Review: Hell Squad: Devlin by Anna Hackett

Review: Hell Squad: Devlin by Anna HackettDevlin (Hell Squad #11) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: ebook
Genres: dystopian, science fiction romance
Series: Hell Squad #11
Pages: 145
Published by Anna Hackett on December 18th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon
Goodreads

In the aftermath of a deadly alien invasion, a spy and a soldier find themselves locked in an alien cage and told…mate or die.

A covert mission gone horribly wrong. Cool, composed spy, Devlin Gray is used to bad situations, but locked in the bowels of an alien facility with tough, sexy soldier Taylor and told to mate is bad. Very bad. During his career, he’s had to lie and kill, he’s been betrayed, and he knows he works best on his own. Now he is forced to depend on Taylor, and together they have to find a way to escape before it’s too late…

Taylor Cates has already been to hell once before. She lives to fight for others, just like her mother once fought for her, and Taylor vows to do whatever it takes to escape the aliens. As she works with the sexy, suave Devlin, she starts to see glimpses of the man beneath the cool exterior. An exterior she soon finds she wants to melt.

In the worst of circumstances, a passion is born. But on the run for their lives, Devlin and Taylor soon discover far worse things in the alien facility: human prisoners and a weapon that could be the very downfall of the human race. A weapon that will threaten their friends, their home, and everything they hold dear.

My Review:

marcus by anna hackett“Aliens made them do it” is a classic trope in fanfiction. It is also the opening gambit in Devlin, book 11 in the Hell Squad series. It’s hard to believe that we are 11 books into this series and that it’s only been a little over a year and a half since Marcus first walked into Elle’s heart (and ours) in the early days of the Gizzida invasion of Earth.

A lot has happened in those intervening books (and months). The desperate fighting squads of Blue Mountain Base, and the civilians they protect, managed to find their way to the hidden human Enclave, just barely ahead of the Gizzida. Now that the humans have gotten back together in Australia, and made a daring and successful attempt to re-establish communications with human outposts around the globe, it is time to take the fight to the Gizzida and throw them off our planet.

There’s an Independence Day vibe (the original, not the blasted sequel) to the whole thing. Along with a little bit of Borg thrown in for spice. And bodies.

But we’re not there yet. In this entry of the series, super-spy Devlin Gray finds himself locked in a Gizzida interrogation cell with Taylor Cates of Squad Nine. The aliens want to watch them mate. And as much as Devlin and Taylor suddenly realize that it might be more than fun under other circumstances, what they are currently in is neither the time nor the place. In the best tradition under these circumstances, they put on a show. Admittedly, not quite as hilarious a show as the one that Ivanova puts on in the Babylon 5 episode “Acts of Sacrifice”.

I said this trope had a long tradition.

But as so often happens when the aliens make two team mates “do it”, or even pretend to, the act makes the two partners realize that there is more between them than merely comradeship.

And that’s the case here. As Devlin and Taylor make their harrowing escape from the Gizzida factory, they discover both a horrific new weapon and their growing desire for each other. The weapon is a pain in the ass to even capture, let alone find a way to defeat.

What they feel for each other? There is no way to defeat love. Not even the hero’s stupid attempt at being a complete asshat. Whatever the future brings, they are both all in.

Escape Rating B+: I love this series. If you enjoy science fiction romance and/or alien apocalypse stories and or dystopian romance, Hell Squad is a winner. Every book is a terrific combination of post-apocalyptic action with steamy hot romance. Each story contains both an individual HFN and moves the fight that forms the basis of the series arc forward a few notches.

I say HFN rather than HEA not because there is any doubt about or between any of the couples, but because the overarching question in the series is whether any humans have any chance at any kind of “ever after”. At all.

But as much as I love the series, and as much as I enjoy each outing, for this reader it feels like time to arc toward kicking the Gizzida’s asses off our planet. The patterns of the romances are starting to feel a bit too familiar each time, and the overall situation can’t remain in stasis. The Gizzida want to wipe out the human race, and have made entirely too much progress towards that goal. They have nearly overwhelming force, and it’s going to take a miracle or a giant deus ex machina to blow them off. But it feels like time for that to happen.

In Devlin, the human survivors both make progress towards that goal and discover a new roadblock, which seems to be a pattern as well. I want to see this world get its HEA.

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