Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Penton Legacy, #4
Length: 345 pages
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date Released: June 10, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
British vampire psychiatrist and former mercenary Cage Reynolds returns to Penton, Alabama, looking for a permanent home. The town has been ravaged by the ongoing vampire war and the shortage of untainted human blood, and now the vampires and humans that make up the Omega Force are trying to rebuild. Cage hopes to help the cause, put down roots in Penton, and resolve his relationship with Melissa Calvert. The last thing he expects is to find himself drawn to Robin Ashton, a trash-talking eagle shape-shifter and new Omega recruit.
Meanwhile, as a dangerous saboteur wreaks havoc in Penton, the ruthless Vampire Tribunal leader Matthias Ludlam has been freed on the eve of his scheduled execution. But by whom? And to what end? As war and chaos rage on, love isn’t something Cage is looking for, but will his attraction to Robin distract him from the danger living among them?
Allegiance wasn’t anything like I expected, but it delivered the two HEAs I most hoped for at the end of Omega (see review) and Storm Force (and this one).
Allegiance also feels a bit like middle-book syndrome, but if it is, it’s the middle of a blended Penton/Omega Force story that started with Storm Force.
Allegiance finishes with one hell of a spine-chilling bang, and the story can’t possibly be over.
I feel like starting my review with “when last we left our heroes…” because Allegiance picks up exactly where both Omega and Storm Force leave off.
Matthias Ludlam, the sadistic asshat enemy in the first three books, is due to be executed for his crimes in the morning. Aidan Murphy, the alpha of the entire Penton vampire community, is due to become the North American representative on the Vampire Tribunal in two weeks. The special non-vaccinated blood banks are supposed to come online any day, providing vampires in North America with safe, clean blood and with no need to enslave or kill any humans. The donors are all volunteers.
Of course, it all gets blown apart. Spectacularly, and with maximum collateral damage.
The Penton community finds itself under attack, and at first no one is sure where the attacks are coming from. Only that they are deadly both to people and to morale.
As events unfold, the community learns that their enemy on the Vampire Tribunal, has freed Latham and is keeping him under wraps for some future evil.
Of more immediate concern, a saboteur is operating in the now tiny community, setting fires and destroying new buildings as they are constructed. Everyone assumes that the perpetrator must be human, because so many of the attacks and subversions occur during daylight hours.
Not only are they wrong, but the truth is more perverse than anyone imagines.
Into the midst of all this chaos, Cage Reynolds returns to Penton from London, and two more-than-human members of the Omega Force arrive to help with the defense. Robin Ashton, the snark-ass eagle shifter, and Nik Dmitriou, the touch psychometrist.
Without going into spoiler central, it’s difficult to talk about the rest of the story. Suffice it to say that everything that can go wrong, does go wrong, and goes on a short trip to hell in a handcart. The folks at Penton are in receipt of every kind of bad luck and horrible happenstance imaginable.
Then they discover that they not only have a traitor in their midst, but that their enemies know all their weaknesses and don’t care how many people they kill in order to keep Aidan Murphy out of power.
While things do get darkest just before they turn completely black, in the midst of this seeming defeat the story does end with the light of hope and vengeance at the end of the long dark tunnel.
And Cage Reynolds figures out that what he came to Penton for wasn’t love, it was family. Which doesn’t mean he doesn’t finally figure out that the love he wants is just like hope, a tiny thing with feathers. And a non-existent brain-to-mouth filter. Not what he was expecting AT ALL.
Escape Rating B: The evil in this book is really, truly evil. Their version of “by any means necessary” takes the concept to some lows that haven’t been seen since the Nazis went out of business.
I’m not saying that the Pentonites have clean hands, but there are some things so despicable that they can’t even imagine them until they start setting the place on fire. Allegiance is a much darker story than any of the previous entries in either the Penton or the Omega Force series.
Allegiance also does not have a happy ending. I’m not saying that the romantic couple doesn’t end up in at least a happy-for-now, as does a welcome added romantic reunion, but the story as a whole, the Penton vs. the world story, ends the book in a relatively bad and slightly uncertain place.
Cage and Robin provide a lot of the lighter moments in the story. Their unlikely romance is fun to watch, especially since Robin doesn’t seem to censor anything she says or does. But it felt like an HFN ending at the most because the overall situation seems so bleak. It’s not that they aren’t capable of an HEA, it’s that “ever after” at this point in the story could be unfortunately short.
I’ve been hooked on this series from the very first book (Redemption, reviewed here) and it’s driving me crazy to see everything seem so desperate. I can’t wait for the next book. It’s time for the good guys to take the fight to Tribunal and kick (or stake) some evil vampire ass.