I am a huge fan of Elle Kennedy’s New Adult series, Off Campus, so when I saw she had a dystopian series coming up, I was very excited. While Claimed definitely lived up to Ms. Kennedy’s reputation of sizzling hot sex scenes, I unfortunately felt that the dystopian world-building was lacking.
Connor Mackenzie is the begrudging leader of a small band of Outlaws, those who live on the outskirts of the Cities. After a devastating war, citizens live in the cities, and Enforcers patrol the outskirts looking for Outlaws and Bandits. After his wife was killed, Connor has been on a mission to find and kill Dominick, the Enforcer who killed his wife.
Hudson Lane is looking for protection. She’s running from a forced marriage with an Enforcer and when she sees Connor and his group of men she’s sure he’ll keep her safe. Hudson has secrets that she’s keeping from Connor, but she can’t fight her attraction to the seductively handsome man.
In this new world, letting go and trusting someone can get you killed. As their attraction grows, they’re both fighting a relationship for different reasons, and if Hudson’s secrets are revealed, she’s afraid of what Connor will do.
As I mentioned in my PJV Quickie, I am a big fan of Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus series. This new Outlaws series is very different. Let me start by saying there is a lot of sex. A lot. It’s a 351 page book, and starting around page 75, the steamy stuff starts and the sex is plentiful from there on out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty darn hot – self pleasure, m/f sex, menage, voyeurism…it’s really hot. But, I wanted more world-building: I don’t know why there was a war or who was fighting or what happened to put parts of the United States underwater. There were some awkward bits explaining that religion is gone but people still use expletives like “Jesus Christ” and “Oh God” that felt out of place and didn’t really delve into why this was an issue.
As for the characters – I liked the whole group. Connor and Hudson were both survivors who had trouble letting go of control and they each had their own set of values they lived by. Connor’s group of guys were entertaining and they have some interesting backstories that are ripe for their own books.
In summary, I like the set up, I like the characters, and I will be coming back for the next book in the series. I’m hoping it will go into a little more detail concerning the world as it is and why it’s that way. Claimed reminded me of Kit Rocha’s excellent Beyond series (although not as gritty), and if I remember correctly, I wanted more world-building in the first book of that series as well.
Fans of Kit Rocha’s Beyond series should enjoy Claimed. If you like strong heroes and heroines and erotic post-apocalyptic reads, definitely give Claimed a read.
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Claimed by Elle KennedySeries: Outlaws #1
Published by Penguin, Signet on October 6, 2015
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Also by this author: The Deal, The Mistake, The Mistake
The bestselling author of the Killer Instincts novels “knows how to write scorching sexual tension” (USA Today). Now she really sets it on fire in a new series about men and women living on the edge of violence, sex, and life and death.
After a devastating war decimated most of the world, Hudson Lane has only known the oppressive life under her own father’s tyranny. She finally escapes, branding herself an outlaw and hunted by the Enforcers. Her best chance at survival is Connor Mackenzie, an aggressively sensual fugitive who opens her eyes to the wicked possibilities of a world without rules.
As the leader of a band of outlaw fighters, Connor can’t resist the beautiful stranger who asks for his protection. Despite his reservations, he agrees to introduce her to a whole new way of life. But when Connor discovers Hudson’s connection to the enemies of liberty, he wonders how far he can trust the woman who has abandoned all inhibitions to challenge every forbidden desire.