Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: post apocalyptic, science fiction romance
Series: Hell Squad #20
Published by Anna Hackett on June 2, 2020
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon
As the battle against the invading aliens reaches its endgame, a group of bad boy bikers and mercenaries will stand and fight for humanity’s survival…
Tane Rahia is good at one thing—fighting. Before the alien invasion, he fought as a mercenary in the worst jungle hellholes. Now, he’s the leader of Squad Three—aka the berserkers—and he’s fighting to protect his brothers, his friends, and the last of humanity’s survivors. It doesn’t matter if he dies, he knows he belongs in the shadows, doing the dirty work and taking dangerous risks so others don’t have to. There is no warm woman, no love, and no redemption for him, and especially no small, sweet alien woman who he struggles to ignore.
Abducted from her homeworld by the Gizzida, Selena endured captivity and torture. Then she found herself on a distant planet called Earth and rescued by tough, heroic humans. She’s recovered, made a new family for herself, and come into a power that she never knew she possessed. She’s determined to experience everything life on vibrant Earth has to offer and to protect her new home. And she discovers that one battle-hardened, intense man is the only one who ignites a passionate desire that leaves her breathless.
The humans have fought hard, but now the Gizzida have created three deadly, humanity-ending bombs. Tane’s not happy that Selena’s help is vital in the fight against the aliens, and nor is he ready to face her stubborn confidence nor the white-hot desire flaring between them. But as they enter their final make or break fight, Tane and Selena know they need to fight as one. They may not survive the final battle, but they have to try: for their friends, for the planet, for humanity.
Not quite five years ago, I picked up a book from Netgalley titled Marcus, the very first book in the Hell Squad series. At the time, I said that the setup read like a cross between the original movie Independence Day – the sequel was not yet out and the Battlestar Galactica remake series, which had ended but sequels were still being played with/discussed/speculated about. With just a touch of Station Eleven, which had come out the year before.
That was a lot of weight for a novella to carry, but it did so with aplomb.
Five years and 19 books later, Tane is the final book in the series. Tane’s story combines the “bad boy romances girl he thinks deserves better” love story of many of the previous books in the series with the final push to kick the invading Gizzida off Earth just in the nick of time.
I want to say that that nick of time is just before the aliens detonate the three bombs that will cover the planet with a blanket of their DNA and convert all of the remaining survivors, both human and animal, into more of their scaly, invading selves. But it’s kind of a Superman ending. The one from the first movie with Christopher Reeve. Sorta/kinda. I’ll leave that hint hanging, for you to discover what really happens.
Just don’t start here. While there are patterns to many of the romances, the overall story arc of the survivors banding together, fighting the good fight, falling in love and figuring out how to take back the planet takes some development and backstory. You don’t have to read the entire series to sit back and enjoy the ending, but you do have to have read some of it. At least the first book, and a few others along the way, plus the final two, Survivors and Tane, to have it all make sense and tie itself up in a nice, neat, happy ending bow.
Escape Rating A-: I’ve been begging for this ending for about ten books now. Not that I didn’t enjoy the journey, because I certainly did, but waiting for the Gizzida to finally get the big shoe dropped on them felt like an endless cliffhanger.
At the same time, I had a bit of an approach/avoidance thing going on with Tane. I wanted the story to end – and I didn’t want to see it end – both at the same time.
Tane’s romance with Selena had been building over several books, just simmering in the background. Like many of the heroes in this series, Tane was a badass before the aliens arrived, and he’s an even bigger badass now. He’s done some terrible things in the name of survival, and he feels like those acts have tainted him beyond redemption – not unlike many of the heroes in this series.
Selena is an alien who was rescued from the Gizzida. She’s not from this planet, and she has some kickass powers of her own. But Tane has her on a very high pedestal and has a difficult time letting her down off that pedestal to admit that it’s her decision whether to love him or not.
This entry in the series operates under a very strict time clock. There’s a rather limited amount of time to figure out how to destroy the bombs without letting them explode, and desperate times, as they say, call for desperate measures.
Selena’s solution, in the end, is pretty damn desperate, but it works and we get the HEA we’ve all been waiting for. It’s been a wild ride.
As SFR, the ending is very satisfying. We want the villains to get their just desserts, and for the good folks to get their HEA. I’ll confess that near the end there was a point where it looked like the ending was going to be more bittersweet than it turned out to be. As SF, without the R, that bittersweet ending was a bit more satisfying. It felt more real.
Of course, we don’t read romance, particularly SFR for the real. We want that HEA. And this time we got it with a bang! (Probably lots of banging, most of it offscreen after the books end, with lots of babies after.)
A good reading time has definitely been had by all, 20 books of it. If you haven’t gone to Hell with the Hell Squad to deliver the ass kicking the Gizzida devils truly needed, you’re in for a real treat.