This review includes the books currently available in The Four series:
- Forgotten: Luca (#1)
- Foreseen: Lex (#2)
- Forgiven: Con (#3)
Forgotten: Luca (Book 1)
This book can be read as a stand-alone story, but it works best in the context of two previous novels by Kennedy: Atonement (Protectors #6) and Unbroken (Protectors #12). Thematically, this story fits very well within that series, but I like that Kennedy split these characters off into a new, dedicated collection of novels. Luca is a lot like the leader of the Protectors, which is probably why they don’t mix very well, as seen in this book. However, their protectiveness comes from the same place, and ultimately, both have claimed a stake in making sure Remy lives a happy, successful life after his tragic childhood.
Unfortunately, Luca encountered Remy during that childhood, and it left scars on both men. Neither ever expected to meet again, but now that they have, long-buried emotions keep drawing them together despite the continual pain their interactions also cause. The love that grows between them is subtle and doesn’t come from a traditional place as most romance novels, but it is unmistakably there.
In proper Kennedy fashion, the love that grows between them does not “heal” or “fix” either character. On the physical side, this book is also a slower burn than the stories in the Protectors series, but it is entirely appropriate for the characters and their interactions. Like Luca, I would have been thrilled with any version of happily ever after between him and Remy, as long as it meant they were together.
I look forward to reading the stories of the men who Luca and Vaughn consider brothers, especially considering the volatile (but loving) dynamic that exists within this found family. Lex has been a bit of a mystery from the very beginning, so I’m pleased that his story is up next.
Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
Foreseen: Lex (Book 2)
I put off reading this novel for way too long for multiple reasons: I wasn’t ready for my time in this expanded world to end, and I was being careful of my timing in reading a book that might potentially feature dark subject matter. On the one hand, I’m sad that currently, no future installments in this series exist; on the other, Kennedy does give readers a much-needed breath of fresh air in the contents of this excellent novel.
Not that this is a low-angst book by any means. Instead, Lex struggles with accepting his deteriorating eyesight in the backwoods of Maine, where he captures the attention of local caretaker Gideon. Gideon is also in hiding, and with each other’s support, they manage to save themselves.
Outside of the relatively unbelievable insta-love that follows on the heels of the otherwise believable insta-lust, much of the important action of this book takes place “off-screen.” Kennedy already has a history of her characters relating their dark pasts to their potential partners via dialogue, but this is the first time I’ve found myself wanting to read those stories instead. This only slightly dampened my otherwise great enjoyment of the text. Though I only wear glasses, I empathized with Lex’s fear that the loss of his eyesight means that his life is over. Kennedy uses the loss of such an integral sense to enhance Lex rather than define his character, and Gideon isn’t some perfect savior, but rather just a guy doing his best.
I have the feeling that the story will ramp up again in the next installment, and I’m more than ready for it after this breather. Now, Kennedy just has to write it for us!
Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.
Forgiven: Con (Book 3)
Considering all that has gone before for both this particular set of siblings and in the greater world of the Protectors series, this book works very well as a stand-alone. After a quick prologue to set the scene and immediate characters, Kennedy drops us straight into the action. I’m even inclined to forgive Con’s moment of low-key stalker behavior because it means he is in the right place at the right time. Whether Micah wants to accept it or not, Con is determined to protect him and the niece and nephew Micah is responsible for once Con better understands the bigger picture that he had a hand in creating.
My only significant complaint about this book is the immediate sexual attraction between Con and Micah while they are still in New Jersey. The relationship that develops more naturally, despite pretty significant hiccups, feels real enough that I didn’t necessarily need that awkward “insta-love” push. However, once the meat of the story gets going, I had no problem believing the connection that develops between these two men. I loved the way they supported each other, even as that connection dug up so much emotional trauma they needed to wade through. This is even on Con’s end, which does a lot to shift and then resolve the initial “conflict” between him and Micah.
Though this stands alone, we get plenty of familiar faces toward the end of the story for the multi-layered final conflict (which involves both internal and external circumstances that might drive Micah and Con apart). As usual, Kennedy leaves us wanting more for the finale of this series with an epic sneak peek at King, the final brother in this fascinating family.
Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.