Review: Ashwin by Kit Rocha (@mlsimmons, @kitrocha)

Posted March 5, 2017 by Melanie in Dystopian, Melanie, Reviews / 22 Comments

Review: Ashwin by Kit Rocha (@mlsimmons, @kitrocha)
Ashwin by Kit Rocha
Series: Gideon’s Riders #1
Published by Self-Published
Published on: March 7, 2017
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 286
Format: eARC
Source: Author
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Lieutenant Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier—genetically engineered to be cold, ruthless. Unfeeling. His commanding officers consider him the perfect operative, and they’re right. Now, he has a simple mission: to infiltrate Gideon’s Riders, the infamous sect of holy warriors that protects the people of Sector One.

He’s never failed to execute an objective, but there’s one thing he didn’t anticipate—running into Dr. Kora Bellamy, the only woman to ever break through his icy exterior.

When Kora fled her life as a military doctor for the Makhai Project, all she wanted was peace—a quiet life where she could heal the sick and injured. The royal Rios family welcomed her like a sister, but she could never forget Ashwin. His sudden reappearance is a second chance—if she can manage to touch his heart.

When the simmering tension between them finally ignites, Kora doesn’t realize she’s playing with fire. Because she’s not just falling in love with a man who may not be able to love her back. Ashwin has too many secrets—and one of them could destroy her.

Ashwin by Kit Rocha


Del circled Kora and trailed her fingers down her back. “Do you know the story of the Two Princesses, Kora?”
“Which two?” She grinned at Maricela to break the tension. “This sector is overrun with them.””The first two.” Del picked up her sketchpad and a charcoal pencil. “Maricela’s mother, Juana. And her aunt, Adriana.””Only what I picked up from the murals at the palace.”Del’s hand moved quickly, the soft scratch of her pencil as hypnotic as the way her voice sank into an easy rhythm. “Adriana was a warrior. She fought for her people, killed for them if necessary. She fell in love with her bodyguard and challenged the Prophet himself for the right to marry him. In the paintings, she holds the heart of her people in her hands…but if the occasion called for it, Adriana could tear the heart out of an enemy’s chest. Her spine was pure steel.”The scratching paused as Del glanced at Maricela, a smile curving her full lips. “But Juana was different. She married Adriana’s brother, the Prophet’s only son and heir. She and Adriana became sisters and friends. Juana had no gift for death, but there was nothing she touched that wouldn’t grow. No person she touched who wasn’t moved.” Del nudged Maricela with her foot. “No child she loved who didn’t thrive.”Maricela nodded, her eyes bright with unshed tears.Del went back to sketching. “Adriana’s spine was steel, but Juana’s was made of roses. And because men can be fools who only recognize one kind of strength, they underestimated her. When the wars came, Juana bent with the wind. She grew stronger and fiercer as she wrapped herself tight around the people she loved. She became a wall of thorns, and no one could touch the people she called hers without bleeding for their trouble.”After a moment of silence, Del turned the sketchpad around. The bold design filled the page in a long vertical line—two sets of vines weaving in and around one another, with blooming flowers and tightly furled buds nestled between sharp thorns.

“I think you’re like Juana,” Del said, her voice still a husky murmur. “Your gift is life. There’s power in that.”

Kora’s fingers trembled as she reached out and touched the paper. “It’s beautiful.”

“Thank you.” Del tore the paper free and handed it to her before moving to the table that held her tattooing equipment. “I don’t give the spine of roses often. Not many have a heart big enough to carry the burden.”

“Are you sure that I do?” The question slipped out, unbidden. There were few things in life that Kora had never second-guessed, and her care for others was the biggest. The most important. It had been more than a job, or even her life’s work. It had been a calling.

But now, she questioned everything.

“Of course I’m sure.” Del returned with a marker in her hand and tilted Kora’s chin up. “But that’s not enough for you, because you’re not a believer.”

Kora had tried to study Sector One’s concept of God. But he was nebulous, his message and character changing depending on the situation, on interpretation, even on the person writing or speaking about him. As a scientist, Kora couldn’t reconcile the wild variances, the seemingly human failings in a being who was supposed to be infallible.

But there were some things she understood without hesitation. “I believe in the Rios family, and in your abilities. If you say I deserve to wear Juana’s roses, I’ll wear them.”

Del didn’t release her chin. “You’ve looked into Ashwin’s eyes. Did you see nothingness staring back at you?”

She’d seen confusion, puzzlement. Anger. Terror. And, just once, a need so sharp that she ached to remember it. “No.”

“It takes a big heart to see past the death. I’ve always wondered what Juana would have seen in the eyes of the last Makhai soldier who came to One. Perhaps the same thing you see in Ashwin’s.” Del crouched down so they were on eye level. “And remember, Kora. There was nothing she touched that didn’t grow.”

The words played over and over in Kora’s mind as she settled into the seat Del indicated. She considered them as Del prepared her skin, as the dull buzz of the tattoo machine filled the room, even through the first angry pricks of the needle.

At one time, she would have believed Del without hesitation. If she was talking about healing, about work, then Kora would have had no doubts at all. But emotion was trickier. People were hard to predict.

A Makhai soldier? That was impossible.


Kick Ass Amazeballs Dystopian

I’ve been a big fan of Kit Rocha ever since I stumbled upon Beyond Shame all those years ago (I wish I could remember how I found it, but I just can’t). I was saddened by the end of that series because I’ve come to love all the characters I met in Sector Four. I was so excited to hear that they we doing a spinoff series in Sector One. Going into this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We had the end of the war in the Beyond Series and Sector one is so different from Sector Four. The writing duo of Kit Rocha didn’t disappoint.

The Gideon’s Riders series is set in Sector One, as I said. It will follow a group that is known as Gideon’s Riders. Gideon being the leader of Sector One. But he is also the leader of the religion that they follow there. He is seen as a god and a king in one. His grandfather was called a Prophet. The Riders are a group of enforcers that protect the sector and the royal family. We got to know some of the characters in Sector One in the Beyond series. I really liked them. I found that I like them even more after spending time with them.

The first couple in this series aren’t from Sector One. They are both from Eden and had minor parts in the Beyond series, so fans of that series will know them well. For newcomers who are starting with this series, you get a great introduction to the pair with enough background information to fall in love with them too.

Ashwin is a Makhai soldier. He was genetically created to be the perfect soldier. He very smart and strong. His moral compass is very straight forward in that he does exactly what he needs to in order to get his mission done, without any emotions getting in the way. Ashwin had fixated on Kora during the time of the Beyond series and had to go to get “reprogrammed” so that he could focus on being a good soldier. He even had a “friend” (if a Makhai soldier could have friends) from Sector Four hide her from him. He does stumble upon her again when he is sent on a mission to infiltrate Gideon’s Riders.

Kora is a healer. She’s been studying to be a doctor her entire life. It hasn’t been an easy life for her, even though she had a great job in Eden. She was very emotional about her patients. She was devastated every time she lost one of them. She worked with the Makhai a lot and was one of the only people who wasn’t scared of them. She really cared for Ashwin and his other Makhai soldiers. She’s been working as a healer in Sector One and included as part of the royal family ever since the war.

This was a great start to this new series. I felt like we got to learn a lot of new information about Sector One. I enjoyed my time with all the new characters there. I can’t wait to reach each of their books. I also really enjoyed the slow romance of Ashwin and Kora. Their relationship is so much different than all the relationships I read about in Sector Four. I do like seeing the outsiders, like Ashwin, get their perfect partners. It just proves that there is someone for everyone out there somewhere.

If you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic romance story, this is a great start to a new series. You could start early and go along for the ride with us. If you haven’t read the Beyond series, you will be fine. If you did read the Beyond series, you will get to see some of the characters you love here and there.

Gideon’s Riders Series

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I’m Melanie and I live in Ohio. I have two horses and a dog. I’m an animal lover, avid book reader and audiobook listener. I like to live vicariously through fictional characters. I enjoy reading and listening to mostly fictional books in the paranormal genre, including Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. My favorite paranormal creatures are shifters, doesn’t matter the flavor.

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22 responses to “Review: Ashwin by Kit Rocha (@mlsimmons, @kitrocha)

  1. I bet you were thrilled when you found out there’d be a spinoff of the Beyond series. It’s nice you get to spend time with characters you already know and get to know them better. 🙂 I still plan to read the Beyond series and I think I’ll read it first because it’ll mean this series will be richer. I’m happy you have a new series to enjoy from Rocha, Melanie! 😀
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