Series Recap Tour & Giveaway - Anna Butler - Taking Shield Series
Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1)
Earth’s last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesn’t need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his father—or with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesn’t expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.
Amazon US, Amazon UK, Wilde City Press, ARe
I think the first thing that I want to say about this book is that it is definitely more military sci-fi than romance. I was kind of bummed out by that fact since I had been looking forward to reading a romance sci-fi that the blurb and tags for this book promised. Yes, there is a love story but with romance books the love story is the focus and with this one it was not.
This story is about Bennet who had many struggles to try to work through in this story...
✓ His struggle with his father and a long ago event that altered their relationship
✓ His somewhat broken nine year relationship with Joss
✓ His love of being Shield and all he fights for being part of it
✓ Finally his intense attraction to Lieutenant Flynn.
All of these are such an important part of Bennet’s story but the only part of this story that dominates is him being part of Shield and what he does as part of it, it is the overarching storyline that truly dominates this story. The rest is just secondary stories. Secondary stories that like secondary characters play a huge role in the development of Bennet’s overall mission and working through each struggle.
I love all the secondary characters who each place a significant part of the story and are completely developed characters to boot! I love secondary characters who roles are important to the story and not just a side note to be placed in the book.
The author did an excellent job of world building and although the first part of this book was a lot of information made into storyline that at times gets slightly confusing overall her prose are great and her details are phenomenal. There was never a slow period in the book because the author filled this story with awesome action scenes that kept you on the edge of your seat and all the intrigue you could hope for in a sci-fi book. I even loved the fact that the author had a jealousy factor between the Fleet soldiers and Bennet who is Shield. Shield gets all the special equipment and Fleet doesn’t plus they are treated special but this added to Bennet trying to work with and create trust in the men and women he had to work with during his mission.
My one main issue with this story is that although it takes place 5400 years in the future where earth has long ago been destroyed and its inhabitants have taken residence on a new planets, where they are no longer called humans, do not have the same religions, and all this new technology but what we didn’t make any progress for LGBT rights. Some families look down on having gay children, they still don’t marry, and even one scene Bennet’s manliness was called into question because he bottoms. Even though how that particular scene came about confused me I was still upset that we are made to believe that with all of these other advances in society we still have these outdated and harmful ideas about gay men.
Overall this was a highly enjoyable well written sci-fi story that kept me engaged and wanting to see what happens next!
Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2)
Telnos is an unpleasant little planet, inhabited by religious fanatics in the festering marshlands and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines up in the hills. But the Maess want Telnos, and Shield Captain Bennet’s job is to get out as many civilians as he can—a task that leaves him lying on Telnos while the last cutter of evacuees escapes in the teeth of the Maess invasion.
Bennet is listed missing in action, believed dead on a planet now overrun by Maess drones. His family is grieving. His long-term partner, Joss, is both mourning and guilt-ridden. And Fleet Lieutenant Flynn? Flynn is desolate. Flynn is heart-broken…no. Flynn is just broken.
Amazon US, Amazon UK, Wilde City Press, ARe
REVIEW: Heart Scarab
Just like book one, Gyrfalcon, this takes place in the same universe and was another great military style sci-fi where the romance plays a very small role in the overall story of Bennett.
The world building this author is capable of is truly inspiring. While this one had some of that is was somewhat lacking compared to what she accomplished in book one. The focus in the beginning is more on the mission that Bennett is on as well the continued tensions between Shield and Fleet. His mission takes him to the a planet named Telnos that has been run over by their enemy the Maess and he has to rescue the survivors but things don’t go as planned and Bennet is left behind presumed dead. Now Bennet has to devise an escape.
While all this is happening Bennet’s family and friend including Flynn are grieving for him and trying to cope with the loss. Although I think seeing their point of view on what has happened to him is important it does slow the sci-fi action parts down that is not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. That could be because I like the emotional parts of stories and in this story with the lack of romance I relished these other emotional parts.
The last part of the book is after Bennet is rescued and the fall out emotional for himself, Joss, and Flynn but doesn’t really include them. It again is more about Bennet which I think most of the story is about and the other people and events are just the parts that push him to make his decisions in life. The author has a fantastic way of making you care what happens next in Bennet’s life and what those decisions will bring. There is no HEA or HFN in this book either but I think we knew that even by the time Bennet was rescued that this was not going to happen so it wasn’t a surprise. The author is good at giving you clues throughout the books that leads to some other revelations that you later think DUH how did I not see that coming but that is the mark of good intrigue.
Makepeace (Taking Shield #3)
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, knowing the fraternisation 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.
Wilde City Press
Just like the first two books this was a very well written epic sci-fi drama with plenty of intrigue, political games, tensions between the crew, and corruption. I was looking to see where she would take Bennet’s story next after his injuries from book two and major changes in his life.
She continues with her great ability to create fantastic action scenes that have your heart rate kicking up and your butt on the edge of your seat. This book deals with Bennet after he cannot go back to the Shield that he loves and must go to Fleet. And of course Flynn is nowhere to be seen because he is on a different ship in a totally different part of space dealing with Bennet’s father who is unhappy about the feelings between his son and Flynn.
Where we are lacking the emotion of a love story we make up with the relationship of Bennet and his father as they try to repair what is still damaged between them. And even though these books are clearly more epic sci-fi and less romance that doesn’t mean this author lacks the ability to create some pretty moving emotional scenes when the time comes. She also starts to set a path for Flynn and Bennet relationship to stop taking a back seat to people like Joss and Rosie.
One thing that has bothered me since book one is the confusion on whether Bennet is actually gay or bi. Book one she has him stating that he is gay but that in his open relationship with Joss he had slept with two women before Flynn, then he ends up in a romance of sorts with his best friend Rosie. This is something small and maybe not noticed by all readers it is one that nagged at me as Bennet’s story progresses. I do not doubt his feelings for Flynn because they make that clear in how they react emotionally throughout the books.
The teaser chapter at the end of this book looks like we will get more of the Bennet Flynn dynamic in the next book but there are sure to be more complications with Bennet being back on his Dad’s ship along with his younger sister who has made friends with Flynn but she seems to want more...
Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.