Maybe you have heard me say this before, but just in case you haven’t, I am going to say it again: If you haven’t been reading the Beyond series by Kit Rocha, I don’t know what you are doing with your life. In fact, you need to catch up because this series is just about to come to an end! There is just one book left before we close the door on some of my favorite characters.
For the uninitiated, the Beyond series focuses on the O’Kane crew, a gang of bootleggers led by the charismatic Dallas O’Kane who is considered the king of Sector Four. In this dystopian landscape there are several sectors full of hard living people; the sectors surround the city Eden, full of the rich, elite, and politicians. Eden is full of repressive rules, but plenty of the rich people who live there use the talents of those in the sectors to supply their vices. Each book focuses on the HEA (Happily Ever After) of a particular relationship, but the overall arc of the Beyond series focuses on freedom, revolution, loyalty, and family (blood and chosen.) This series has everything: action, adventure, seriously sexy times, and plenty of intrigue. There are several reasons to read the Beyond books, but I narrowed it down to five:
1. Female Empowerment
Don’t be fooled by the virgin-meets-a-bad-boy trope of Beyond Shame, the first book in the series. When Noelle is cast out of Eden by her councilman father for trying to expand her sexual knowledge, she is exiled to the Sectors and luckily is found by Jasper, Dallas O’Kane’s right hand man. Through Noelle the reader is introduced to Dallas, Lex (the then unofficial queen of Sector Four) and the rest of the O’Kane family. We also find out what it means to be an O’Kane; for women it means you hold the cards and are in charge of your own sexuality and for the men it means you earn your keep and risk the wrath of Dallas and Lex if you mistreat a woman. Noelle’s journey of self discovery is the perfect entree for the reader into life in Sector Four, especially when we find out that other sectors do not value women in an way, shape, or form. Dallas understands the power of women; he also comes to understand through his complicated relationship with Lex that respect is paramount to every woman. If he screws up, Lex is the only person that Dallas answers to, and he doesn’t like to piss off his queen. Dallas is an alpha patriarchal hero who can be an alpha-hole to those outside his family but to those he shelters and those that carry O’Kane ink he is a father, brother, protector, and occasional lover.
2. Sexual Autonomy
Most of the relationships in Sector Four are sexually fluid; Noelle and Jasper often shared their bed with Dallas and Lex. The bootlegging O’Kane watering hole called The Broken Circle entertains often with live burlesque dancing not to mention the O’Kane sponsored cage fight nights and after-party orgies that are the stuff of legend throughout the sectors. HEAs don’t always belong to a single man and a single woman; Beyond Jealousy features a beautiful romance between a trio comprised of two men and a woman, and Beyond Ruin brings together two same sex couples to form the ultimate foursome HEA. Everyone doesn’t like to share their partner, and that’s okay too. For O’Kane’s who are in committed relationships (whether they invite other friends to play or not) they show their status by getting ink on their necks. Kit Rocha makes sure the reader understands how much free will is important to the O’Kanes, often by showing how hard it is for some people to accept their own freedom. Accepting yourself and your needs is the first step in true autonomy.
3. Multicultural Characters
True to the world around us, the world reflected in the Beyond series is extremely diverse; as a wo
man of color that loves to read, it is so wonderful to see a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and races represented through the characters and their customs. There are no stereotypes here, just badass warriors, artisans, supersoldiers, courtesans, politicians, and bootleggers who do what they must to survive....and find a hell of a way to unwind when time permits!
4. Action-Packed Dystopian Landscape
Solar storms came and destroyed most of society decades earlier and out of the rubble was Eden, the last city in the country. Eden is surrounded by slums and farms known as the sectors, and each sector specializes in everything from artisanal goods to woodworking and pleasure houses to farming. Eden’s corrupt and oppressive political system affects everyone in the sectors, and with their advanced technology and huge army, the sectors fall in line as much as they have to...but necessity is the mother of invention and sector leaders like Dallas O’Kane make sure to ride the very fine line of illegal and indispensable to Eden. However, relations between the sectors and Eden are deteriorating in the worst way and the overall arc of the Beyond series puts the O’Kane’s in the unenviable position of fighting not only for their lives but for their way of life. It looks like war might be coming, and with war always come loss.
5. Well-Written World Building
I have read every novel and almost every novella in the Beyond series, and typically read them so fast that I had to reread them to digest everything. Sure, there is a lot of action and adventure. Sure, there are some seriously sexy times full of dominance, submission, voyeurism and no holds barred passion. And, sure, there is plenty of espionage and mystery to keep you on your toes. The best thing about the Beyond series? It’s just damn good. Kit Rocha (writing besties Donna Herren and Bree Bridges) just write damn fine books with perfect pacing, heart pounding conflict, and panty soaking sexy times. It’s easy to imagine yourself as one of the confident and sexy O’Kane women whether you prefer leather or lace; the lush lands of the farms in Sector Six are completely different than the slum neighborhoods of Sector Four; as the reader you believe this world, and the motives of the people within it make sense. You want to be part of this world, which is saying something since electricity is a luxury. Each novel gives you the chance to get to know characters individually but the glimpses at the world as a whole are exciting.
Beyond Surrender is the last book in this series and while I’m sad I won’t be following the antics of my favorite bootleggers in Sector Four anymore, I am happy to report that the silver lining is Gideon’s Riders, a spinoff series featuring the polygamous and religious followers of Gideon Rios in Sector One. However, dont just take my word on how amazing this series on—Beyond Shame is free right now! Go download it for yourself and report back to me.
Learn more about or order a copy of the books in Kit Rocha's Beyond Series:
|Beyond Shame (Book 1)|
|Beyond Control (Book 2)|
|Beyond Pain (Book 3)|
|Beyond Jealousy (Book 4)|
|Beyond Addiction (Book 5)|
|Beyond Innocence (Book 6)|
|Beyond Ruin (Book 7)|
|Beyond Ecstasy (Book 8)|
H&H Editor Picks:
Nicole Leapheart's alter ego is Miss Boxy Frown, and she posts book reviews and TV recaps at missboxyfrown.blogspot.com. She reads and watches everything from romance to sci-fi, but enjoys it even more if some smut is involved. And tattoos.