**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Series: Penton Legacy #4
Published by Montlake Romance on June 10, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Suspense, Vampires
Source: Purchased, Tour Operator
AMAZON • B&N • BOOK DEPOSITORY • Goodreads
From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the fourth book in the smart and steamy Penton Legacy series.
British vampire psychiatrist and former mercenary Cage Reynolds returns to Penton, Alabama, looking for a permanent home. The town has been ravaged by the ongoing vampire war and the shortage of untainted human blood, and now the vampires and humans that make up the Omega Force are trying to rebuild. Cage hopes to help the cause, put down roots in Penton, and resolve his relationship with Melissa Calvert. The last thing he expects is an attraction to Robin Ashton, a trash-talking eagle shape-shifter and new Omega recruit.
Meanwhile, as a dangerous saboteur wreaks havoc in Penton, the ruthless Vampire Tribunal leader Matthias Ludlam has been freed on the eve of his scheduled execution. But by whom? And to what end? As war and chaos rage on, love is the last thing Cage is looking for, but will his attraction to Robin distract him from the danger living among them?
ALLEGIANCE is Susannah Sandlin’s fourth book in her Penton Legacy world, one of my favorite PNR series. At the end of the last book, OMEGA, I was worried we wouldn’t see another Penton story and I was, of course, devastated at the prospect. Though we were left hanging as to the future of Penton, Sandlin turned around and gave us something new instead – she opened the door to a new series that takes place in the same world with new characters, STORM FORCE. All of this added up to a geeked She-Wolf when she laid hands on her copy of ALLEGIANCE. In this latest offering, we see the characters from both the Penton crew and the STORM FORCE crew converge. And, as expected, it was it was as exciting, emotional, and suspenseful as the other books in the Penton series.
What I enjoyed about ALLEGIANCE is what I always enjoy about this series – the Penton community. Set in a world in which the vaccine to cure a flu-like pandemic has rendered the majority of human blood poisonous to vampires, the Penton series follows the story of a small southern town acting as a new model for human-vampire relations. Penton allows for a more symbiotic co-existence where humans with unvaccinated blood live peacefully with vampires, thereby creating a small, harmonious, tight knit community that has produced characters I have come to love. The relationships among the characters, the feeling of the town, and the high stakes created in protecting Penton from vampire politics and power plays completely sucks me in every time. ALLEGIANCE was no different. Penton was pretty much destroyed in the last story and it was great to see Aidan and company try desperately to rebuild it. The characters’ camaraderie and respect for one another is infectious and Sandlin has successfully created a world I care about. ALLEGIANCE sets the stakes higher as an unknown threat seeks to undermine the safety and morale of Penton; shifters are introduced and play a vital and mysterious role in the new threats to Penton; and the lack of morale and the dogged determination to keep the Penton dream alive are strong elements to the story which help maintain a sense of danger and potential loss. I was once again sucked into the danger and threat and shakey future of Penton.
What was slightly weak for me, surprisingly, is the romance. Sandlin always makes the romance super sexy and addictive. I’m generally sucked into the back and forth, the dance, the chemistry of it all. I was obsessed with Glory and Mirren in the second Penton book, ABSOLUTION. Here, we have a triangle between Cage, the British vampire psychiatrist, Melissa, the recently turned vampire who is confused about what she wants, and Robin, the eagle shifter from STORM FORCE, who is a general bad ass in petite form. Melissa grows a lot in this book, which is nice to see, and while there was a hint of a triangle that hint is instantly smashed when Cage and Melissa are mature enough to recognize the truth of their relationship. This leaves it open for Robin and it’s her connection with Cage that makes the primary romantic relationship in the book. I have to admit there was something that felt undeveloped about their romance. Too much happened off the page and they spent too little time together to get me invested. I felt more connected to Robin’s friendship with Nik, her best friend and fellow STORM FORCE character, than I did with Robin and Cage. Part of the reason I think Robin and Cage felt a little undeveloped was due to the changing POVs. Sandlin does this well and it provides a very rounded picture of what’s happening in the story. I loved being in Nik’s head and Mirren’s POV is always fun. This made for less page time for Robin and Cage but I can’t complain since it provided a well-developed picture of Penton as a whole which in turn sets the stage for following books in the series.
Other highlights in ALLEGIANCE are the Mirren vs Robin scenes. I love that every vampire in the world is scared of him but two women, his mate and Robin, really could care less about the ginormous vampire’s bluster. Also, Sandlin’s introduction of the shifter world into Penton provides for some interesting possibilities. Finally, can we have a Nik story? I’m intrigued by him, his friendship with Robin, and the possibility of his own happily-ever-after.
If you like great PNR with suspense and danger, then you would do well to start the Penton series though I wouldn’t recommend you start with ALLEGIANCE. This book marks a new beginning for Penton and it would help to understand where it started. So go to the beginning with REDEMPTION and get sucked into the addictiveness that is Penton.
In the end, I rate ALLEGIANCE 3.5 howls! It was a great follow-up that sets the stage for major changes in the vampire world but also for Penton and its future. While the romance was not my favorite, the characters are compelling enough to make that a lesser issue. 3.5 Howls!
Take a look at my reviews for the other books in this series!