This series is super high on the smexing content, with the paranormal worldbuilding secondary to the erotic romance. I reviewed Ecstasy Unbound favourably here, and while I liked Ecstasy Claimed, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book, which had more action within the paranormal setting.
Gregoire and Alyssa’s romance was very heavy on the sex content but not enough on the emotional side for my liking. Gregoire knew Alyssa was his mate when she was born. Yes. One of his friend’s daughter would one day be his mate. Awkward. In capital letters. So Gregoire had gone on with his life, fighting evil, fucking, and fighting evil some more while Alyssa grew up. But when Alyssa came to age, he didn’t come for his mate because he wanted to give her more time to mature and grow into herself.
Alyssa on the other hand lead a life of chastity and was unaware she’d had a mate, which her parents kept secret from her. Alyssa also had to deal with being short in a family of warhorse shifters who are very large. She always felt as if she was the weak link and somehow lacking within her people. When she found out she had a mate who never claimed her, Alyssa decided for once and all to take control of her life and step out and live it.
Alyssa made a choice at the beginning of the novel which surprised me in a good way. She had some sexy times at a island retreat in a f/f/m/m scene (did I get the four-way correct?) before she met the hero. I understood where Jay was going with this scene. My only critique of it is that the scene felt a little disjointed and it could have packed a lot more heat and intensity.
When Alyssa and Gregoire met and the mating frenzy came upon them Alyssa had no regrets about what she did in that island retreat and that was awesome. Gregoire was very possessive but Alyssa never made it super easy for him at first. But then after is where I had some issues with this book. The middle of the book had too much sex, and there wasn’t enough emotional conflict between Gregorie and Alyssa. I wanted to see a relationship build outside of the sex. There was also way less action in this book compared to the first one. Instead of seeing the action taking place, there was a lot of telling between the characters which slowed down the book.
I liked that the storyline between Sam and Erik continued, though again I feel as if the emotional conflict wasn’t pushed hard enough between them. I wanted more time to have lapsed, especially for Sam after the horrors she endured. That brings me back to the worldbuilding. Rape and sexual violence is used a lot and from my first review of the first book I thought it would be a struggle for me if it continued in the series. It was continued and I did struggle, especially with what happened to Delia and what Cyril did to her. The worldbuilding towards women is unforgiving in many ways. But the heroines are also kickass and embrace their sexuality with no shaming, which I love. Alyssa wrecked into Gregoire about the imbalance of how he got to fuck around when she remained untouched.
Overall, I liked Gregoire and Alyssa’s romance but not as much as the first book because of the lack of emotional and worldbuilding content. But I do like this author’s voice and the characters she creates so I’m going to stick with this series and hope there’s more emotional content in the other books. Plus I really liked Rain’s character, Alyssa’s best friend, and I want find out who her mate is.
I give Ecstasy Claimed a C-