4 out of 4 stars
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Anstey's Revenge: Will Love be Enough? by Susan Hancock is the second book in a trilogy, Anstey's Kingdom, that expertly ties elements of history with sci-fi, romance, and suspense to produce a captivating read that is bound to keep you at the edge of your seat.
The characters, after the fight of their lives led by Thomas Alban and Kat Wrenn-Alban, have just gotten rid of Anstey, who enslaved them and executed all kinds of horrors on them. Now that they are free, they can just live happily ever after, right? Things are not even close to that, as there is still the fear that Anstey and his enforcers are out there plotting his return. There are issues surrounding the strict laws governing the central characters who came from a futuristic planet, Domum-Orbis, and the consequent segregation of humans due to the enmity between themselves and humans. Also, the trauma faced by Thomas at the hands of Anstey presents a stern test for his love for Kat. Amidst all these worries and threats, will love be enough?
Just like the first book, the story is set in Elizabethan times and is told from multiple perspectives, as Kat told her story in the first person while the rest of the story is told in the third person. The book can be read as a standalone, as Susan Hancock does well to include a quick recap of the story in the first book and introduce the characters and their situations at the beginning of the book.
The story mainly centers around Thomas and Kat, and we observe the intriguing dynamics between them while they struggle with intimacy after all they have faced. Kat is torn between worry for her husband and anger at the people that traumatized him, and Thomas is ever forgiving and goes as far as sparing the lives of his attackers, but he struggles with severe depression and blames himself for several losses in the first book. I have to say that following the strain on their relationship and wondering if they would pull through were my favorite parts of the book.
Numerous twists are also included in the story, which added a lot of suspense at different points of the book. I will not fully give out what the twists were to avoid spoilers, but I can tell you that one of them involved the paternity of two of Thomas' and Kat's children. So, you can imagine what they were up against. The elements of mind sharing, reading, and control are also explored here, and it excited me and gave me more to look forward to while reading.
There wasn't much to dislike about this book. I would have appreciated a deeper exploration of the events of the era where the story is set, even though we meet the Lundye Pirates and their slave-trading activities and experience the floods that occurred in that time. I found a few punctuation errors while reading, but the book seemed like it was professionally edited overall.
All things considered, Anstey's Revenge: Will Love be Enough? deserves a rating of 4 out of 4 for the author's near-perfect execution of this suspenseful character-driven story. In the end, a few lessons that readers will relate to are learned. The book contains profanity and includes descriptive sex scenes; therefore, I would recommend it to mature audiences that enjoy romance and sci-fi novels.
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