I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Rex by Rita Stradling
Release date: October 11th, 2016
Publisher: Rita Stradling
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
In seventeen year old Dakota Kekoa’s line of work, a job can go bad in a split second.
And when a job goes bad, people die.
Suspended from working as a tax collector in her draconic family’s protection racket, Dakota is assigned a secret mission from her grandfather. A foreign queen has offered a grave insult to Dakota’s grandfather by running a vampire dinner cruise off the coast of the Mabiian Islands, and his retribution must be swift.
Yet, when Dakota infiltrates the ship ‘Crimson Sunset’, nothing is at it seems. In a split second, not only is Dakota in deathly peril, all of New Anglo is on the road to war.
* Click the link to read my review of Henchgirl, the first novel in the Dakota Keko series.
I loved Henchgirl! I was beside myself waiting for the release of Rex. It appeared on NetGalley and I HAD TO HAVE IT! But, with any highly anticipated follow-up, I was worried that it wouldn’t be as good as or better than its predecessor. There’s nothing worse than getting super excited about a book and then being let down. I know because it’s happened a few times this year. Thankfully, Rex more than lived up to expectations. If you haven’t read the first book in the series, than seriously DO IT NOW!
- Dakota was one of the reasons why I enjoyed Henchgirl so much. She’s a complicated character – sensitive, caring, tough, indecisive – there’s just so much going on with her and it makes for a compelling read. So much of Dakota’s life has been dictated by her family and societal rules. She’s been trapped in a marriage contact with a powerful king, Wyvern, and used as a bartering tool for family gain. A lot of the story was her trying to figure out what she wanted. I spent the whole book either cheering her on or shaking my head. Yeah, she doesn’t always make good decisions, but I don’t love her any less.
- Talking about characters, I’m so happy that the author introduced Dakota’s great-grandfather to the series. He had been mentioned in passing in the first book, but here he’s cheeky and supportive, something Dakota was desperately missing in her life. And he’s a super powerful dragon, which is pretty darn awesome. I really hope that he appears in the next book.
- The world building again is done extremely well. It’s quite unique, a mixture of dragons, humans, vampires and were-creatures with magical kingdoms and a Hawaii-like setting. Which when I write it down sounds a bit crazy and at first I thought so, but it all works together and even more importantly is totally believable. In Rex, a lot of the magic and inter-kingdom politics is further explored, which was great because I was left with a lot of questions after reading Henchgirl.
- The book operates a such a fast pace that I felt like I was flying through it. It opens with a few emails between the main characters, which was a bit slow. It had me worried for a few pages, but as soon as the actual story got going it was non-stop.
- I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES! They are unnecessary and completely overused. Period. If it wasn’t for the love triangle in this book I would have totally rated it five stars. I don’t understand why it was necessary. Wyvern made a lot of progress as a character in the story. A lot more about his past was revealed and he moved away from the controlling behaviour he demonstrated in Henchgirl. Wyervn was willing to listen, rely on Dakota and learn from his mistakes. The author didn’t need to insert a new male character to move the relationship along. Nor was a love triangle needed to create anymore excitement or drama to the story. There was plenty of that without it. Oh, and the ending? Without giving anything away, it infuriated me! Gah!
The third book in the series, Princep, is set to be released in 2017! The cover artwork is perfect! Dark and super moody. I just need a synopsis or even a teaser. *sighs* Let the waiting and constant Goodreads checking begin!