Myia, a shaman-in-training, wants desperately to protect her peaceful village from the barbaric Highland invaders. To hone her powers of prophetic visions and healing, the village elders send Myia on a quest to heal the Highland leader’s heart and stop a brewing war. Myia’s mended many souls before, so this should be an effortless duty . . . until she meets the gorgeous, stubborn Highland warlord.
Kedric, a gladiator who escaped enslavement, only wants to liberate the villagers from their common foe-a race that breeds humans for blood sport and genetic experiments. Fueled by his rage, Kedric is determined to take down the brutal enemy. So when a raven-haired beauty with a body made for sin tries to sabotage his mission, Kedric wants her gone. Yet no woman’s touch has ever left Kedric more annoyed . . . and aroused. Kedric knows he should shun her soothing embrace-but he can’t seem to stay away. As their passion grows, Kedric must decide between fighting his war or surrendering his rage-and his heart-for Myia’s love.
*Blurb taken from Goodreads*
Last year I enjoyed the first book in K.M Fawcett’s SF series. It’s set on the planet of Hyborea where humans have been abducted for the amusement of the native aliens. In this second installment, the action focuses on the freed and escaped humans who have settled in an area of the planet where the Hyboreans are unable to venture because of the electromagnetic atmosphere. Unlike the human males who are enslaved and forced to fight in gladiatorial games, or the females who are forced to be sex slaves and brood mares, the people who reside in the free zone thrive in the Highlands. But those who live in the Lowlands face a starker fight for survival. They are more akin to nature and they’re facing danger when the Warlord of the Highlanders, Kedric, is raiding their settlements because he’s on a quest to free the rest of the humans from the Hyboreans. And in order to win this mission he needs an army, but he never counted on tangling with the shaman who is also determined to put a stop on the raiding.
There were many elements in this book I liked–and would have loved–but overall, FEARLESS didn’t really work out for me as a great followup from the first book in this series. For instance, there is a Warlord hero, and a shaman healer heroine. This trope is an instant winner for me, however, the execution of the romance from this premise was a complete letdown. And this is primarily the issue with the heroine: Myia–who I found to be really annoying. I could understand that she was young, and in a lot of ways naive, but she just came across as this Mary-Sue type of character and I didn’t feel there was any depth to her. Her powers as a shaman helps to heal the spirits, or the emotional/psychological issues of people. It made her extra special and there were no real flaws to her character. I wished she faced more problems and obstacles especially since she managed to win and turn so many people her way.
Kedric is first amused by Myia who shows up on his front castle door, demanding that she’s going to heal him on his dark and murderous path to free the humans from the hyboreans. But he then gets frustrated and angry when his plans for freeing the humans from captivity are thrown in disarray. There are some funny moments like when she confronts and attempts to heal him. There’s also a fun exchange such as this which was a highlight of the book.
“Savage,” he boomed. “Stay out of my body.”
“If you enter my body, barbarian, rest assured I will enter yours.”
But as the story progressed, the more annoyed I got with Myia, the more I disliked her which affected my enjoyment of the romance. There was also insta lust which didn’t have much of a build-up and for a heroine who didn’t have much experience with men, she had the arts of seducing Kedric quite down to pat. I think this is the crux of the reason why I felt her character was not that developed, and any problems or setbacks was easily overcome. Kedric in contrast was slightly more fleshed out but I found this couple wasn’t as engaging or interesting, especially compared to the first book.
Another aspect was the world-building. I was looking forward to seeing more of the wider world of Hyborea but I was taken aback on how technologically developed the Highlanders were. I wished there was more background on how they set up their enclave and how long it took, as well as how they managed to gain and smuggle in human food which was not native to the planet, and technology that made them more advance compared to other settlements in the Lowlands. I felt this was jarring because I did not expect them to be so advanced and the stark struggle to survive against the Hyboreans from the first book was totally different in feel and tone to this book.
All in all, I am not sure if I will pick up more books in this series although I did like the hint of things to come for the next book. It did have a really promising start, and there will be readers who will enjoy this installment if they don’t mind an innocent and naive heroine who has a super power. But sadly it was not for me because I missed that gritty tone and danger of the chase from the first book. This was very much a different book, and despite the Highlander Warlord feel who was out on a quest of vengeance it just didn’t work for me.
I give FEARLESS a C-/D+