I am struggling with this review, because a lot of what I said in my review for the Beyond Series Bundle Volume 1 is true for the three bundles I am attempting to review here. The overarching themes of the series are freedom to determine your own life, freedom to love who you love, bodily autonomy – including consent and reproductive freedom, and over coming the many forms of toxic masculinity. All of this was present in the first bundle of books, and all of it continues to play out through the remaining books and novellas. The series, as a whole and in each piece, can be read for fun and as political act of resistance against the growing move to assert a white supremacist patriarchy. Happily ever afters are given to queers, people of color, sex workers, drug runners, drug addicts, bootleggers and bikers. They are all consenting adults who value found family.
Side note – the review linked above may be my favorite review I’ve written this year. The Bree half of Kit Rocha read my first review and retweeted it with my favorite paragraph from the review and I’ll never be so eloquent again, this review now carries the weight of all my perfectionism and anxiety. Let’s agree now that it’s total garbage.
To recap, or set the stage, or something: At some point in the future, A city is built that is designed to be self supporting and an oasis of goodness – Eden. Solar flares destroy the power grid in the United States and it descends into anarchy. Eden is, as I said in the previous review, “a city ruled the way the Christian Right would like – no premarital sex, no extramarital sex, women are wives or daughters, only the cis-gendered and straight are allowed.” Eden also has the super soldiers, the weapons and the technology. Surrounding the city are the Sectors where the factories and the sin live. The Sectors remember that Sector Three was bomb into oblivion when they started to get too pushy. The threat of being flattened by Eden hangs over the Sectors. As the books progress, the growing conflict between Eden and the Sectors becomes a more prominent story. Each book and novella is still a romance, but the looming war shapes the characters, their desires and obstacles.
The stories are intertwined, so though each book or novella focuses on a primary romantic relationship – 2, 3, or 4 people – you cannot skip around. But you can binge read them because they flow beautifully from one book to the next. As the series goes on, the stakes political get higher, and the sex gets a little quieter. It becomes more of an interlude than a focus, which is appropriate for the way the story grows.
I have been incredibly fortunate this year to have read so many excellent new (to me) writers. Through twitter I’ve put together a yarn wall of interconnected authors, like Charlie in “Sweet Dee has a Heart Attack,” but in a good way.
Kit Rocha’s Beyond series has been one of my safe places this year. I’ve read all the books more than once and some more than others. I haven’t gone into any specifics because you should discover them for yourself. The characters you resonate with will be your own and not mine. I have my doubts that 2020 will be any better or less stressful than 2019 has been, and as I follow the threads to even more new authors, I will be coming back to Kit Rocha. For one thing they have a new book in a new series, Deal With the Devil, coming out next year. For another they continue to be smart and funny on Twitter.
I realize post apocalyptic erotic romance isn’t going to be everyone’s thing, but if it’s yours or you know someone who would like it, start with Beyond Shame and work your way forward.