If you’ve seen the post that I published last Friday, you know that I completely adored Judgement Road by Christine Feehan. Christine Feehan would be one of my favourite authors, and any books of her series is an automatic must read for me. Let’s get on with the rest of the review, shall we?
Judgement Road by Christine Feehan was one of my most anticipated books of 2018. I have an unpublished post which attests to this truth. Judgement Road follows the emotional and sexy romance between Reaper and Anya Rafferty, within the action and covert operations of the Torpedo Ink Motorcycle Club. Reaper – real name Savva Pajari – himself is considered to be one of two enforcers of the club, alongside his brother Savage, and his only job is to protect the life of the Czar, the president of the club whose real name is Viktor Prakenskii. Reaper was comfortable with his life, he had one purpose and he felt content with that. He was cold and considered emotions a vulnerability he could not condone, not when he was a stone-cold killer. In comes, Anya and his whole world gets turned upside down. Literally. Reaper has no idea what the feelings Anya invokes in him actually means, so as a man, he immediately leaps to sex. Anya herself has a secret, one that comes knocking on their door. Well, more like stealthily creeps in and then gets easily and quickly disposed of. But the fear is there. It is a story of letting yourself love, of the bonds of family and finding your home.
Character Analysis and Discussion
First of all, if you are a long time reader of Christine Feehan, the name Viktor Prakenskii would be known to you, as Christine Feehan fans were introduced to the beautiful and deadly Russian Prakenskii brothers in Turbulent Sea of her Drake Sisters series when Ilya Prakenskii fell in love with Joley Drake. Each Prakenskii brother had their own book, found within the Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart Series, which is where Judgement Road follows on from. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to read the Drake Sisters and the Sea Haven series to fully enjoy Judgement Road, but why wouldn’t you?
Reaper, alongside the seventeen original members of the club including his Czar, all grew up in the same ‘government’ facility in Russia, where they were literally beaten down, raped, abused, tortured and trained to be superior covert soldiers and hardened assassins, able to complete any job when necessary. Their childhood was ripped from them, and the amount of trauma they suffered through, and what these men and women need to conquer on a day to day basis, is phenomenal. In this sense, Reaper and his brothers and sisters of the club reminded me of children who had no idea how to function ‘properly’ in society. Their solutions to situations can sometimes be completely and ridiculously extreme because that is how their mind processes the problem because they don’t know anything else. I found Reaper to be wonderfully written as a character; he was a flawed man who knew of his flaws, but also understood when he was wrong and would do anything to either apologise and make it right. That personal characteristic of his was quite refreshing, as many macho masculine figures in adult romance, easily become a caricature of extreme masculinity bordering on misogyny which makes for a very unhealthy relationship. Reaper respected Anya and it was so beautiful to see such a powerful man wholeheartedly adore the woman he is in love with.
Anya Rafferty (although that is not her real last name spoiler alert) is a sweet, genuine and lonely woman, who took a job at a biker bar so she can save money and start her new life. Reaper was never meant to happen. She accepted the fact that one steamy (and very descriptive, thank you Christine Feehan) night of sexy-times would never be enough (he was the best she ever had *wink wink*) but she assumed Reaper would never be happy with commitment. Goddamn, was she wrong. Anya was strong, independent, snarky and intelligent. She never shied away from saying her piece, even to the Czar of Torpedo Ink. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Anya and I loved reading how her relationship with Reaper matured, but I also adored how they both became their best self when they were together.
In saying that though there were times where my frustration concerning ridiculous decision making would mount, and I literally would scream out loud. I won’t spoil anything too severely, but Anya’s first response to anything is to run. It’s understandable, she went through a difficult past and especially as she was on the run, her instincts immediately went into flight mode. Nothing that a good, mature and honest conversation would fix, honestly. I was ready to fight somebody.
READY TO FIGHT.
Another aspect of the overall story was that which approached the concept of trauma. I understand where the author was doing, but I felt as though it demeaned men in a sense. There was an element of Reaper not wanting to accept his trauma as trauma because it possibly emasculated him? Like, admitting that his past was traumatic in itself would lessen his masculinity and he couldn’t possibly do that because he is a man. He didn’t want to even think about therapy because he didn’t know how he could explain his life to a random person, but then didn’t even attempt to possibly talk to someone within his field. You’re telling me, in this fictional universe, there wouldn’t be a male or female psychologist who was ex-SEAL or ex- Special Ops or an ex-assassin who made it their life’s mission to be there for the type of trauma that he or she went through with no emotional and mental health? I think that would have been, or maybe possibly be, a great addition to the overall general health and mental well-being of the characters.
Overall, though, I rate Judgement Road by Christine Feehan 5 out of 5 stars. I loved it. I have already fallen in love with everyone in Torpedo Ink, and I cannot wait for the next in the series. Christine Feehan has done it again, and I adore her immensely.
Until next time! Happy reading!
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