Author Donna McDonald ("Dating a Cougar", "Next Song I Sing", "Carved in Stone") has done it again with the third installment of her "Forced to Serve" series -- "The Siren's Call", by once again combining science fiction and romance into a heady mix of dark adventure and love in the quiet desperation of space.
I make no bones about it -- I love science fiction. I have since I was a child. And I've fallen in love with romance in the last few years, finding that the genre and sub-genres have changed greatly from what I knew in my youth. It's a very rare thing to find both in the same book and still have it be a tight story line full of adventure and angst. But "The Siren's Call" lives up to that and more.
While the first two books are about the main characters of Ania Looren and Liam Synar, "Forced to Serve" focuses on several of the supporting characters and gives them their time in the action.
The cliffhanger from "The Demon Master's Wife" saw Second in Command Gwen Jet -- newly rescued from a society where kidnapped women from other planets are kept as slaves -- swearing to save the man she's in love with, a Siren named Dorian Zade, who is a fellow officer on the ship Liberator, and who, in turn, has been kidnapped and he is now being kept as a slave.
In "The Siren's Call", Dorian has refused to accept being a slave and has been fed drugs to the point of losing his memories. Newly mated to him by long distance telepathy, Gwen has the ability to astrally project to him but he doesn't know her and she has no way of knowing how to find him. But Gwen and the rest of the crew must find him because they have a new mission -- to return to the same planet where Gwen was held as a slave and rescue a Peace Alliance member's daughter.
If this were a physical book, I'd call it a serious page turner. I never thought 90K+ words could pack that much action but they do. McDonald's plot is tight and paced to perfection. There are no wasted moments, nothing to slow things down. There are moments of character development, that are just as important to that action as the action is itself. Even the romance "pages" are filled with sexual energy that is amazingly well written.
The characters are so real that you might know people just like them. Gwen and Dorian have their faults of pride, stubbornness, and the flaws of pasts that we don't know all of the details about. But still, we know their core personalities enough to want to care for them. I find myself caught up in their bonding, the pain of separation that they feel, the anger at the torture delivered to the ones they care about. McDonald's ability to make even a demon seem likeable and complex is very well done.
Another cliffhanger and we're going to have to wait for the fourth book in the series. I find myself yearning to read the books again, just to have my fix of these people and this story. And I have all of her books on my Kindle, so I can content myself with reading them as well. But one thing is for certain, Donna McDonald is a literary alchemist because this series is pure gold -- it will appeal to those who love science fiction and space opera, or romance novels. You can fall in either or, like me, both camps.
But it's a serious must read. And if you're not reading these books, you are missing out on some fantastic story!
You can find all of Donna McDonald's books, from her Contemporary Romances "Never Too Late", "Art of Love", and "Next time Around" series to her Science Fiction Romance in the "Forced to Serve" series through all online booksellers -- Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and others.
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