Review of Caged Warrior by Lindsey Piper
This is another book I read back in August and wanted to share with you all. Caged Warrior would most likely fit best under fantasy romance. It has a sort of otherworldly feel to it, but there are modern elements as well. If you like tough heroines who fall in love with equally tough heroes, then you should enjoy this one. Check out the summary about it below, as well as my review.
The first installment in this fierce and sensual new paranormal romance series features demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a proud race on the brink of extinction.
Ten years ago, Audrey MacLaren chose to marry her human lover, making her an exile from the Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons once worshiped as earthly gods. Audrey and her husband managed to conceive, and their son is the first natural-born Dragon King in a generation—which makes him irresistible to the sadistic scientist whose mafia-funded technology allows demon procreation. In the year since her husband was murdered, Audrey and her little boy have endured hideous experiments.
Shackled with a collar and bound for life, Leto Garnis is a Cage warrior. Only through combat can Dragon Kings earn the privilege of conceiving children. Leto uses his superhuman speed and reflexes to secure the right for his two sisters to start families. After torture reveals Audrey’s astonishing pyrokenesis, she is sent to fight in the Cages. If she survives a year, she will be reunited with her son. Leto is charged with her training. Initially, he has no sympathy for her plight. But if natural conception is possible, what has he been fighting for? As enemies, sparring partners, lovers, and eventual allies, Leto and Audrey learn that in a violent underground world, love is the only prize worth winning.
This was a good book and well-written. It had a story-line that appealed to me because I do enjoy a good kick-ass heroine. From the very beginning Nynn (also known as Audrey) shows she’s not going to submit to anyone without a fight. It’s not to say she hasn’t been forced to endure some awful things in the past, but she struggles against her circumstances in any way she can. I appreciated the love she had for her son and how she’d do whatever it took to save him.
The one problem that made me knock a star off is a lot of this novel is introspective with action only done in small bursts. When you’re dealing with a book that has the main characters as gladiators you expect a lot of fighting. It felt like the battle scenes weren’t nearly as fleshed out as they could have been. Instead, much of the time you’re in Nynn or Leto’s head hearing what they think of each other or they are speculating on their past (which isn’t very pleasant but gets covered over and over again). It slowed down the story a lot. I know this is technically a romance and there needs to be a certain amount of development to grow the H/h and help them get together, but if you’re going to use a premise like this one you should use it for all it’s worth. A faster pace with more intense action would have been helpful.
The main things that kept me going is I did enjoy the romance and the world-building was fascinating. There isn’t anything quite like this series out there. Plus there is plenty more to build on for future books with other characters. There were several that grew on me throughout the course of the book with their intriguing personalities…and a couple I hope get what’s coming to them in future installments. The bad guys in this book were definitely bad and you have no difficulty hating them.
I’d be willing to check out the next novel in this series to see how it goes. If the pacing picks up, then this author has the potential to become one of my favorites. For those looking for a new fantasy romance series with some unique elements to the genre, you might give this one a try. I’m certainly glad I read it. Four whips for Caged Warrior!