REVIEW: Return to Dark Earth by Anna Hackett

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Rating 3 Stars

This book was very long compared to others one in the series (which was nice) and I think it comes from all the places the Institute team visits. Considering how much time we’ve been spending in space with this series, I liked getting back to Earth and seeing what’s become of it. There was a lot going on once they got down to Earth and I guess I can’t really be surprised considering Earth has been festering in radiation for a thousand years. But it was a bit dramatic just how much the team had going against them.

Niklas is our last (original) Phoenix brother to fall in love and his relationship with Nera has been a long time coming. We’ve gotten hints of why he left the Institute and it was nice to get more of his backstory. I also liked that he was still the nerdy archaeologist but he’s really taken to treasure hunting and the freedom of travel it’s given him. I was worried I wouldn’t like Nera since I haven’t been a big fan since her first appearance. But once we get to see inside her head and understand her motives, she becomes a bit more likable. She was incredibly protective of Niklas and that was somewhat funny to see, since it was a gender reversal. As a slave, Nera was trained to act as a bodyguard for her masters and that training comes through in how she protects Niklas any time he’s in danger. She was still a bit prickly, but it’s clear that’s part of what Niklas likes about her.

I also really liked that Jonas Solomon was in this one and I can’t wait to hopefully get his book sometime in the future. He’s got such swagger and bravado but you can tell it’s hiding something deep and likely painful.

Content Note: references to past abuse

••• Book Details •••

Phoenix Adventures #5  •  Romance, Science Fiction    Carina Press    September 7, 2015

His career plan never included becoming one of the galaxy’s most infamous treasure hunters. And it certainly never included his one weakness: Nera Darc.

Astro-archeologist Niklas Phoenix loved his job studying and safeguarding artifacts at the Institute of Historical Preservation…until he learned that it was all a lie. Forced out of the Institute, he joins his treasure hunter brothers, but now the Institute is trying to lure him back for the ultimate treasure hunt–a return to the planet that seeded life throughout the galaxy. But only one thing convinces him to go–his deadly, seductive rival has joined the expedition.

Dangerous and enigmatic, Nera Darc has made a life for herself where she calls the shots and bows to no one. Niklas Phoenix has become her dark obsession and on the lethal mission to Earth, they are compelled to join forces to survive. But Niklas threatens to tear down Nera’s internal walls and melt the ice around her heart…but she knows caring for someone is just a weakness others can exploit.

As Nik and Nera strip away each other’s secrets, a brilliant passion is unleashed, but the dangers of Earth strike from every side, and a darker enemy is closing in.

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