TeriLyn's thoughts: **Dissident generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**
Cecilia London blew me away! I'm so happy to have started The Bellator Saga as it's a series I'm so excited about following. This dystopian political thriller and romance strays from my "normal" reading preferences and surprised me in the best possible way. I was nervous because I'm not a political person, truthfully I'm rather apathetic about politics. But this author made them kind of fun. She presented intellectual conversations about liberals and conservatives, proving points for both sides that were rather fascinating assimilated into a romance for the masses.
Cecilia London possesses a great gift of writing as her story flows seamlessly, causes intrigue/suspense and demonstrates a well-rounded, thoughtful, political plot all the while providing a beautiful love story. She breaks a mold with this story and told me a story I wouldn't normally jump to read. I love that the most about this book. It's out of my usual realm and just completely wowed me expanding my reading horizons.
Dissident starts this saga by taking us to the present in the world of Caroline Gerard and her husband John (Jack) McIntyre. From the very first sentence in the prologue, London hooks you. I felt a connection to these characters in their time of struggle at the very start. My interest peaked immediately in their relationship and their current situation. The prologue sets up the driving force of the story in the present where, through two doctors, we're left to navigate the uncharted waters of this future America where these characters are far from safe. The author did a fantastic job of keeping up the suspense in the story. By giving us enough about the what's happening in the world, this author makes us feel the imminent danger to the point we are truly concerned for these characters with whom she makes us fall in love with yet we're in the dark about the why this danger found them and totally oblivious as to how they'll survive.
In a brilliant twist to her storytelling, through a series of seamless transitions in the form of flashbacks we travel to five years earlier in order to follow Jack and Caroline from the very beginning of their relationship. Second chance for her, first time for him, plus great friends to lovers - these two are a couple with whom I've become totally invested. They make it easy with their intellectual banter, honest conversations, and heated passion. Jack McIntyre is a man who's easy to fall for - to the point of obsession quite honestly. There's something about where they are in their lives, who he was and is, the good Caroline sees in him and the joy he gives back to her life that's just impossible to not love.
It's no secret I'm a fan of serials. I love a good cliffhanger, I love the prospect of falling for characters I can follow through a series of books to get in depth look into this world and their lives. Cecilia London provided a cliffhanger unlike any other I've read. It's mild in the present world, not overly shocking but just enough that we want so much more. We're given facts in the present that help with the cliffhanger of the past.
I'm beyond grateful this author provided me the opportunity to start her series. If you like serials with a different flare to them - some thriller, some politics, a lot of romance - Dissident is definitely the book to read to get you hooked on a new series.