3 out of 5 stars ★★★☆☆
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).
Hello 80 Books Blog readers! This is my first “Review My Book” book that we have decided to review for the blog!
The above synopsis from Amazon doesn’t clearly tell us what is happening in Book One of the Bellador Saga (not sure where this name came from). The synopsis is selling Book Two and the rest of the series. Readers need to be hooked by the first book, we don’t care what happens next unless we read Book One.
Caroline Gerard is a widowed mother of two children, a senator from Maryland, and falling in love with a handsome playboy senator from Pennsylvania, John “Jack” Montgomery “Monty” McIntyre (too many names!). Dissident is firstly a love story between Jack and Caroline, but what drives the intrigue is the behind the scenes political changes. This book barely scratches the surface. It’s all build up for the rest of the series. What promises to be a great story falls flat at the end because there are no answers for readers. The love story is told from the past tense (5 years previously). The present is Caroline in a hospital bed after being badly beaten (she doesn’t leave the hospital the entire book). What has Jack and Caroline on the run in the prologue? And what caused Caroline to end up in a hospital? When do they get married or resolve their huge end fight? What is the political landscape that has turned America into a totalitarian society?
My favorite genre is dystopian. Some of my favorite books are Brave New World, 1984, The Hunger Games, any subject that hints that the government is evil. The disparity between “happy dating mom” and “beaten woman” is so vast that there is no way for me to make a logical jump without making things up for myself. Need some foreshadowing! Everything we are given is just back story, there is no resolution for any of the story arcs that are presented in Book One. It’s frustrating, but not in the cliffhanger suspense kind of way. If a book is presented as a series at least have a complete plot for each book, and particularly Book One. Further, the subplot of Dr. Savage saving Caroline from the hospital could have moved much faster and put her on the road (see the above synopsis for what that is all about).
That being said, I did find the romance engaging; it was believable and honest. I appreciated how Caroline was good at her job–playing a political game. We can definitely see how passionate she is about her family. It’s a good start, but I think there is much that can be improved.