Title: Convergence (Mother Earth Series #3)
Author: Ally Blue
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Amazon Buy Link: Convergence: Mother Earth, Book 3
Genre: fantasy, dystopia
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: This book was a worthy continuation to a great series and a gripping, suspenseful read.
The Blurb: No one survives unchanged.
When the Carwin Tribe Pack lost Rabbit, a little bit of Lynx died along with his Brother. Their feelings went far beyond the Pack bond. The ensuing years have never erased his sorrow, only dulled the edges.
Kidnapped during a desperate mission to save Carwin, Lynx awakens to a completely foreign civilization where slaves and masters exist in a unique symbiotic relationship. And to a face he never expected to see again—Rabbit. Yet Lynx’s shock and joy are tempered by the changes in his lover.
The Pack’s strength lies in love, sex and a brotherhood forged from a lifetime of living and fighting side by side. Rabbit’s seeming acceptance of his lot as a slave makes Lynx wonder if he’s lost his soul mate forever…and if he can trust Rabbit with knowledge of his plan to escape.
As Lynx learns to navigate the complex hierarchies of Queen City, he begins to realize all is not as it seems. He finds he can’t simply take Rabbit and run, leaving an entire city to a grisly fate. Even if it costs him the one bond closest to his heart—the love he and Rabbit still share.
Warning: This book contains Lynx-napping, futuristic farming, eavesdropping (minus the eaves), daring escapes, bloody battles, and Pack sex.
The Review: This is the third installment in Ally Blue’s Mother Earth Series; reviews for the first two are here (Dragon’s Kiss) and here (Shenandoah). Convergence can be read as a standalone, but since most of the world building is done in the first two books, I’d advice against it for full enjoyment of this book.
The main pairing in this book are Lynx, who we first met as Bear’s friend in the first book, and Rabbit, who disappeared without a trace seven years previously. As the story begins, the Carwin tribe is worried about the recent increase in hostile encounters with the Nomads, human predators who in the past, used to haunt the ruins of nearby former big city Char in small bands. The Nomad’s attacks grew bolder, and their numbers seemed to have increased as of late. The Carwin tribe fears to be overrun soon. In a desperate mission, three pack brothers Lynx, Fox, and Kitten, go on a spy mission in order to find the cannibal’s nest so the united force of the fighting pack brothers can smoke them out. But once they discover the Nomad’s nest, things go terribly wrong. In a vicious fight against an overwhelming number of enemies, Fox and Kitten are badly wounded, and Lynx is taken captive.
However, instead of having him for dinner like he feared, Lynx’s captors deliver him to an underground settlement called Queen City. Much to his dismay, Lynx suddenly finds himself a slave, supposed to work the fields for this underground farming society nobody in Carwin ever knew existed at all. But while he’s still quarreling with his fate, Lynx also experiences a true miracle, learning that his lost pack brother Rabbit isn’t only alive, but that they’re going to be together again as they belong to the same owner, wheat farmer Maryanne.
What fascinated me most about this book was, once again, the worldbuilding. The author took contemporary environmental technologies, like geothermal energy, UV-lamps, water recycling, genetic engineering and developed these ideas further. Together with its slave owner society, this made Queen City a wondrous mix of dystopia and science-fiction, totally plausible and imaginable. Even the Nomads, or Brass, as they’re called in Queen City, had their place in this world, because of course cruelty and abuse of power are unlikely to die out in any kind of human society, contemporary or prospective. In a way, the inhabitants of Queen City lived just as much in close communion with nature as the Carwin tribe, for all their advanced technologies. Their failure was that they’d become too settled in their ways, which allowed the Brass to accumulate more and more power. Now, that their century old way of living was in danger, the citizens of Queen City had almost lost the ability to think of an alternative. So it was a good thing that the outside world, in the person of Lynx, came to shake the Queen City community out of their long hibernation, so to speak. Very skillfully done; this part of the story actually reminded me a little bit of Orwell’s “Animal Farm” (very distantly, of course, and with a lot more sex and a happier ending) ;-)
I loved the way the bond between the Pack brothers was further explored here. From the previous books, I had a vague idea about it, about how they connect through sex and affection in order to form some kind of warrior bond. But here I learned how their communion goes way beyond that. It was subtly done, not overexplained, mostly shown through Rabbit’s inhibitions after he was back among his former brothers, and the way the other Pack members reacted to him. In the end, I’d come to a different appreciation of the Pack bond that lent the group sex scenes meaning far beyond their erotic appeal.
The actual romance, on the other hand, didn’t work quite as well for me. So Rabbit and Lynx had become estranged over their seven year separation. Rabbit had to adapt to a new kind of life in order to survive, he went through a fundamental shift in his view of the world and his personality, while for Lynx, life had gone on like usual after Rabbit’s disappearance. Both were caught in their respective, different time bubbles. But they reconnected immediately after their reunion. So much of their old ties, their old closeness was still there, I wondered why they took so long to trust each other again. It drove me nuts, the male incommunicado that kept them apart for what felt to me like an unnecessary long stretch of time. For a great portion of this book, they tried to solve their communication problems with sex, which, predictably, didn’t work all too well. It were particularly Rabbit’s internal contradictions that bothered me. He’s clearly the more refined, “civilized” personality – he thrived in Queen City, how would he ever fit back into Carwin Tribe’s warrior society? I wasn’t entirely convinced by the solution, but that might be only me. At least, he and Lynx found a way back to each other – and to the Pack brothers - in a beautiful scene that was balm to the soul of my little inner romantic.
I guess the fact that I mulled it over so much shows how much I became involved in the story. Not surprising with the skilled, colorful writing and the action-orientated plot. Speaking of which, there were some explicit, graphic scenes of violence in this book, including the rape/murder of a woman witnessed by the Pack brothers. Likewise during the fight scenes, there was quite a lot of blood and gore, so this book isn’t for the faint of heart. The Queen City people’s desperate fight for freedom was brutal, but totally captivating to read, and I loved the tentative convergence between the “groundhogs” (as the Queen City inhabitants call themselves) and the Carwin Tribe. Mother Rose, in particular, was a wonderful character, a real matriarch, and I also liked Maryanne, Kathy and Emily, Queen City’s strongly drawn leaders.
All in all, this was a suspenseful, adventurous, plot-driven tale and an intelligent social study to booth, set in a very well-thought out world. Those who enjoyed the first two installments definitely shouldn’t miss this worthy continuation to a fine and imaginative fantasy series.