Review: Ivan by Kit Rocha

Reviewed by Jen

It has to be a difficult balance for authors who have created a sweeping world and a massive cast of characters. On one hand, you have the flock of longtime fans who’ve been with you since the beginning. The ones who remember every romance, every rivalry, every child. Then on the other hand, you have newer readers who just want to enjoy the story you’re telling today. I try very hard not jump into a series in progress and I thought I was safe entering this world with Ashwin.

I was wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. I Loved Ashwin with a Capital L. And I didn’t really feel lost reading it, even though I hadn’t read the O’Kane books. The authors did a great job easing me in with enough information that I didn’t feel my own ignorance of the events of the Beyond series. Not so with this book. There were so many people and events referenced here that it was just too much. My brain was in overload with all the characters who weren’t main players in the last two stories. I’m sure it was gift for longtime readers, but for me, it detracted from a romance featuring two of my favorite tropes: a forbidden relationship and a hero who thinks he isn’t good enough for his heroine.

Detracted, yes. Ruined, no. Because Bree and Donna are hella-good writers, and when we weren’t surrounded by folks I didn’t recognize, I was glued to the page.

Maricela is the sweet younger sister of Gideon–and a revered princess of the Rios family. She has been sheltered her entire life, trapped in a gilded cage. Ivan is one of Gideon’s esteemed Riders, a hardened warrior, and now Maricela’s bodyguard. He is utterly loyal to Gideon and takes his job very seriously, which is why he tries so desperately to ignore the growing attraction he feels for his charge. Maricela takes her duties just as seriously. She knows she is a political chess piece and she lives to serve others. But she is tired of fighting her feelings for Ivan. She’s ready to act on the interest that is so clearly mutual.

This is a slow burn, but it’s full of delicious angst and longing. I loved watching Ivan fall for the woman Maricela was instead of the perfect princess front she showed the world. They are so sexy together, especially once Ivan’s powerful control snaps. And I love that the authors didn’t make Maricela overly innocent. She has wants and needs, and she isn’t afraid to voice them. In the hands of lesser authors, she could have been a wilting flower or fluttery or silly. I wouldn’t have liked her then. Here, I thought she was selfless and strong and brave –and everything that Ivan needed.

I know I complained earlier about all of the characters, but I did enjoy the core spinoff folks… the Riders in particular. And I am really excited for Hunter and Nita. Another forbidden romance. I’m totally there for it.

A really good book –and probably an even bigger win for people who have read the Beyond series.

Rating: B

*ARC provided by authors

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Kit Rocha
Release Date: March 28, 2018

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