Charlie Cochet – Blood & Thunder (THIRDS #2)

22517659Author:Charlie Cochet
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M Sci Fi
ISBN: 9781632161789

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary: When a series of bombs go off in a Therian youth center, injuring members of THIRDS Team Destructive Delta, and causing a rift between agents Dexter J. Daley and Sloane Brodie, peace seems unattainable. Especially when a new and frightening group, the Order of Adrasteia, appears to always be a step ahead. With panic and intolerance spreading and streets becoming littered with the Order’s propaganda, hostility between Humans and Therians grows daily. Dex and Sloane, along with the rest of the team, are determined to take down the Order and restore peace, not to mention settle a personal score. But the deeper the team investigates the bombings, the more they believe there’s a more sinister motive than a desire to shed blood and spread chaos.

Discovering the frightful truth behind the Order’s intent forces Sloane to confront secrets from a past he thought he’d left behind for good, a past that could not only destroy him and his career, but also the reputation of the organization that made him all he is today. Now more than ever, Dex and Sloane need each other, and, along with trust, the strength of their bond will mean the difference between justice and all-out war

Review: I always begin reading sequels with a bit of trepidation. Sequels can be iffy. The heat between the characters can cool, the action can slow down, or the controversy and angst can fall flat keeping the story from being as engrossing or as exciting as the first book. Colored me tickled that this wasn’t the case with Blood & Thunder.

The first book in this series revealed the fantastic world of THIRDS. The phenomenal world building was detailed and layered making the story more real. Blood & Thunder is about the characters. We are back with our two main characters, Dex and Sloane. Dex’s antic still made me laugh out loud. (The karaoke bar was outstanding.) The tension ratcheted up with the hunt for Isaac, the leader of the Order of Adrasteia. But more importantly for me, all the characters grew. This series has this great cast of secondary characters that I adore, even mouthy Ash. I want to see more of them and I’m ready to beg for Ash to have a book of his own.

In Hell & High Water, Sloane was cut off emotionally, grieving for Gabe, holding secrets close to his chest, refusing to trust anyone. I’m so glad that this was not simply swept under the rug. I wanted to see Sloane move past his grief and guilt. I got my wish and watched Sloane struggle with it all, making his journey more real, and I applauded every step he took that brought him closer to Dex. My beautiful, wonderful Dex. He was a rock, understanding Sloane better than Sloane understood himself.

I have to admit I worried that the plotline with the Order of Adrasteia might’ve been too ambitious and too large to be solved in a trilogy. (At least I think THIRDS will be a trilogy.) That trepidation came from the dark look at their society with a bigoted police force and reporters who were no better than sharks in bloody water. In the first book, I know there were human sympathizers, civil rights leaders for the Therians but even then their numbers seemed to be small when compared to everything else. Because of this view, I could see the uphill battle THIRDS would have to do in order to come out on top. In my eyes, for a good portion of the book, overcoming the adversary seemed an insurmountable feat. I kept thinking, “OMG, they’re all going to die and there will be a civil war.”

Unlike Hell & High Water where I had guessed the mystery early on, then spent the book waiting for everyone else to catch on, here I only had an idea. But because of the secrets kept, not only by Sloane but others as well, the ‘what’ and ‘where’ were harder to surmise and even then, I couldn’t guess how it would play out.

In the end, I enjoyed this just as much, if not more in some instances than the first book in the series. With most of the world building engaged in Hell & High Water, this became a more character driven story that drew me in deeper. Not to say there wasn’t action and explosions, because there was plenty of that, rich in detail and full of suspense. There was a little bit of angst but I didn’t think it overshadowed the story, adding to and not taking away from the characters or the plot. This will definitely be a re-read and one of my all-time favorite books/series. This is an absolute must read.

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