It's the End of the World and They Know It: Kit Rocha's Beyond Surrender
by Kiersten Hallie Krum
This is it. Beyond Surrender is the ninth and final installment in the erotic romance, dystopian Beyond series from Kit Rocha. The end of the world as they know it.
And everyone does not feel fine.
(For all of the Lady Smut reviews on Kit Rocha’s Beyond series, click here.)
Look! A blurb!
The final book in the bestselling, award-winning series…
She’s the heart of O’Kane liquor.
He’s the brains of the revolution.
They’re facing a war that could end their world. Again.
On December 13th, the Beyond series comes to its climactic conclusion with Nessa and Ryder’s story–and the final battle between the sectors and Eden.
Well, that didn’t say much, did it?
Beyond Surrender is structured around the final romantic match up of Ryder and Nessa. Nessa is the O’Kane princess, the one who brews the liquor that the O’Kanes bootleg out to other sectors and Eden–the booze that keeps the money coming in. Since he was a young man, Ryder has been raised by Jim Jernigan, the once-mighty, now dead leader of Sector Eight, with the sole purpose of someday being the blunt instrument of the inevitable revolution.
That day has come.
After the rash of assassinations in game-changing Beyond Ruin (Book #7) that wiped out whole sectors and their leaders, Ryder is the heir to Sector Eight and the leader of Sector Five after years spent undercover for Jernigan as a lieutenant to the execrable Mac Fleming. Now that war has come to the sectors, he’s teaming up with Dallas O’Kane, leader of the revolution, to marry years of Jernigan’s precise preparation with Dallas’ ruthless ambition for freedom. Ryder has spent his entire life in the service of someone else’s ambition. As the conclusion to his life’s work finally plays out, he realizes he has no idea what life to lead when it’s over–providing he survives.
Nessa has known Dallas O’Kane her entire life. She arrived in Sector Four barely a girl and has been the kid sister of the O’Kane gang ever since. She’s been sheltered in Sector Four; though not ignorant, she’s spends most of her time with her casks, brewing and stewing about the next batch. She’s removed from the day-to-day struggles of life in Sector Four, removed and protected, rarely even needing to leave the safety of the compound, especially when the apocalypse is knocking. Although, when you have a gang full of growling, grouchy older brothers and murderously protective older sisters, getting laid becomes can be more than problematic, but finding a real relationship in the slums of paradise is near impossible. Nessa’s watched from the sidelines as members of her extended family have found their mates of the soul and body, sure she’ll never find a man with whom to share that deep connection. Enter Ryder, who never looks at her or treats her as anything less than who she is–a complicated, intriguing, sexy woman.
But this is Sector Four, so of course, it’s not that easy. Nessa keenly feels the responsibility that’s been on her shoulders all her life, that of keeping the O’Kanes in business and money. One mistake could wipe out their livelihood and plunge them back into the madness and need that heralded the early years after the solar flares. To make matters worse, everyone she’s ever known and loved is now in acute danger. She fears seeing who will and who won’t survive The War now that it is upon them. Drawn to Ryder for a number of complex reasons, she decides to cling to the pleasure and comfort he offers for as long as they have it–and the time in which to enjoy it. If it’s the end of the world as they know it, best go out with a spectacular bang. It’s the O’Kane way.
Ryder’s entire life has been planned for him, by his mother and by Jim Jernigan who made Ryder the tip of the paranoia sword for the war Jernigan saw coming decades ago. He aligns himself with Sector Four and the notorious Dallas O’Kane to keep on the front lines of the war; leading a sector was never his goal nor his training. Nessa is an unexpected if welcomed surprise, but as they cling together in the days before the final battle, living whatever moments they have left to the fullest, Ryder finds himself worrying what happens next. Any future he sees after the war is hazy: a cabin in the woods far from the complications of whatever is left over when the battle haze clears. Slowly he begins to realize this too was never his dream, merely a fixation to honor his dead father’s dreams. But when all his lifelong plans and strategies are no longer required, when the world he knows is no longer the world he lives in, how will he live in a future he never expected to see–and where might Nessa fit there?
For a while now, for me, the Beyond books have been less about the romantic relationships and more about the exceptionally drawn and deeply believable world in which they’re taking place. Rocha’s Eden and sectors with its complicated loyalties, interwoven alliances, and fierce allegiances has offered more layered and complex intrigue for me than who’s banging whom. Interestingly, in a series that’s featured enthusiastic orgies and polyamorous relationships, this final couple seems to be the sweetest–the most innocent of the O’Kanes (not an easy thing to find in Sector Four) falling for the most noble of spies. Ryder’s shown up in a number of previous books, most notably in Beyond Addiction (one of my faves) and the question of his true purpose and loyalties has been teased for a while. Nessa has floated on the fringes since the beginning, with her wild nail polish and multi-colored hair, and it’s fitting that this last book should be hers.
Beyond Surrender is a deeply satisfying conclusion to this series. I have great respect for an author who can put an end date on a popular series rather than drawing it out ad infinitum to keep the credits rolling. It’s hard to let go of something this all-encompassing and, even though there is more on the horizon for this world, leaving Sector Four and all its denizens can be no easy task and no easy decision to make. Which is why it’s extra sweet to see all the favorites return, some more briefly than others, in Beyond Surrender to take their curtain calls while two people, whose lives were planned for them one way or another, decide to fall for one another literally as the end of their world approaches, and it’s that hope, that gentle push of burgeoning love, that gives them the courage to plan for a future.
I *highly* recommend re-reading the Beyond books and novellas from the beginning as a refresher course in who’s who, who’s where, and who’s doing what to whom. It’d do a body good to refresh yourself before diving into Beyond Surrender. This series has a lot of players and they all show up for the final reckoning. And there is loss; seems like an apocalyptic requirement. Plus, Gideon’s Riders, the heroes of the upcoming eponymous series, make an appearance, including the couple of the first book of that series as Ashwin, that twisted, superior killing machine takes another step toward possessing or destroying Doctor Kora.
With Beyond Surrender, Kit Rocha ends this best-selling series with all the fucked up madness and fun and sexy times that define the world of the O’Kanes. It may be the end of the series as we know it, but you’ll feel more than fine.
O’Kane for life.
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Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities strait is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rocks, is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.