The Last True Hero
(Burned Lands #2)
Release: January 24, 2017
ARC provided by the author
Sometimes the monsters aren't so easy to see...Review:
In the drought-stricken Wastelands that arose out of an apocalypse, Adam McClain never thought himself the hero. Kicked out of the town he created, and shunned by his friends and former allies when they discovered what he was, he's managed to find work as a bounty hunter. After all, who better to hunt the wargs and reivers that haunt the Badlands, than one of the monsters themselves?
She's the woman he can't have...
Mia Gray learned the hard way that men can't be trusted, and when McClain strides into her bar she knows that trouble just walked in. The rugged bounty hunter is her greatest weakness–but he's hiding something, and the last time a man kept secrets from her, she got her fingers burned. Tempting as he is, Mia's staying far away.
But when a horde of reivers strikes her town and captures her sister, the only one Mia can turn to is McClain. Together they might just be able to rescue her sister, but what will happen when Mia learns of the secret McClain is hiding? Can she ever trust him again? And when the man who broke Mia's heart in the first place discovers the same secret, will McClain survive?
When I read Nobody's Hero, the first book in the series, last year I was impressed with the post-apocalyptic world, but I felt like there were times when the story dragged. That's not unusual for a first book in a series - they just have too many things to set up. I think book two is much tighter and I really liked the additions McMaster made to the world building.
We get to see much more of the continent, and actually figure out which continent it is - I wasn't sure before, when McClain and Mia lead a group through the ruins of Las Vegas to rescue the townsfolk. It reminded me of those moments watching The 100 when you know more about the location than the characters do. I also thought of the show when they mentioned mole people living in underground bunkers.
Unlike that show, the book also has a western feel at times. The things we learn about the eastern states, called The Confederacy, made me think of the early 19th century era of Manifest Destiny, though they also have futuristic technology. I would love to see one of the books in the series explore that part of the continent.
But enough about the world and its influences, even though I have yet to mention the Mad Max moments with the reivers, because this is a romance series. And it's one obsessed with the heroes' redemption. We met Adam McClain in the previous book where he was not exactly a villain, but definitely a rival. He was turned into a warg (werewolf) by the same man who turned Lucas, the hero of book one. That led to Adam and Lucas, one time partners and best friends, having a falling out. Though they reconcile, nearly everyone else in Adam's life turned against him when they discovered what he was. It was easier than I expected to see him as a hero though. And Mia, despite being competent from the beginning, really discovers her badass side.
McMaster also sets up the main character for book three, who's even more in need of redemption than McClain. I'm hoping to get to explore even more of this fascinating world, maybe see some of the places, like the bunkers, that were mentioned in this book.
McMaster recaps the events of Nobody's Hero pretty thoroughly so you wouldn't need to read book one in order to follow the story. However, you might want to read it first to avoid spoilers.
Recommended for fans of: The 100, Defiance