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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Badland Warriors: Spartans by Marteeka Karland

Badland Warriors: Spartans by Marteeka Karland
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (42 pgs)
Other: M/M/M/F, Anal Sex, M/M, M/M/M, menage
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Buttercup

Lysander, Calix, and Thanos are warriors currently patrolling inside the Badlands. Unlike most Warriors, they are not podmates -- at least, Thanos is not. The two older men took him in when his two podmates were killed. The bond among the three of them has grown steadily, but Thanos always holds himself back. He does not share his body freely with the other two men unless the need is so great he can't resist.

Artemis has been watching the trio for some time. She knows Thanos has a horrible secret about the death of his podmates, but he's a good man nonetheless. She's also intrigued that these men are truly Spartan warriors, unlike so many second generation Warriors created by the WCGA. That aside, she's drawn to them and knows they are her true mates.

She just hopes she can break through Thanos's grief and guilt before he does something stupid. Like letting himself get killed.

For a warrior, sometimes the fiercest battles can rage within. Trust, once lost, is slow to be replaced, whether that trust lies within or in someone else. After facing the ultimate betrayal Thanos needs to learn if he can trust not only his new shield mates, but also himself.

Thanos might be a take charge, kick butt, spartan warrior, but he comes with some serious baggage. Of course after finding out what the WCGA had done to him, it's a wonder he's coping as well as he is. There are subtle hints, clues dropped along they way that give a vague inkling of what happened to Thanos, but the truth is far worse than anything that I had guessed. The insidiousness of the WCGA is unparalleled, their unscrupulous actions seem to be the stuff of conspiracy and legends. Rather than detracting from the story the implausibility of it all actually lends an air of truth to the entire situation, giving the reader a strong desire to grab a pitchfork, cry "anarchy," and topple the government. Well perhaps anarchy is too strong a word, but there is a definite desire to take a page out of the founding fathers book and create a new government that protects its people rather than exploit them.

Thanos' shield mates Lysander and Calix know Thanos is keeping something from them. What they don't know is how deeply Thanos' secret affects them all. It is only after they find Artemis that the truth comes out. Artemis is awesome, she's a warrior and a darn good one; she has to be to take on three spartans as her mates. But more than that she is the only one who can bridge the gap between Thanos, Lysander, and Calix. For as fierce a warrior as Artemis is she is also a woman, and the only one who can offer the emotional support Thanos needs to overcome his past and put his trust into Lysander and Calix and their future together. She is the perfect foil for each of the warriors, patient and loving with Thanos, cheeky and impish with Calix, and fierce and determined with Lysander. Although Artemis would have made a good made for any one of the warriors, it is only when they are all together that they are truly complete.

Of course there are many warriors in the Badlands including those sneaky little ninjas. I love those guys even if I'm never quite sure what they are up to and how much of the truth they know. They are fun, even if their concept of a woman's place is way off, but it will be greatly amusing to see them taken down a peg or two when they meet their mate.

In the battle for love, losing is not an option. Spartans are known as the fiercest of all warriors, but they never fight more fiercely than when protecting the ones they love, even if it is from themselves. Badland Warriors: Spartans takes you deep into the heart of the badlands and the warriors that fight there, unraveling some of the mystery only to find that there are that many more questions left unanswered.

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