Antigen by R.A. Steffan
Love and War #2
Science Fiction Romance
Temple Akenzua sacrificed himself so his sister, Skye, could escape with an antidote to the deadly bioagent the Regmine forced their father to make. But now Temple is being held in a Vithii prison and he knows he’s only alive to be used against Skye. But he has an ally in Ryder who is undercover in the prison to gather information on how to rescue Temple. But that all blows up in their faces when Ryder’s cover is blown and their only chance of escape is during a prison riot.
Antigen was a great follow up to Antidote and takes place immediately after the end of the last one. We knew Temple was being held in prison but now we see the horrible conditions he’s enduring and we know that he could easily be killed if he’s not rescued soon. I really liked Temple as a hero but I felt like his past was still a bit of a gray area by the end of the book. After all, Temple is actually Skye’s foster brother but there are still a lot of holes in the family history. Other than that, Temple is honorable, brave, and not afraid to protect those who need it. Of course, the action kept me gripped in the story so I didn’t really notice the lack of backstory until the very end. Part of it comes from Ryder’s history, which is so richly revealed throughout that the missing parts of Temple’s past were more noticeable.
The majority of the story takes place in the prison, which I was not expecting, but still really enjoyed. That does mean that Ryder and Temple spend a large part of the book apart or running for their lives but that also creates tension as the attraction grows. However, Ryder is used to keeping people at arm’s length because she believes she doesn’t deserve anything. Her past is quite tragic and I really felt for Ryder and what she’s been through, especially because Vithii biology and culture has led to her being ostracized. The last book showed us a bit of the mating practices of the Vithii but this one showed us a deeper, and bleaker, look at Vithii culture and it’s overwhelmingly patriarchal ways. It takes Ryder a bit to accept her self-worth but Temple is there to help her and love her. They fall in love quickly but after everything they’ve been through, they truly deserve it.
“I don’t care what anyone else says, or what they think,” he told her eventually, his voice hoarse. “You’re mine, and I’m yours. I’m not letting you go.”
Even though we see a more vulnerable side of Ryder, she’s still her usual kick-ass self and I loved every second of it. This woman clearly knows how to take care of herself and she doesn’t need a prince charming to rescue her. Of course, the rest of the Shadow Wing is present but Ash plays a particularly strong role in the book and I’m dying for his story but I just know R.A. Steffan is going to make us wait. Overall, I really enjoyed this one and I’m loving all that we’re learning about these characters and this world as we go. I still have a lot of questions and I would love a better understanding of how the humans and Vithii came to be living on the same planet, but either way, this series has completely grabbed me and I can’t wait for more!
4 out of 5 stars
References to the death of a character’s child
She made a blood vow to save him.
But first, she’ll have to save herself.
Ryder isn’t a stupid woman, and she knows better than to volunteer for things. Volunteering always gets you into trouble. So it’s really no surprise when her undercover operation to retrieve Temple Akenzua from the belly of a Regime prison goes tits-up in fairly short order.
With Ryder stuck on the wrongs side of the bars, the rescue mission has now become a mission of survival. Her only hope—and Temple’s—lies with her comrades in the Shadow Wing. Ryder just needs to stay alive until they come up with a plan.
Of course, that would be quite a bit easier if her former bondmate wasn’t dead-set on seeing her, well… dead. And, as a Regime official, he has the clout to make sure she disappears without a trace.
When all hell breaks loose, the human Ryder was supposed to rescue suddenly becomes her only ally as they fight to protect each other and make it to freedom.
Ryder was supposed to be the one doing the saving in this scenario.
It never occurred to her that she and Temple might be able to save each other.
Published by R.A. Steffan on June 5, 2018
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