Obligation is the second book in ARR’s “Underground Kings” series and I would venture to say that this is Reynolds at her best. “Reynolds at her best” means a dominant alpha male, insta love, beautiful heroine with a little bit of a bite and a reasonably entertaining story. It’s got everything most of the ARR faithful love about Reynolds’ writing and omits some of the issues that made me wish I had a V8 instead of reading Assumption (the first book in the “Underground Kings” series).
ARR is good at building mystery and suspense into her stories and Obligation is no exception. Obligation is the story of Myla and Kai. Myla and Kai meet at a young age, there’s instant…well something, and years later when Myla is in trouble, Kai sweeps in and marries her to keep her safe. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything if I tell you that the “fake” marriage quickly turns into a real…something. Honestly, I’m not at all clear on why Kai needed to marry Myla to protect her. I promise I read the whole book and I still don’t get the marriage thing but I do not care. I love Myla and Kai together and if he needed to turn into a leprechaun and grant her three wishes so this story could happen, that would be fine with me.
Myla is the kind of heroine that you can root for or at least not hate. Myla is depicted as being reasonably intelligent and emotionally stable. She comes to rely on Kai and need him without being needy or weak. Kai is our favorite flavor of alpha male. He is brooding, possessive and focused on Myla (of course he is also well endowed because who wants an alpha male with an average package? Right, nobody.). Kai and Myla experience the typical sort of conflict that arises when you have male heroes who think communication consists of nothing more than telling people what to do. There is also conflict external to the relationship surrounding the mystery of why Myla is in danger that keeps the story moving forward. The sex scenes are steamy and will satisfy your craving for stuff that everyone would need a lot of rest and vitamins to accomplish on a daily basis.
My criticisms of this book are that first, ARR needs to immediately discontinue referring to her characters eyes and faces as “going soft.” Language diversity is what makes writing interesting. Nobody wants to read your one pet phrase 60 times in a book that’s less than 300 pages. Second, everything was kind of murky. Like, I don’t really know know what Kai did or how he was involved in it or how he had the capacity to be a stone cold killer. There is similarly almost no information on Myla’s life pre-Kai. For example, there are no references to Myla having contact with a single friend after she is with Kai. Maybe she didn’t have any friends, I don’t know because it isn’t clear. Last, I don’t understand the “resolution” of the main conflict in the story. I think the end of the main conflict was left open to make room for the next installment in the series. Again, it’s just not clear and so it could feel a little anticlimactic.
If I had to sum up this reading experience I would say that this is a light weight, entertaining read with an enjoyable romance. It’s got enough action and suspense to add a little flavor to the romance but not enough depth that you’ll be able to mentally distinguish it from several other books after a couple of months. I certainly recommend reading it especially for those of you who are already in the ARR fan club.
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