Title: Makepeace (Taking Shield: Book Three)
Author: Anna Butler
Publisher: Self-Published (1st edition published by Wilde City Press)
Length: 316 Pages
At a Glance: A thrilling installment in the Taking Shield series that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: Returning to duty following his long recovery from the injuries he sustained during the events recounted in Heart Scarab, Shield Captain Bennet accepts a tour of duty in Fleet as flight captain on a dreadnought. The one saving grace is that it isn’t his father’s ship—bad enough that he can’t yet return to the Shield Regiment, at least he doesn’t have the added stress of commanding former lover, Fleet Lieutenant Flynn and knowing the fraternization regulations will keep them apart.
Working on the material he collected himself on T18 three years before, Bennet decodes enough Maess data to send him behind the lines to Makepeace, once a human colony but under Maess control for more than a century. The mission goes belly up, costing Albion one of her precious, irreplaceable dreadnoughts and bringing political upheaval, acrimony and the threat of public unrest in its wake. But for Bennet, the real nightmare is discovering what the Maess have in store for humanity.
It’s not good. It’s not good at all.
Review: Just as with the previous two books in this series, the third book is a ride from start to finish. While this one might start a little more slowly than the first two, it is thrilling, nonetheless, to see Bennet getting back into action after the devastating events from Heart Scarab. For those who have not read the series, I implore you to stop reading, go pick up the first book, and start there. This is not a series you can read out of order. To do so would be a disservice to yourself and the story. Anna Butler brings you on a journey, and details from each book are scattered throughout. While most authors can do a brief recap to catch readers up, the world is too complex for that in this series. While Butler does a great job of reminding readers already familiar with the series of what happened, it’s not enough for new readers.
I love this series. I not only have read the ebooks, but I own the paperbacks as well, and proudly display them on my very limited and very tight shelf space because I love it so much. Makepeace just adds to my love for the series.
In this book, Butler has not only added even more depth to her characters, but she’s added an incredibly difficult moral and ethical dilemma for Bennet. I can’t give away too much, but I will say that the information found on T18, from Heart Scarab, plays a huge roll in these problems. It is unsettling—horrifying, really. Bennet is faced with true horror, perhaps for the first time since seeing a Maess. Maybe even more than seeing one.
The romance in this book is not strong. There are the undercurrents of it, and reminders of what has been, but Bennet and Flynn are not together. However, despite that, the tension between them is still palpable, even in the vast distances of space. I loved reading their thoughts about each other. It was heartbreaking. I ached to see them happy.
Aside from the fantastic science fiction, Butler knows how to write characters well. In fact, it’s hard to even call them characters. They feel so much like real people. These are people everyone could know. I have a Warwick in my life—God help me—and I’ve had a Caeden, Jak, Felix, and even a Joss. The characters themselves are so real, I feel as if they must surely exist somewhere. They all have complex feelings and emotions. They are completely different from each other. In fact, were Butler to remove the names from a scene, I would still be able to identify the characters because of how unique their personalities are. In this book, Bennet undergoes even more of a transformation than in the first. While I wasn’t always happy with his decision (Flynn either, for that matter), he is human and he makes mistakes like the rest of us. I appreciate that about him. He is not simplified for the reader. He grows and changes with each experience, and Butler masterfully carries that through in subsequent books.
The ending of the book is huge cliffhanger, and I’m eternally grateful for the fact that I get to read the next book so soon after this one. Otherwise, I would be tearing out my hair. This book leaves off in such a good spot, and fans of Bennet and Flynn will be hanging onto their seats for the ride we are about to be thrown on.
I can’t give away too much about the middle of the book without ruining this story, but I will say this: it is intense, and it will leave you reeling.
If you are a fan of hard scifi, this is the series for you. Part of me wants to keep this series a secret forever, and revel in its glory alone, but then I would miss out on talking to others about it. And honestly, I really do want everyone to read it because it is that good. It rivals all of the “mainstream” science fiction I’ve read; in fact, I think it’s better because it doesn’t shy away from human sexuality of all kinds.
Don’t miss this series.
You can buy Makepeace here: