Author ~ Lisa Oliver & Thomas J. Oliver
Published ~ 8th June 2015
Genre ~ Paranormal, Dystopian M/M Romance
Book 1 - Shifter's Uprising Series.
Can be read as standalone.
Carlin is an Alpha Wolf Fighter, one of only three in the top spots at the Souterrain - an underground fighting club, run by the Elite to punish shifters who have gone outside of the laws. He's happy enough, only has to fight exhibition matches, has his own apartment space, food and sex on tap - yep, life it good. So when Martin offers him the chance to fight for his freedom, Carlin turns it down. It's no fun being a lone wolf and Carlin is quite happy where he is.
Then Lucas catches his eye. A handsome man, a stunning fighter, moving up through the ranks fast. Lucas might not have the killer attitude that most men at the Souterrain have, but he's got the moves. Carlin has no problems insisting the man is bought to his apartment - sex is never a bad idea. But when he catches Lucas's scent and realizes the man is his fated mate, suddenly getting him to bed is the least of his problems. Lucas wants to be free, and for the first time in a long time, so does Carlin.
Unfortunately there is more to Lucas than meets the eye. Martin certainly has no intention of letting them go, and if he has to have Carlin killed to keep Lucas at the Souterrain, then the man has no problems with that either. Suddenly the deal Carlin makes with Martin goes horribly wrong, and Carlin and Lucas realize that the price for freedom might be Carlin's life, and even then Lucas will not be free.
I read a lot of dark fiction in both mainstream and M/M romance and sometimes I need something completely different. A cleansing, a bit like sorbet between courses and Lisa Oliver fits a niche in my reading world, that always takes me to a happy place. So when I read the blub for Uncaged, the first book in a new series I thought… Whoa… Lisa Oliver writing a dark and gritty tale!
Well, it starts out that way, which I think is probably the influence of Thomas Oliver, but what Lisa Oliver did so well was evolve the storyline, starting to soften the edges, and as always the humour is never far from the surface. That little bit of cheekiness that makes her characters so endearing, and of course she never fails to deliver on what I love from her books… a huge dose of romance.
I loved the whole premise of Uncaged, and I couldn’t put it down. Set in a dystopian world, where shifters are policed by an Elite Guard; enforcers of the laws of an absent ruling family, who have lost touch with those supposedly in their care. With corrupt politics rife and those in power, clearly motivated by that, and their own financial gain. As shifters on the wrong side of the law are used in a barbaric way... cage fighting to the death! All to further enhance the authority and dominance of the Elite… and true shifter law be damned if it gets in the way.
So, yes, it has touches of darkness, and the two main characters are hardened fighters in a dog eat dog environment not of their making. My initial impression of Carlin, was of an Alpha wolf at the top of his game within the Souterrain cage fighting system, happy with his lot because of the privileges his position affords, and he’s not averse to taking compete advantage of that. Lucas on the other hand, lower ranked, is fighting for his life; hating what he has become to survive, and yearns for freedom. He's a feisty character, full of pride and I fell for him straight off.
So with two strong men, I was expecting a bit of a stand off and fisty cuffs, when the ‘I want I get’ Carlin summons the ‘I will not submit to anyone’ Lucas, to his room for a little light relief… haha… who am I kidding, Carlin totally wanted to jump Lucas’s bones and pound him into the mattress, he’s so alpha! Only you know what happens next. This is a shifter story, and the part where I go all soft and mushy, because the whole instant attraction-mates-mine thing just melts my heart. Especially when the bond makes them vulnerable, and we see the tenderness and compassion that comes with their mating, as well as the hot and smouldering mattress pounding. Paranormal romance gives authors complete license to go there and I love that!
Being mated to Lucas, of course, sees Carlin’s priorities change; as does the man. He's so protective and besotted, he was adorable… and ensuring their freedom was his first concern.
The excitement begins to ramp up as the plot unfolds, and we see Carlin and Lucas not only having to deal with the insecurities and uncertainties of the newness of their bond, whilst at the same time trying to fight for their freedom from Souterrain, but also having to deal with the nefarious interventions of Martin, the Alpha of the Elite. A man with a total god complex and his own agenda, who will stop at nothing to ensure Carlin and Lucas never leave.
Lisa Oliver has such an easy, compelling style of writing, where time just seems to stand still whilst reading and she has me totally hooked on this series. We see a part of this world developed and the book draws to a satisfactory conclusion, but there is more to come and a whole world to discover, with characters that hold so much promise. I seriously can’t wait for the next one.