The Ride by Talia R. Blackwood

fc7ddefbfcdf9158a12656ea66834145.image.300x450Title: The Ride

Series: Apocalypse 03

Author: Talia R. Blackwood

Genre: Post-Apocalypse, Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Length: Novel (232 pages)

ISBN: 9781622321445

Publisher: Silver Publishing (29th March 2014)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 – 3 ½ Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: An apocalypse forever alters the world and people are forever changed. Emanuel Comstock, a fat, shy guy no one wants around, hides a frightening, terrible power within himself. And the Dark Ones want him.

The world ends and Emanuel reels from shock. His secret love and best friend, Lucian, abandons Manny for a life with Raide and the orphan baby, Brigit. A Dark One kidnaps Emanuel to sell as a slave and he doesn’t fight back. Why bother? He’s just a clumsy guy nobody wants.
The new rules of the world confuse Black Rose. He doesn’t care about Dark or Bright Ones. He wants to be left alone. When Ghost asks him to start an exploratory journey toward the mountains, Black Rose grabs the opportunity, but he’ll need a slave for the trip.
Emanuel and Black Rose leave their former life behind. The struggle to survive in a hostile world among cannibals and monsters is challenging. But Emanuel understands Black Rose is more than just a crook, and Black Rose realizes the humble slave shines with a light much brighter than anyone suspects.
Through their discoveries, inner growth, and mutual awareness, their trip to nowhere turns into a battle to remain together.

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Review: This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Emanuel (Manny) survived the merging of two parallel worlds, having his secret love meet another man and the creatures of the night, but now he has been captured by the Dark Ones and sold off as a slave. Black Rose (Darius) was in prison when the world ended and is now with the Dark Ones, he couldn’t care less about the Dark or Bright Ones and just wants to be left alone to survive. Being sent out to explore is the excuse Black Rose needs to leave the Dark Ones behind but he takes his new slave with him as company. As they struggle to survive against cannibals and monsters, both Darius and Manny realize that the other is more than he seems. And they find something in the other that they thought was forever lost.

This is a great addition to the Apocalypse series, which starts just after the end of The Event. Manny is still hurting from the rejection of Lucian, it was one last blow to his self-esteem so when he is captured by the Dark Ones he can’t see the point of fighting. Darius takes Manny with him because he needed a slave; he finds Manny annoying with no backbone and too timid and wants Manny to run away from him. When Manny finally has enough of being treated badly he runs and finds himself in major trouble, when Darius tries to come to his rescue they both find themselves captured and it results in Darius coming to realize how important Manny is to him, and with Manny finding his backbone.

I really enjoyed this addition to the series and was happy to see Manny find someone who appreciated him, even if they had a very rocky start. This story continues with the storyline of the Dark Ones and Bright Ones and we have more discoveries about the Apocalypse and the survivors. The relationship between Manny and Darius is not very pleasant at first with some forced sexual contact; it also has a very strong feel of D/s in the mix, which later adds a bit of excitement to their relationship. We see a huge development in both Manny and Darius as both men find that they aren’t as they see themselves; Manny isn’t quite the fat, timid, shy man he thinks he is and Darius isn’t the bad, mean, incapable of caring man he became. Their fight for survival has them meeting other survivors both Dark and Bright, and in one town just wrong, who add more to the overall storyline and Manny proves to be so much more than just being a sidekick to Lucian.

I have been impressed with the continuality of the storyline as it arcs over the three books but one thing has me stumped and that is Lucian’s continued existence… why? Well we already know that doubles disappeared but Lucian apparently never died in the other world… he was a world-famous rock-star at the time the worlds collided but the accident that would have killed Lucian’s double happened two years before…. And we already know that the worlds were only about 3 months out of sync. Yeah so I am stumped. Other than that, I am liking where this story is going, there’s danger and darkness, some mystery as to what is happening to them all and we are getting great relationships developing. We also know that there are more interesting relationships to come, as they dig into what really happened to the worlds.

I recommend this to those who love post-apocalypse struggles, love developing in hard times, danger and darkness lurking in the background and more stories to come.