Review: Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux
I've been a squeeing wreck for weeks. I got the opportunity to read and review Ball & Chain - book 8 in Abigail Roux's Cut & Run series - for the blog, and before it was released! You can imagine the joy in my little book-lover heart, right? Follow me trough the jump to see my thoughts on the latest installment of Cut & Run... Ball & Chain!
Ball & Chain. So super excited to read this, it was beyond words. I'm always excited to see new adventures with Ty and Zane, be they Texts from Sidewinder, snippets, or new books, I devour them all and am always looking for more. Thing is, with Ball & Chain, the men all felt very different to me. You could tell that something had happened to them, something big. They all seemed more somber, more... I hesitate to say reserved, but perhaps slower to speak or act than before. Like they're trying very hard to feel normal again. Zane has made a multitude of positive changes though, seeming to finally come into his own - he is his own man, and no longer an adjunct of Ty's. He has his own interests, his own friends, he seems to enjoy living just to enjoy life, rather than enjoying it through other people, and this is a huge and positive step for him.
Nick and Kelly also feature in the story, and I can see where Abi's plans took a big Left Turn at Albequerque, where the natural break point would have been for Nick to split into his own series, rather than through Shock & Awe, had Kelly not survived NOLA. Now we have a post-deployment, newly figuring out relationship, PLUS the influx of the Gradys, who are almost as much family to Zane as they are to Ty, and I can see why there would be less (strictly speaking) alone time in this book than in some of the others. Nature of life - new places, favorite people - there's always something to do. Add in a murder mystery, and holy CRAP! Busy guys! Now the thing to not forget here is that just because they aren't alone doesn't mean they're not affectionate. There's a lot of hidden in plain sight affection in this book, which is new, now that they're fully 'out.' There's also a lot of tension between Ty and Nick, which is very new.
Watching all this play out was actually rather unusual as well. Usually, I can at least get a decent guess about mysteries before they even really get running, but this was pretty clouded up right to the end. The entire book was full of moments that made me stop and reevaluate things I thought I knew... And Ty and Zane finding out about Nick and Kelly? Priceless. Absolutely priceless. Despite the early release of the book, I'm not going to spoil things any more than I have, so I'm leaving plot devices, interactions, and all that fun stuff aside. For now.
In the meantime, though, I would be happy to tell you what I thought of the book. I found the characters to be believable for their relationship stages and existing canon. I found the mystery to be difficult to follow, though once it was explained, it made perfect sense. I wish there was a little more of the *ahem* adult relations *ahem,ahem* but then again, with Ty and Zane... I always do. I was excited to see the Gradys again, and to see Deuce in particular. Amelia is a joy to behold, and I love her to pieces already. Ty and Nick are very much changed men, and I'm looking forward to seeing how that affects their futures. Zane is a much stronger, much more attractive character, and Kelly is darling in his mild insecurity. I enjoyed this book. Every minute of it. The parts I didn't enjoy were the ones where I'd scared the bejeesus out of anyone sitting nearby when I jumped, gasped, or outright shouted at my book, as though screeching NOOOO at my nook would help anything. My heart hurts for the Sidewinder boys, and I really look forward to seeing how they all do in the future. I enjoyed the character interplay, and I really... felt... this book. Touch & Geaux ripped me to shreds, completely and utterly. I was in tears for days, which hasn't happened since Sturm Brightblade when I was seventeen (entirely too many years ago for me to even think about). Ball & Chain gave me a glimpse of what the future might hold, how it might all fit, and how Ty and Zane could arrive there - together. For all the angst that book 7 held, book 8 more than filled the hole with promise, and I look forward to Abi's final installment - probably a lot more than I should.
And thus, I declare Ball & Chain to be a Five-Kiss book - the kind that can only be followed by a wail of "But I want MORE!!!!" The way a book should be.
Have you had a chance to read Ball & Chain yet? What did you think?