Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: The Hero Within by Bec McMaster


The Hero Within
(Wasted Lands #3)
Bec McMaster
Release: April 20, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the author 
Can this villain become her hero? 

As the only healer in a war-stained town, Eden McClain is devastated when the Salt Plague sweeps through the wastelands she calls home. Suddenly she's racing against time to save her people–and her niece–before it's too late. When she hears whispers of a cure, she knows she can't cross the dangerous Wastelands by herself to get it. She needs a guide. And she's just desperate enough to turn to a man who once betrayed her.

Redemption comes at a price… 

After years of living on the leash of a dangerous psychopath, Johnny Colton is finally free, but that doesn't mean he can wash the blood off his hands. The easiest way to deal with the past? Just stop caring. Which is working perfectly for the rugged outlaw, until a beautiful ghost from the past rigs a trap for him.

The last person he wants to see is the woman who haunts his dreams, but as Eden points out, he owes her one. The only problem is that the people with the cure might also have created the plague, and deliberately unleashed it. It's a dangerous trap, and the only way to escape it is for two past enemies to learn to trust each other. 

The Hero Within is easily my favorite book in the Wasted Lands series. It’s an Enemies to Lovers story, which is my fave. It’s also a road trip story, my other fave. (Actually there's kind of a tournament in there too, which rounds out my top three.) It takes readers across the divide between the wasteland where the other books are set and the Confederacy, into one of the border cities. I knew from earlier books that this part of the world existed, but I loved actually seeing it.

My favorite thing though was learning more about the Wargs. Johnny Colton is a little different than the heroes in the first two books since his parents were also Wargs. He’s more in control of his beast and knows something about how Wargs were created. But they meet some other characters on their journey who fill in all the blanks. They’re a lot more like we expect werewolves to be, which I might have liked to know earlier.

It also makes this feel more like a traditional shifter romance, which could be part of the reason I like it so much. There's none of that alpha-hole behavior that's been bothering me in shifter books lately though - Colton's big on consent. I really enjoyed his dynamic with Eden, as well as the chance to see his side of the incident that made them enemies initially, which is described from a different POV in the previous book.

The events in the earlier books play an important part in the story, both the shared history of the three heroes and the times where Colton popped up in the other stories. I enjoyed seeing the characters reconcile some of their differences. Part of Eden’s involvement in that history was new and made the romance feel more natural.

In some ways, I would have liked Eden and Colton's story to start the series. So many of my world building questions finally got answered. I'm happy to have those answers either way. And I'm happy with where these characters wound up.

Recommended for fans of: Keri Arthur’s Outcast series, The 100


My reviews of other books in this series:
The Last True Hero

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