Hailey Edwards continues to impress with this latest installment in her Araneae Nation series. Not only do we have a solid romance, but we're unraveling the source of the mysterious plague that's been part of the series since book one.
Our heroine is Kaidi, a maven-in-waiting for her people. She has only to marry the paladin she is betrothed to. Unfortunately, she knows a horrible secret about him... one no one would believe if she came forward; and that knowledge puts her life at risk. So she left behind her family and her people with a mission only she knows about. You see, she has uncovered that the men killed by the plague can rise again, so she is seeking out the dead to cut off their heads to prevent them from reanimating. That alone is a pretty tough story to swallow, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Anyway, Murdoch and his men catch her cutting off heads and think she is robbing and desecrating the bodies of the dead. He takes her to his leader, Vaughn, but gets a big surprise when his maven Mana recognizes Kaidi as the lady she is. Unfortunately, Vaughn decides it's in the best interest of his people to call her fiance to come fetch her. And so, Kaidi is on a race against the clock to escape or to find a way to prove the horrible secrets she has uncovered.
I really liked Murdoch. He is a good guy who wants to do right by his leader and his people. He tries so hard to resist his growing feelings for Kaidi. But once he learns the undeniable truth she has been carrying, he risks everything to help her. There is such a great simmering tension between these two, as Murdoch fights his own desires. And when he finally gives in, it's so gratifying. I just wish we could have had a bit more physical payoff sooner than we did. I was past ready by the time these two got horizontal. But man, was it good.
The explanation behind the plague is... interesting. It plays a big part in the story and even bigger role in the ending. We see a lot of familiar characters from previous books and the series arc really ties together well. I enjoyed this one. *ARC provided by author for review