Scorpius Syndrome #3
I don't read many dystopian stories although I really find a post-apocalyptic world totally fascinating. I keep asking myself what I would do if I were stripped down to my basics and had to survive on instinct and good fortune. I'd like to think I'd be one of the good ones.
Before falling victim to Scorpius Tace was always the charmer, the easy-going guy with the boyish, Texan charm. When he got infected he didn't get his Vitamin B right away, which is the only thing avoiding becoming a Ripper, a zombie-like creature. Some of these Rippers are really only existing on instinct, the others become brilliant sociopaths. Tace has noticed change lately, his emotions are way toned down, parts of his body go numb, he blacks out. The only people tethering him to his human side are his friends at Vanguard, the vigilante group of people with Jax at the helm. One person owns his thoughts pretty much around the clock. Sami Steele.
She’d never, in her entire wild life, been kissed with such complete focus. His warmth drugged her, and his taste of mint, promise, and man seduced her more completely than any words of love. The kiss was all Tace. Everything she’d wanted and everything she’d feared.
Sami sees the darkness in Tace, the change, after he contracted the virus that killed the majority of mankind. She also is strongly attracted to the man who charmed all women with his good looks and easy smiles. When she is sent on a mission with Tace she is resolved to stay detached. She can't allow herself to fall for him, she would have to give up her secret if she did. And that would mean losing everything that means something to her. Tace and the family they have made at Vanguard.
No way was she getting involved with a brilliant bad boy who freely admitted he was about to go dark— especially since he was smart enough to figure out everything she was fighting so hard to keep hidden.
Meanwhile, Jax is still looking for his brother and Lynne is working herself do death to find the bunker that is supposed to hold a cure for the virus. And as far as The Mercenaries are concerned it is still up in the air whether they are friend or foe.
Admittedly, I feel that the overall story arc could be moved forward a little bit faster now - there isn't much major development in that regard (except one thing but that would be a spoiler) in this installment and I feel a little bit stuck. I want to know where this is going and get a sense of why the world building needs to be dystopian, if you know what I mean.
Regarding the character development this author does a fabulous job to bring them to life for the reader. Tace is a dominant, moody, over-protective mofo despite his hampered feelings. Sometimes the charming Texan boy flashes through and you know it'll be alright. Along the way you can actually feel some of the old Tace coming back until he is a perfect mix of the dark guy and the pre-Scorpius Tace Justice.
Sami was a badass heroine with a soft heart. Her desire to be accepted and part of the Vanguard family is so strong that even under duress she'd rather expose herself than betray her new family. There is an unexpected gentleness and sweetness under the tough exterior that is very compelling and makes her an amazing heroine. I loved her.
There is a lot of steam between the main characters, the chemistry was lovely and Rebecca Zanetti sure knows how to write a steamy scene.
The camaraderie in these books is one of my favorite aspects. I loved how all men were horrified when faced with Sami's tears but all of them tried to awkwardly comfort her. And another zinger was this gem:
She sniffed again and nodded. “Yeah. Do I look like I’ve been crying?” “Yes. Your nose is all red and blotchy and kind of big all of a sudden.”
I really enjoy this series. Rebecca Zanetti's effortless writing keeps impressing me. She creates likable characters and while I think the story arc that spans all books could be moved along faster it still has me invested and I want to know how this will continue. Will the Vanguards and Mercenaries become allies? Will we learn more about Jax' brother? I can't wait for the next installment and I'm curious who it will be about!