Genre: Sci-fi, Romance
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay
Reviewer: Linda, Paranormal Romance Guild
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About The Book
The Fredamine Project was just the beginning. Shadow dealings and conspiracies regarding variants intertwine until Damien and his cohorts can no longer tell who the bad guys are.
Several months have passed since Blaze and the infamous Variant activist Shudder McKenzie helped Damien rescue the captives of the sinister Fredamine Project. Professionally, everything’s great. He’s back to working with Damien again and they have a new lead on the three kids who are still missing. Personally, not so much. Blaze has made his peace with Shudder, though nothing between them has even been easy, but his relationship with Damien has taken several steps back. Blaze no longer has any idea where he stands. Adding to the tense atmosphere are the anti-Variant members of legislature who have been slowly gaining popular approval, and the cryptic messages Damien receives from an unknown source.
Shudder’s back to his old haunts and his old tricks, trying to raise public awareness of imperiled Variant rights—such as the draconic Horace Act that strips due process during Variant trials—and to rescue Variant kids in trouble. His almost mythical luck runs out though when he’s arrested for murder only three days after the passage of the Horace Act and a whirlwind trial and sentencing lands him in the most notorious maximum security facility for Variants—San Judas Tadeo.
With too many conspirators on both sides of the aisle, Damien, Blaze and Shudder no longer know whom to trust. Peeling through the layers of deceit and half-truths puts them on shakier ground with every discovery and in greater danger than ever before.
Variant Configurations takes place in a future Earth where humanity is reclaiming its spot in a gradually healing world. This book contains mentions of past abuse, action-adventure style mayhem, and the sparks of a slow burn, series-spanning relationship.
In book one, Rarely Pure and Never Simple, we met Blaze, Damien and Shudder, variants with different abilities who came together to locate forty kids missing from an academy for Variant children. While working together, the three men became close, and this book picks up with where they are and how they are dealing with those feelings.
It’s been three months since Damien left without a goodbye, afraid of his feelings for Blaze and convinced that he still loved his ex-boyfriend Shudder. Fear keeps Damien from seeking out Blaze – fear that when he turns berserker, he could kill the man he loves.
Most of the missing children have been found and either left in a safe place or returned home to their families. Unfortunately, there are still four children unaccounted for, and Damien has agreed to look for them. He’s shocked to discover that Blaze has been recruited to accompany him.
Anti-variant campaigns are increasing, and new laws are being passed that severely impact them. As soon as one of these new law went into effect, Shudder was tricked into what he believed was helping a child in trouble, only to find himself being arrested for murder. He will no longer be able to fight for variant rights, as he had been arrested, drugged and immediately sentenced to sixty years in a variant-proof prison.
Locked alone with no one to talk to other than the AI assigned to him, eating alone, and with no visitors and no phone calls, he’s still in danger as someone finds a way to reach him and threaten his life.
One coincidence follows another, first with Shudder being the poster boy for a new law against variants, and the threat to his life occurs when a bomb goes off which allows him to escape. He has a broken leg, but his ability to control the earth allows him to ride the dirt.
Damien and Blaze put their search for the missing children on hold and look for Shudder instead. When they are finally reunited, they must find a safe place for him to heal.
Then Damien’s long-lost father reappears – one coincidence too many. Damien doesn’t trust his father, and wonders why he suddenly showed up.
I loved book one, but book two kept me hooked from the first page to the last, and now my only complaint is that I must wait for book three. The main characters are amazing, their only crime against society being that they are different. Martinez has written three totally different characters, and yet their differences are what bond them. Secrets, romance, sex, betrayal and a fight for equal rights – the fight is not over, and I can’t wait for what comes next.
I am an avid reader the mother of 3 sons and grandmother to seven grandchildren. Since retiring I have been doing more reading while volunteering as a CASA worker. CASA is an organization that works with the family court system to ensure that children are in the best living situation. There are way too many children that get overlooked in the foster care system and I visit homes and make visits to the parents. I was born and raised in New York and my husband of 50 years and I live in Upstate New York.
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