REVIEW //\\ The Messenger Chronicles

Happy April the first, though I don’t think many of us are particularly in the mood for April Fool’s Day. I’m still beta and arc reading at the moment so have dug through my head for a book or series that totally captured my heart, to share with you. The Messenger Chronicles, by Pippa DaCosta, is a slow burn, space fantasy reverse harem series of 5 amazing books.


The story kicks off with Shoot The Messenger, where we meet Kesh, a simple messenger, Marshall Kellee, Sota, an AI ball of fun, and also Eledan, the Dreamweaver. And when the dreamweaver is involved can anyone trust what is real or know what is imagined?



SHOOT THE MESSENGER




“Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive”


Pippa DaCosta has woven together sci-fi and fantasy to build the richly complex world in which Kesh, Kellee and Talon reside. As the story builds we gradually learn more and more about Kesh, Kelly, the fae and tek. I preferred this to an ‘information dump’ as it added to the twisty plot, suspense and sense of unease.


The book is written first person and entirely from Kesh’s point of view. Kesh is just a simple messenger, caught up in someone else’s battle, or is she? Oh my word, this is an onion of a book, made of layer upon layer of amazing story, action, adventure and mind-blowing plot twists. The blurb really doesn’t do the book justice BUT that’s to ensure the element of surprise. And there are surprises galore in this book.


It’s one of those stories that is impossible to properly review without giving away spoilers, and I really want to avoid them so that you get the full impact of the book, like I did. If you have read other books by this author then you will know some of what to expect, but this far surpasses any of her work to date. It takes all the best elements of her previous stories, polishes them up, adds extra glitter to them and twists them into something else altogether. If you haven’t read her books (a) why not?  you’re missing some amazing stories and (b) this is really well written, drags you into the story and doesn’t let you go, leaves your head reeling in the best of ways and will have you begging and howling for Book 2 so that you can continue the story.


A standing ovation to the author for this awe-inspiring, mind-twisting, a-m-a-z-i-n-g read. I need to go and lie in a darkened corner to mull over this book and recover from the book hangover I now have.







“Lies aren’t her only weapons against the fae…”

In the Halow system, one of Earth’s three sister star systems, tek and magic—humans and the fae—are at war.

Kesh Lasota is a ghost in the machine. Invisible to tek, she’s hired by the criminal underworld to carry illegal messages through the Halow system. But when one of those messages kills its recipient, Kesh finds herself on the run with a bounty on her head and a quick-witted marshal on her tail.

Proving her innocence should be straightforward—until a warfae steals the evidence she needs. The fae haven’t been seen in Halow in over a thousand years. And this one—a brutally efficient killer able to wield tek—should not exist. But neither should Kesh.

As Kesh’s carefully crafted lie of a life crumbles around her, she knows remaining invisible is no longer an option. To hunt the fae, to stop him from destroying a thousand-year-long fragile peace, she must resurrect the horrors of her past.

Kesh Lasota was a ghost. Now she’s back, and there’s only one thing she knows for certain. Nobody shoots the messenger and gets away with it.

A new space fantasy series where the guys are hot, the perils are many, and one rebel messenger holds the key to the survival of the human race.


Please note this series contains alternative relationship dynamics 




GAME OF LIES





Enter this world at your own risk, for once in you will not want to leave.


Pippa DaCosta has an extraordinary skill for building strange and wondrous new worlds. Add to that her unfailing ability to imbue such life into her characters that they become your friends, and you have a truly magnificent story. The twists and turns of Shoot the Messenger had me spellbound but I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Game of Lies would build upon that foundation and journey me to places I never even suspected could exist. And oh what a fantastical journey it is.



You really need to have read Book 1 of the Messenger Chronicles to fully understand and appreciate this part of the story. The book picks up virtually where Shoot the Messenger finished, with Kesh, Kellee and Talon aiding an escape attempt by the humans who had survived the Fae massacre of Halow. Of course where there’s Fae, there’s usually Kesh, and where she goes trouble follows.


I can’t put into words how much I loved this book. I had some reading commitments but kept finding myself sneaking back to this so that I could read more of it. It’s truly addictive, with plot twists that put a high speed roller coaster to shame. I squealed with glee at having correctly suspected the return of one character, normally being able to guess makes the book feel predictable but the panache and plot pirouettes that the author uses just added another layer of depth and intrigue to the story. The move this character took near the end of the book broke my heart just as much as it did Kesh’s, though I don’t doubt that there are reasons and solutions to this set of events.


This is one of those books where it’s difficult to say anything without giving away spoilers, but I can tell you how amazing the interactions between Kesh and Talon are and how moody and intense
are the scenes between Kesh and Kellee. Oh and Talon in that bath, I admire Kesh’s self control, I don’t think I would have resisted the temptations on offer. I love how as one secret is revealed another mystery blows in, as one problem is solved another emerges to torment Kesh. I loved how Kesh started to believe in herself and her emerging ability to trust others. I’m sure there will be plenty more agony and confusion for Kesh before the truth emerges and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.


Despite being a reverse harem the story has a minimal amount of sexual content, I can’t say I noticed any bad language either. That said it still felt pretty steamy at times and is definitely more ‘lust inducing’ than other work by this author, though I’ve always had a soft spot for Caleb. I recommend this to anyone who wants a really spell-binding story to read and doesn’t mind it being part of a series. 







The Messenger rocked your world, and now she’s back. But have her lies finally caught up with her?

Trust doesn’t come easy for Kesh Lasota. She survived life as a slave, survived the Dreamweaver’s touch, but surviving Marshal Kellee and the mysterious Talen is a whole other game, one she’s not sure she’s ready for.

When the three are captured by a bloodthirsty fae general sweeping through the last of Halow’s human colonies, the only weapons they have left are lies. And so Kesh must pretend to be the gladiator they all expect, while Kellee is forced to fight against her, and Talen is… Well, just who is Talen when he can command soldiers with a glance and move among the fae elite as though he belongs?

Trust doesn’t come easy for Kesh Lasota, neither does love. She must survive both, or everything she’s fought for will be lost forever, including her men.



THE NIGHTSHADE’S TOUCH





Just as things start to look up, just as Kesh and Kellee and Talen and Arran are building bridges you do that to me?!!!


GAH! Those cliff-hangers (because only Pippa DaCosta would be so cruel as to have more than one!) that you left us with. You give with one hand and then not only take with the other but hit us over the head too! The journey Kesh is taking us on is not a simple nor easy one, but it is one that is so very worth the time and effort. I read this book both wanting to know all it held in store for me, and yet not ever wanting to get to the end either.



He had probably been looking for an opportunity to hit Kellee for centuries.
Most people who knew Kellee wanted to punch him.


Oh the secrets we learn, the lies that are told, the plans that are made and remade, the trust that is given or broken. This book has layer upon layer of story that is slowly being peeled away to reveal secrets and truths you would never even have guessed at. The heat level was ramped up, as was the intrigue, mystery and peril.


Oh and Sota – he was just so funny and sarcastic!



“Duly noted. Now can we focus on the Faerie map and not Arran’s buns?”
“Is this a hypothetical question?” Sota asked.
“No!” I laughed.



This isn’t a stand alone book, it can only be understood after reading both previous books. Though be warned this series is massively addictive and so full of mind-f**ks that it has a deliciously dark edge to it too. Whilst this is a reverse-harem book, it most certainly isn’t full of sex and erotica. There are several steamy encounters but they are an organic part of the plot, enhancing the story rather than being the story.


I watched Kellee and Arran spar for strictly professional reasons.



This author’s writing continues to be amazing (and evilly twisted too), her tale held my attention from the very start to the end. You can’t read this half-heartedly, there is far to much happening and far too many Easter Eggs to find, for that. If you haven’t started the series yet, then go do it. This is my top fantasy/sci-fi read of the year.


“How come I’m here and not your entourage of Buns, Dark, and Icy?”
“Buns, Dark and Icy?” I shook my head at her wicked grin. “Never mind, I don’t want to know”…







Be careful which star you wish upon…


The unseelie–banished by Oberon long ago–are stirring awake, and there’s one name on their dark lips: Nightshade.

Kesh is beginning to settle into her role as Halow’s messenger, saving people from the fae with the help of Kellee, Talen, Arran and Sota, but if she has any hope of making her wrongs right, she must trust those around her. Without them, there is no messenger. Friends, lovers, more. But one has a secret. A secret so dark it threatens to change everything Kesh believes in. A secret that could change the fate of Faerie, Halow, and all of humanity.

When the fae abandoned the stars long-ago, they left behind more than fairytales.

They left behind their monsters.


The fae-in-space “mind-blowing” bestselling series continues in The Nightshade’s Touch, Messenger Chronicles #3



PRINCE OF DREAMS





Oh what an ever increasingly tangled web…… but who are the ones trapped in its sticky strands and who is the spider waiting to pounce on it’s captured prey?


Kesh, Kellee, Talen, Sota, Hulia, Arran, Sirius and Eledan return in this penultimate adventure of the Messenger Chronicles. Kesh, Arron and Sirius are on Faerie, playing a game of truth, dare or lie with both Oberon, King of all Faerie, and Eledan, the Prince of Dreams. Heartbreaking promises are made, truths are twisted and hearts are made and broken.


Kesh continues her battle to free all those oppressed by Oberon and the Fae, but without Talen, Kellee and Sota, will she have the strength to resist the temptation Faerie will weave? This is fast paced, action packed, full of intrigue, lies, plots, plans, highs and some shocking lows. Oh Ms Dacosta you are a cruel author who loves to toy with your readers emotions. Not only did she do that but she eviscerated them too.


The world building is phenomenal, the planning and plotting of both the characters AND the author will leave you spellbound. I wish I could say this was a one sit reading, but with its length of well over 6 hours, and the demands of life, I couldn’t manage it in one go. That said, it most certainly held me hostage, living in my mind in between those times where I could immerse myself in this magnificent creation.


I loved getting more of Kellee’s point of view, as well as seeing that the old adage of absence and the heart was true. Though there is yet more skulduggery by Ms D when she cruelly snatches away that which he has so recently only grasped ahold of.


Added into the mix we have some very lustful and steamy scenes that totally added to the emotional impact of this tale. By the end of this I was left feeling as though the Wild Hunt had ridden roughshod over me. I’m almost scared to read the culmination of this tale, not to mention sad that the story will be coming to a hopefully (though you never know with an author who obviously has a very devious and mean streak) happy and blissful conclusion.


But as Kesh has, to her great sorrow, learnt, nothing comes that easily.







“Oh what a tangled web we weave…”


Kesh fled Faerie as a queen killer. Now she returns as the Faerie King’s secret obsession. But on Faerie, nothing is as it seems, not even Kesh herself.

With days to stop Arran’s execution and the stoic guardian, Sirius, as her constant shadow, Kesh must weave her lies deep within Faerie’s courts where magic and whispers combine and conspire. Soon, Kesh learns there is more at stake than Arran’s life. Faerie is dying. Oberon’s reign is crumbling. The time to strike against the fae is now. But with Talen and Kellee a thousand light-years away, Kesh knows she cannot succeed alone…

Beneath the courtly politics, the glittering facades, and the King’s fragile hold on his people, the Dreamweaver is locked in eternal slumber, dreaming of the day his Queen of Hearts will set him free… because he knows, Kesh has no other choice.

Kesh survived the Dreamweaver once before. Now all she has to do is control him.

But Faerie’s Dreamweaver has other ideas for the peoples’ Messenger. He knows who, and what, Kesh really is and he has every intention of using her to make all his dreams come true.

He takes your mind, makes it his, takes your soul, makes you cruel.
Dare you answer the Dreamweaver’s call?
 



HER DARK LEGION





Her Dark Legion is the final book in the series, and it just about destroyed me. You have been warned!


Discovery is worthless without the journey.


This book took me quite a long time to complete, it wasn’t because I wasn’t loving every heartbreaking and soul crushing moment of it. It wasn’t because it didn’t have me riveted by it’s amazing plot, outstanding world building and unparalleled characters. It was quite simply that I wasn’t ready, and indeed am still not ready to let go of this world and say goodbye to Kesh, Sota, Kellee, Talon, Sirius and even Eledan. The conclusion to what has been an epic tale was full of action, adventure, tragedy, manipulation and surprises.



I wanted to cry in her {Hulia’s} arms, but I somehow pushed the swell of emotion down. 

KESH, Her Dark Legion


Well Kesh, at that point you did better than me because I spent a good half of this book either finding a quiet corner to sob in or with tears streaming down my face. The emotion from each and every main character tore me apart. Again. And again. And again. I have tears welling in my eyes even now, and feel a strange mixture of both joy and sadness.


I wanted to hear his voice, one last time. I wanted to feel his touch on my face and his kiss on my lips, and I never would.


With lines like that how HOW am I meant to remain an in-charge capable adult woman? Impossible! Every single time it left me a snivelling mess. This book was everything I wanted and more. So much more. A whole universe full of stars could not shine as brightly as this story, nor would be able to bear adequate witness to do this book justice.


We could make it happen, together, just as he’d always believed. The Messenger really had made a difference.


And those guys of Kesh’s, wow did they pull out all the stops in this concluding book. There was absolutely no doubt about the depth of their feelings for her. Each of them, in their own way, worships the very ground she walks on, loves her to the stars and back and would do anything within their power for her.


“It’s all right.” His knuckles brushed my cheek, then his fingers stroked my hair, setting it right, like he needed everything to be in it’s place.
Nothing was 
all right. I was so tired of the pain, the endless battle.
His lips brushed my forehead. “He took what he thought was most precious to me…” Talen’s warm fingers captured my chin, his gaze fierce. “He was wrong.”


“Where’s your star, Kellee?”
“Right here, in my arms.”
The words broke me open, exposing everything I was and had been.


“Will you love me?” I whispered. “Not the names or the myths and legends, just me? Just Kesh?”
His dark lashes shuttered his eyes, and for a terrible second, I thought his fear had a hold of him again. Then he opened his eyes, and the man was there, his beautiful gaze soft once more.
“Always.”


I mean, talk about *swoon*. But then we had the reminders that all these men were immortal whilst Kesh, with a piece of the Pole Star inside her, was very much mortal. A fact that came very close to breaking those men on more than one occasion.


I needed that for us all, needed a moment with each of them before the moments were all gone.


These impossible males would not be mine forever, but while I had them captured in my mortal hands, I’d love them wholly and completely. No matter what happened after, we would have lived and loved. It would be enough. It had to be enough.


Thankfully there were some wonderful moments of banter and humour to lift the spirits. These usually involved Sota and Kellee, though it wasn’t exclusively their gig. And they just served to make the poignant moments even more touching.


“Hulia has a tail,” I added.
He tripped and caught himself.
“Really?”
“I haven’t seen it, but she’s intimated a few times.”
His eyes widened. “I need to see it. Do you think she can open jars with it?”
I laughed.
His expression switched toward curiosity, then he twisted to catch sight of his own ass, circling on the spot. “Do you think I could get one?”
“Aren’t you content with ten fingers?”


“If that stick were any farther up his ass, he’d be scaring crows,” Sota muttered, sauntering past us.


“You’re going to need a bodyguard who can kick fae and human ass with style and without prejudice.”
“That role’s taken, Sparky.” Kellee stretched his claws.
“With 
style, vakaru. You look like someone’s rabid hound.”


Kellee rolled his eyes. “I liked Sota better when he was a murder ball.”


His gun ports smoked. His tek eye glowed, but his mouth wore a modest smile.
“He was about to launch into a villainous monologue and ain’t nobody got time for that.”


Now whilst I’ve fallen in love with all the main characters, even going so far as to have a soft spot for the much misunderstood (IMO) Eledan, my favourite has always been Marshall Kellee. It’s just something about his wild west lawman ways and his dark good looks.


“Oh really?” he drawled in that smooth voice he liked to unleash on unsuspecting females.


Yep, that’s the guy I’m talking about. The one who only needs to quirk an eyebrow to have the panties of all females in a 20 mile radius melting. Not just the females either! We really got to see all the true depths and many facets of Kellee in Her Dark Legion.


For the first time since I’d met him, his expression was open and raw, letting me see everything on his face.
Marshall Kellee was afraid.
For Me.


The weight behind the blow was enough to topple him. His head struck the banister on the way down, knocking him out cold. Now we had ourselves cargo that didn’t argue.
“That was unnecessary,” Talen remarked.
“Probably,” I cracked my knuckles. “But it felt real good.”


Throughout all the trials and tribulations, intrigue, schemes and manipulations, Kesh continued to battle her way towards the final showdown. Weighed down with the expectations of Fairie herself, the hopes of the saru, the fears of her males, Kesh fought with everything she had. Gave everything she had, prepared to sacrifice everything for those she loved.


Outside, rain pattered on leaves, stirring up the garden’s sweet scent and Talen’s magic. He crushed me close and kissed me like he could save me. If love could save lives, ours would. Just not my life.


I climbed the steps onto the deck and planted myself between Kellee’s simmering presence and Talen’s icy stillness. We watched the fleet and the stars behind, and I wished I had more time with them, just to stand and watch and be in the moment.


Wrapping him in my arms, I held him close and listened to the beat of his immortal fae-heart, to the rhythm of his breathing, committing his soft hardness to memory. Maybe he’d listen to my heart, and hear my breathing, and he’d remember me. Perhaps, in his memories, I could live forever.


I’ve used far too many quotes and I just don’t care. I could have chosen a hundred more. There are just so many lines that punched me in the gut and tore my insides apart. These are ones that I just couldn’t leave out.


I told myself I wouldn’t cry.
And I’d failed within seconds.
This was what he’d wanted. He’d chosen this. I would respect that. I didn’t own him. I didn’t own any of them. They’d always been free to follow me, but Talen …. I’d loved his honest, gentle heart and kind words.
He’d encouraged me when I was low. He’d loved me when I thought I wasn’t worthy. He’d never hurt me and never would. Talen was a better person than any of us.


..his destiny, one I wasn’t part of , called to him. He turned away, and with every step, my heart stuttered. I wanted to call him back. When he paused, I grasped at the idea that he wouldn’t leave, as wrong as it was. He turned, tarnished gold star in hand. He looked at that star, emotion passing over his face, and then he stepped up and pinned it to my coat. Meeting my gaze, he nodded once, assured he’d done the right thing, and then he left.


The next words she muttered almost too softly to hear. “I can’t lose him as well.”
After she’d left, Sirius and Sota lingered with me in the quiet, their thoughts likely along the same lines as mine. There wasn’t enough time left to love her how we wanted.


And to finish, a quote that sums up the current state of my heart.


I almost couldn’t speak, and when I did, the words were just a whisper.
“It felt like goodbye.”







“I’ve come too far to surrender now…”

Eledan’s nightmare has been unleashed upon the worlds and with Oberon gone, only the messenger crew stand in its way.

Kellee, Talen, Sirius, Sota, and Kesh. Together, they are stronger, but there are forces on Faerie who do not want the worlds saved, forces that would see the Messenger and her crew torn apart.

Queen to Faerie’s new king, Messenger and more to the saru, lover to some and a weapon to others, but who is Kesh Lasota really? A guiding light or an unwitting puppet?

Answers are coming.

The time for lies has passed.

And Kesh will soon learn some battles can’t be won alone.

The mind-blowing Messenger Chronicles comes to its explosive conclusion in Her Dark Legion.



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