I wanted to like this book, I really did. But in all honesty it fell flat for me. Iâ€™ve been reading theÂ THIRDS series since I picked it up when I was between books in the Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux. It became a sort of popcorn series for me, in that it lacked substance but it was still compelling/addicting enough that I wanted to continue the series after book one. And until now I havenâ€™t been disappointed. The first five books were decent, not the best M/M romances Iâ€™ve ever read, but good enough. The stories were good and the romances were enjoyable. This the first book in the THIRDS series, however, that I almost lemmed (a term I picked up in the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club meaning I almost didnâ€™t finish it) halfway through.
This book focuses on the developing romance between best friends Calvin Summers and Ethan Hobbs. Ethan is a tiger Therian (a shapeshifter) and Calvin is his partner. (The Calvin & Hobbs reference is clearly not an accident.) There were moments in the previous books that showed they were starting to realize their feelings for each other, but this book finally focused on them. And, for the most part, I was happy with their scenes in the book. I thought their interactions were sweet and the sex scenes were steamy, but I was disappointed that even though there was a light bondage scene and talk of learning rope binding, nothing came of it. What was the point of making such a big deal about that if the characters never got to do it? And it was made such a big deal of! The whole scene where Ethan was looking into it took a turn for the ridiculous when pretty muchÂ everyoneÂ in his THIRDS team unit decided to just show up in his office for no real reason and proceed to give advice about adult websites to visit and types of rope to use. Even the director of operations had a moment to chime in. Justâ€¦what? It was a farce. Just utterly pointless and ridiculous.
The other main characters seemed to become caricatures of themselves in this book and, frankly, felt two-dimensional. Dex cracked jokes and pissed Ash off, while Sloane got territorial when anyone touched Dex. Cael was cute and cheeky, and Rafe was a huge dick anytime he was in a scene. There wasn’t a lot of complexity to their personalities at all. If I had jumped into this book without having read the previous five I probably wouldnâ€™t be interested in the other characters’ stories. Not only was that a problem, but the pacing of this book was also an issue for me. It all felt so rushed at times. There were a few external conflicts, but they were resolved so quickly that they felt like filler just so the story wouldnâ€™t completely be all about the romance. There was a hostage situation at one point (which was meant to be the overarching external conflict of the book) and not more than a few minutes after arriving on the scene did Calvin take the bad guy out with a sniper rifle. Any external conflict seemed like it was being watched by Calvin or Hobbs, as if it were happening on TV and not to them directly. And even internal conflicts within the THIRDS group itself were resolved without a hitch and with a lot of oversharing, to the point that I couldnâ€™t help rolling my eyes at how out of character it all seemed.
I do want to see what happens in the next book, since this one ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, but if it continues on the way this book went, I might be dropping this series. And thatâ€™s so disappointing, because sometimes you need popcorn books like these every now and then.