by Cecilia London
Series: Bellator Saga #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Thriller
She once was important. Now she’s considered dangerous. In a new America where almost no one can be trusted, Caroline lies unconscious in a government hospital as others decide her fate. She is a political dissident, wanted for questioning by a brutal regime that has come to power in a shockingly easy way. As she recovers from her injuries, all she has are her memories. And once she wakes up, they may not matter anymore. Part One of a Six Part Series. Each part is a full length novel between 60,000-120,000 words and ends in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This saga contains adult situations, including non-gratuitous violence, explicit (consensual) sex, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes dark and gritty plot (particularly in part two).
Dissident by Cecilia London is the first in the Bellator Saga a six-part series featuring full-length novels. It begins on the cusp of a dystopian world. Dissident teases us with what is to come while we get to know two key characters.
- London hooks the reader from the opening pages making us very curious about what is happening to Caroline and Jack. I wanted to know who they were, why they were in trouble and what was happening.
- The story has chapters both in present day and of those in the past. The chapters in the past make up the majority of the tale as we meet Caroline and Jack and witness their romance unfold. In between, we get chapters on what is happening both to Caroline and in the United States. These chapters were suspenseful and oh how I wanted more.
- The romance is a slow burn with friendship, heat, and growth. London fleshes out the characters taking us into their personal lives as well as their careers in government. I enjoyed both Caroline and Jack’s characters. Of the two, we get to understand and identify more with Caroline. She is strong, confident and as a politician, she tends to be bi-partisan and relentlessly stands by her convictions in the all-boys club.
- From the chapters in the present we know Caroline is injured and have an inkling of where Jack is. It is the why we do not learn about, at least not yet. Caroline is injured and we meet other characters such as doctors who go beyond in their duty to help her. We know there is civil unrest, the government is like a regime and that states are seceding. These chapters held me riveted and I was begging for more.
- The story has a nice flow and is well written. The reader can easily identify where they are in the story.
- The romance between Jack and Caroline is fully fleshed out and developed slowly. Normally this is a good thing and to a point, it was but after a while, I started skimming. I loved that they developed a strong relationship but the getting to know each other slowed down the story. Conversations on books they liked, plays, and movies became overkill. While the synopsis clearly states Dissident focuses mostly on their romance I ultimately ended up skimming through some of their tete-a-tetes . I would have liked the romance slimmed down for more chapters in the present. Maybe in book two I will appreciate the depth but I wanted more action.
- This is a six-book commitment and the books must be read in order. I am hoping we get more depth from the dystopian angle in future books. As a romance despite some heated moments I am not invested enough. However, the present day situation really drew me in.
- While the book has been edited, I personally felt the book would have benefited from being more balanced between past and present day.
Dissident had its pros and cons. I am truly curious about the present day world and will explore the next book in the series.
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