Totally nails dystopian fiction…
Savage Lands Book 1, Stacey Marie Brown’s new spinoff series from her highly popular Darkness Series and Lightness Saga, is the epitome of dystopian fiction and sizzling hot enemies’ attraction. Set in Budapest after the catastrophic collapse of the veil between the human and Fae realms, Savage Lands is a fascinating and mesmerizing journey into a world defined by its gaping class divides where the human government, controlled by General Markos, and the high Fae both traffic in hate and violence as a means of manipulating their populations and preserving a precarious truce between both sides. Brexley Kovacs, born on the day the veil came down and orphaned as a child, was taken in by General Markos out of respect for her father, one of Markos’s favored generals. Raised along side their only son, Caden, Brexley has been trained from a young age as a HDF (Human Defense Forces) soldier and groomed as a “daughter”. Her need for adrenaline drives her, with Caden in tow, to take on risky endeavors, like stealing from train shipments in the remilitarized zone.
At 19, Brexley is concerned that her life is going to change, but is totally blindsided when Markos publicly announces her engagement to the sadistic son of the Romanian ruler to solidify their alliance. When she hears him privately discussing elicit train shipments between the Hungarians and Romanians through the Savage Lands, she decides to jump the train to find out what she is getting into. Instead, she ends up jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, the infamous Halalhaz, “The House of Death”, prison, home to the most notorious human and Fae criminals. Her only chance at survival is to draw as little attention as possible by posing as “Laura”. But, it’s as if she is a magnet for danger and destruction, especially when the infamous Warwick Farkas, the brutal and impossible to kill legend, begins noticing her.
The building tension between Brexley and Warwick are enhanced by the degenerative sexuality pervasive in the prison. Stacey definitely writes for a mature audience and does not hold back from highly explicit content. She is proficient at creating chemistry that melts the pages with its torrid heat, but also fits perfectly with both the story and the characters. The developing attraction between Brexley and Warwick is palpable and entices you with each turn of the page. As with her other series, the outcome of this relationship is not readily apparent by the end of book 1, leaving you with a different kind of cliffhanger.
Stacey is a proven dystopian writer, as attested by her Darkness Series and Lightness Saga. Savage Lands is set in the same world as these two series but is effectively a standalone of the same caliber. Stacey has a crafted ability to weave pain and violence through her stories, not in a way that feels gratuitous, but that effectively paints each scene in the grey hues of a dysfunctional society where only the strong, physically or mentally, can survive. There are very few moments where you don’t feel the tension radiating from the pages as Brexley’s life balances on a razor thin line. Savage Lands Book 1 is an adrenalin rush in its own right and looks to be the start of another captivating series.