Sarazen's Betrayal by Isabel Wroth
Series: Sarazen Saga #3
Also in this series: Sarazen's Claim, Sarazen's Vengeance, Sarazen's Hunt, Sarazen's Fury
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler » Happy For Now, Continuing Story Arc « Hide Spoiler
Content Warning: View Spoiler » Forced Sterilization, Rape, Eugenics, Forced Fertility Treatments, Forced Breeding, Abuse, Gore, All the Bad Things « Hide Spoiler
Genres: Science Fiction
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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Cassie had come to Saraz with the promise of a new life, a new home, and a mate who would cherish and adore her always. The first two promises have been fulfilled, but as the new pride leaders settle into their rule, the threat to the lives of the human hybrid mates escalates. As the pressure to solve the mystery increases, Cassie's mate does less adoring and less cherishing. Leaving her alone to fend for herself day after day. Leaving her alone to doubt the truth.
Falken's hunt for the identities of the traitors threatening his mate and the lives of all the human hybrids who now call Saraz home, has taken him far longer than anticipated. Sleepless nights spent digging through what feels like insurmountable amounts of data have become nights spent away from Cassie. Leaving her to doubt their bond. To doubt him.
While they grow closer to identifying the traitors, Cassie and Falken grow farther and farther apart. Betrayal rocks the pride and in its wake, the realization that the threat is far closer to home than they realized. As the shock of that betrayal settles, can Cassie and Falken repair what has been broken between them? Or will the traitors take advantage of their fractured bond and destroy the pride?
Warning: This review contains spoilers. Please read the Content Warnings!
Cassie was born on the Starsong, one of 5 ships launched from Earth with what remained of the human race. Because resources aboard the ship are finite, population control was enforced. Only those women who had the highest IQs were allowed to breed, while all the other women were sterilized. Cassie scored so high she was chosen as the one to birth the next generation aboard the ship. Only they didn’t want to wait for her to carry each child to term, so they sedated her and removed her eggs instead, using surrogates to carry the babies to term. In an effort to protect herself from more emotional trauma, she closed herself off from everyone else aboard the ship and spent most of her time alone. When they’re attacked by a vicious alien race, it’s only by chance that Cassie is saved, along with a handful of others.
When they’re rescued by a passing alien ship, and Cassie is told she’s been mated to one of the warriors, she’s less-than-thrilled, for obvious reasons. Only Falken slowly wins her over by treating her with respect and making it known that he cares for her happiness above all else.
Until they arrive on his home planet, when he disappears for work and she rarely sees him. She sees how the others treat their mates and can only conclude Falken is unhappy being with her.
Falken doesn’t realize how his absences are hurting Cassie until he underestimates her intelligence and she asks for a divorce, something those of his race have never heard of before. Realizing his mistake, he’s determined to prove to Cassie that she’s everything to him. Only she’s been hurt too many times, and there may be no forgiveness in her.
I actually liked Cassie the least going into this book, but I was firmly on her side once we realized what had happened to her in the past and how Falken made her feel. She was angry and sarcastic, but those were defense mechanisms and honestly warranted where Falken was concerned.
I was really enjoying their story. Cassie was learning to open up to him, and Falken was learning not to take advantage of her or take her for granted. Because of her past, Cassie’s independence was important to her, and having her choices taken away was a trigger.
Which is why the book completely lost me when Falken spanks Cassie for a dumb decision she made. Not as part of a sexual encounter, but as punishment. As if she were an errant child. The worst part? Aside from some mild embarrassment, Cassie doesn’t really seem to care. And again later, when she’s treated like a child by him and others, she just shrugs it off. It was so out of character and made me so angry, I nearly quit reading there. The only reason I kept going was to find out how a certain part of the overarching story played out.
Up until that point, this was my favorite book of the series. That scene and the one that followed completely ruined the story for me. I’m sad and disappointed it turned out this way. I wanted better for Cassie.
Rating: 2.75 out of 5