by Elle Kennedy
Series: Outlaws #1
Published by Tantor Audio on October 6, 2015
Sub-Genre/Theme: Dystopian, Erotic, Menage
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After a devastating war decimated most of the world, Hudson Lane has known only 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.
Claimed by Elle Kennedy is book #1 in the Outlaws series. This is a super hot, super smutty book that I enjoyed.
The story takes place in a dystopian world where a war has left the United States devastated and in shambles. No longer governed by a democracy, the government now consists of something called the Global Council. The GC restricts population using forced sterilization and other inhumane tactics. Additionally, the GC dictates when people can get married and to whom, among other tyrannical practices.
Hudson is a woman who was raised in the city and whose father was one of the founders of the GC. When Hudson escapes the city, she finds herself on the road and alone. Hudson meets a group of outlaws, rebels against the GC, who are led by a man named Connor. After Hudson pleads with Connor to let her join his group, he relents–agreeing to let her stay with them on a trial basis. Hudson doesn’t reveal her true identity to Connor, but nevertheless Connor has some suspicions about trusting Hudson.
Connor and his group of outlaws are always on their guard. They are constantly on the lookout for enforcers, a group of elite and extremely violent soldiers of the GC. As a coping mechanism for all the devastation and bleakness of everyday life, the outlaws take pleasure wherever they can find it. Typically, this pleasure reveals itself in the form of sex.
The outlaws have a very open point of view where sex is concerned. They tend to have a lot of casual sex, engaging in acts with various partners without regard to monogamy. Because the world as they know it is such a bleak place, physical pleasure becomes their only outlet for release.
I was surprised how quickly the relationship between Hudson and Connor becomes sexual. Actually, their first sexual encounter is really a menage scenario involving Connor’s friend, Rylan. There is A LOT of sex in this book, so if that’s not your thing, you might be uncomfortable.
The main thing that bothered me was that I wished the relationship between Hudson and Connor would’ve been more developed. Their relationship is based on sex and when they eventually develop feelings for each other, the transition didn’t feel very convincing to me. Also–and this isn’t a huge complaint–but I felt that the actual plot and suspense take a backseat to the sex scenes. I think the story itself could’ve been at the forefront more. That would’ve helped me believe the romance elements more convincingly.
The majority of the book takes place with the outlaws on the run from the enforcers. Hudson continues to conceal her true identity, including her relationship to someone who Connor is pursuing. Connor has a sad back story and has suffered a great loss in his past, which affects his relationship with Hudson. Connor keeps Hudson at a distance because of his past hurt. When the secrets are revealed and the truth is out there, Connor has to decide if he will allow himself to trust Hudson, despite the things that have left him broken in the past.
I liked Hudson as a character, but she jumps into the outlaw lifestyle a little too quickly for me. I found that unconvincing, especially considering that she hasn’t had a ton of sexual experience yet engages in a menage early on with Connor and Rylan. However, I appreciated that she could take care of herself to a certain extent, thanks to the training that she received in the city. She’s not a weak character.
I liked Connor as well, although at times his distant personality turned me off a bit. Even during the sex scenes, he’s always holding Hudson somewhat at arm’s length–emotionally speaking. As he develops deeper feelings for her, that changes, but then the secrets are revealed and he and Hudson have to decide what the future will hold.
To sum up, I enjoyed the story, even though I would’ve liked the relationship elements to have been stronger and the characters to have shown more growth. However, as I mentioned, the sex scenes are hot hot hot and they definitely drive the plot. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I plan on reading the next book in the series.
Rating: 3.5 stars