If I had the fortitude, I would read this series multiple times; in fact, I do plan to read it again as soon as I’m out of therapy for the PTSD from this go ’round. I truly do think you could read it five times and see something new each reading, that’s how detailed and amazing this world is. My hat is off to you, Sam; thanks for the incredible ride. And, I’ll be sending you my therapy bill.
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