Review: In the Wreckage by Hailey Turner

Reviewed by Olive

In the Wreckage is the first book in Hailey Turner’s Metahuman Files series. In a future world, a deadly virus called ‘Splice’ is being used as a biological weapon, killing nearly anyone it comes into contact with by destabilising their DNA. A small percentage of people infected not only survive but come away with newly activated metahuman abilities. The story follows Captain Jamie Callahan, former Recon Marine turned Metahuman Defense Fund officer, and his paranormally enhanced team as they go out on missions standard issue humans can’t cope with.

Alas, Alpha Team hasn’t been able to keep a sniper. Enter Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan, a one-night stand that turns into the sniper newly assigned to Jamie’s team. Awkward much? Yep, and I’m so here for it. (Caution: low level spoilers ahead!)

The meh

So … let’s get this out of the way first. There are a number of small errors and inconsistencies in timeline and plot. This includes reveals that were obviously timed carefully for maximum emotional impact but in retrospect don’t make sense. For example, the team discovers a dead body in the third or fourth room they search that’s been there for a few days … at which point they comment on the smell, leading me to wonder immediately why they couldn’t smell it as soon as they entered the apartment. *sigh* In each instance, as soon as the reveal hits, it’s obvious that the characters should already have been well aware and that doesn’t work for me… especially when used repeatedly.

This is set ~265 years in the future and it shouldn’t have been. The technological advances and societal structures don’t track along that timeline. (Plus, the whole wanting to politicize water and climate falls WAY short of the mark, for all that I applaud the intention.) It could maybe have worked 50-100 years in the future but not 265.

Speaking of the future – there was apparently some catastrophic world event that wiped out more than half of Earth’s population and it gets no mention? There’s a super quick side note that now farmers only have to feed 3 billion people instead of 7 billion … that’s it.

Also, please don’t lube your leather cock ring … just, don’t. Get a silicone one if you’re gonna do that (though it begs the question of why tf we’re lubing cock rings at all).


My Favorite Things

Major props for not breaking the couple up due to angst at the injury / preemptive hurt prevention. I mean, MAJOR PROPS. That is a common failing of government agency/military romances, especially ones where the next book is the same couple. Same goes for overcoming Jamie’s (totally legit) qualms early on and keeping that bit sorted. Other conflicts arise cuz life but *thank you* for not revisiting the sos ad nausea.

Kudos for developing paranormal abilities and USING THEM APPROPRIATELY in and out of tactical situations. I’m so done with the stories where we have telepathy and the MCs use it once or twice, even when the reader is screaming at them … ahem. Highly enjoyed the use of abilities in the sex and relationship development. It felt really authentic to the concerns and angst and PTSD management that would be there. Plus – as I may have said – I’m so HERE for all the creative rough sex.

Ditto the handling of trauma and flashbacks and PTSD. So so so well done. This comes up a few times during the story and it worked each time.

Thank you for understanding (at least until the final butt plug insertion) that the anus stretches out and, though there are muscles involved, it isn’t built like a vagina. Kyle is perpetually tight *because he heals* but his hole stretches the fuck OUT and it is glorious and the things that Jamie does to him are absolute #sexgoals. Huzzah for wonderfully messy sex!


Overall

This is definitely a series opener with a variety of plot lines set up that don’t get finished (like Jamie’s family). The major plot and relationship arcs presented do get resolved and the resolution fits within the framework the author has developed. I liked the mission sequence / progression and the cast of characters a lot. Everyone included added something to the story and I’m sure the bit players will get more of a chance to shine in later books.

If the low level constant irks hadn’t been there, this would’ve been a solidly grade A romance. The world building, apart from the timing and inconsistencies, is pretty solid and deeply engaging. More importantly, the romance is well done and the sex is incredible – and let’s be honest, those are the things I’m here for. [Side note – I read a DNF review of this that complained it was basically “mission, sex, mission, sex, mission” and I LOL’d cuz like “right, right, that’s why I’m reading a military m/m.”]

Rating: B/B+

Available through Kindle Unlimited at time of writing. Click to borrow/purchase: Amazon

In the Wreckage
by Hailey Turner
Release Date: October 4, 2017

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