Whatever Gods May Be by Sophia Kell Hagin is brilliant! It is a most unusual lesfic book and an absolute riveting read. I went to get the ISBN from the book for this review, and found myself reading it again, and I was as enthralled the second time through because I have never read a book that so entranced me. It has got to be my favourite book of 2017 and probably 2016 as well!
The story is dystopian and set in the very near future after the world has suffered a pandemic. It is close enough that a lot of things seem familiar, the main difference being that the technology is more advanced.
The whole story is the personal journey of Jamie Gwynmorgan and starts as she is waiting for the day that she is able to join the Marines, running away from the possibility that she could be arrested if she stays. We find out why later in the story.
We follow her through basic training for the Marines and it is brutal, both physically and mentally and she has to survive on her instincts. Her first posting is straight into a war zone that bears much similarity to both the Second World War in the Pacific and the Vietnam war, but has futuristic wartime technology.
Jamie Gwynmorgan is on a life-changing journey that we are able to be a part of. The story is written as if we are in her head, and her thoughts are ours. We feel her fears and both her will and determination to survive in a world that seems to be against her. At the beginning she appears muddled and the story is similarly so, because we are inside her mind and she is relatively young and alone. She only reveals her history as we get to know her. This is because she re-thinks things during the course of events that seem to test her every step of the way. She is a real loner who is looking for something that she calls ‘Safe’ and maybe that includes someone to love.
Whilst Jamie is a loner, she is surrounded by fellow Marines of different ranks and we get to know several of them quite well. They are all so well described, from the individual Marines and Sergeants to the Senior Officers and we see them all through Jamie’s eyes. Thus, we understand her fear that some will get her killed, her disgust at others for their actions and her admiration for the experience of others.
The Writing Style
This is one of the books that leaves you just wanting to say ‘WOW!’ The unusual writing style really adds to the chemistry of the story with us the reader being at one with Jamie and her scattered thoughts at the start. As she matures and deals with the violence and hardships of her life, so do we. Kell Hagin writes about war with a freshness that keeps the heat, the fear and the violence in the front of your mind as you are turning the pages, glued to the action. There is nowhere to hide in this book, it is full on.
There is so much that I liked about this book. The world of Jamie Gwynmorgan is stark, dangerous and violent. It is beautifully described and not glamourised.
There is nothing that I didn’t like about this book.
I should point out some things though. Firstly, this is not a romance. Secondly, the book deals with the horror and violence of war and torture and does not shy away from it. Finally, there are two rapes, but the book does not describe either in detail.
It is written so well that I kept turning the pages, knowing that the faster I went, the quicker I would get to the end. Oh, I so didn’t want it to end! Luckily there are two further books in the series!
Excerpt from Whatever Gods May Be by Sophia Kell Hagin
From the lower bunk, Jamie watched, waited. Would Rhys decide that sometimes a kiss is just a kiss, promises be damned?
Like she was ready to climb into the upper rack, Rhys planted a foot on the bunk frame, then looked down. “Ever done this before?”
“No,” said Jamie, who had lost the fight for stillness. Rhys was nearly three years older; now the gap felt cavernous.
Rhys shook her head and softly repeated it. “No.”
“I’ve wanted to, though.” Jamie should’ve stopped there, right there. Not another word. Not another twitch. She had rules about this. About caring too much, needing too much. Showing too much. Let Rhys step over the line, right? Rhys is in command here, right? But Jamie grabbed Rhys’s hand. And she begged. “Oh god, Marty, please touch me. Just this once. Please. I can’t stand it anymore.”
“Mmm.” Rhys’s gaze strayed the length of Jamie’s restlessness. “Just this once.”
Rhys descended quick, catlike, her breath bathing Jamie’s face as she pumped her hip between Jamie’s legs and roughly pinned Jamie’s wrists. Raised up on both arms, her face ruled by a fierceness Jamie hadn’t seen before, Rhys stared down and thrust her hip again.
It’s said that whenever two marines are together, one is in command and the other is formed. Every muscle in Jamie’s body quivered as she formed up beneath Rhys, arching into Rhys’s energy. “Please touch me,” she whispered.
Rhys went abruptly still, her eyes softening. “I will. Just this once.” She sinuated herself along Jamie’s length, and beneath the humid sweetness of her breath Jamie met her lips, startled at the new tremor of contact, and undulated into her kiss.
“Close your eyes,” Rhys ordered.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781602821835
- Publisher: Bold Stroke Books
Sophia Kell Hagin Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Whatever Gods May Be by Sophia Cell Hagin. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.