Gambit by C.L. Denault [eARC]

Title: Gambit
Series: The Prodigy Chronicles, #1
Author: C.L Denault
Published Date: March 31, 2015

In Earth’s battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she’s thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she’s never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.

Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

I received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is absolutely one of my favorite reads for this month. It might be a year since the book has been released but the incredible story of this book really paid off. I JUST FREAKINGLY LOVE IT!

The Characters. This book is filled with compelling characters. Willow Kent, she is definitely my best heroine for this month. Strong-willed, self-reliant and a bad ass short tempered lady. And I really admire how Denault was able to portray an admirable and brave heart out of Willow. She is stubborn but not in an annoying way, infact I actually loved her for it. Which makes it more interesting is how could a young lady could have a tenacious yet pliable personality. It was kinda' refreshing how the heroine can balance this kind of characteristics.

Reece. The heroine's love interest, which I never expected. The first chapters might discourage you of him being the love interest of Willow. He's bossy, cruel, over bearing, and sometimes doesn't think twice to kill anyone who gets in his way. He's action towards Willow in first chapters are crude, I actually kind of hated him.

He didn’t give me the chance—he wrapped his fingers around my wrist and used it to extract the blade from his body. Blood spurted from the wound, covering us both, but it didn’t lessen his strength. Eyes glowing, he held my wrist in a vice-like grip, his forearm pressed against my throat.

But as the story advances, I actually started to understand his action in regards with Willow. I don't know when it started but, I'm starting to have some butterflies in my stomach everytime they are having their arguments:

     “Have you any idea what you’ve done to my family? To this village? I can’t stand you! In fact, I hate you!”
Snatching a pillow from the bed, I threw it at him, not caring that it was a ridiculous excuse for a weapon. With a curse, he dodged the pillow.
      “Ogre! Murderer!” As I reached for another pillow, his hand moved toward his belt. “What, you’re going to shoot me? Go right ahead!” I launched the fluffy missile at him and grabbed another.
      “Calm down,” he ordered, knocking the pillows aside with his arm. He fished around in his pouch. “This isn’t going to help you.”
      “You think you’re so smart!” I screamed, driven by the pressure in my belly. “So much better than the rest of us! Well, I don’t care one bit how important you are to the Core. When I get that dagger back, it’s going straight into your villainous heart!”

See? Willow definitely hate him. But I can't stop the feeling that I'm starting get a good vibes out of what was happening in the story:

“Am I bathing with restraints on?” I asked.
“I can’t get these boots off with my ankles bound.”
To my surprise, Reece removed the glowing circles from my ankles. Their pale blue light, reminiscent of his eyes, faded as he snapped them apart. I breathed a sigh of relief when they disappeared into his pouch.
“Do I get my hands free?”
“Absolutely not. Essly can help you bathe.”
“I don’t want help. I’d rather do it on my own.”
“What you want is not my concern.”
His lack of sympathy stirred my anger, and the spoon Garron had used to feed me jittered inside the soup bowl. Reece noted it with interest.
“I suggest you keep calm, or I’ll bathe you myself.” My cheeks bloomed with heat.
“Over my dead body!”
“Dead body?” His eyebrows went up. “Please. Don’t tempt me.”

“Och!” My grip on the stave tightened.
 “Maybe we should find out.” Reece gave me a maddening smile.
“You’ll lose.”
“Try me.”
“What’s wrong with you two?” Kane shook his head furiously. “I’m not at all in favor of this, Commander. You’re making a mistake.”
Reece smirked.
“I’ll try not to humiliate her too much, Hill.”
 “That does it,”
I hissed, rebellion stirring in my gut. More than anything, I wanted to wipe that cocky grin off his face.
“You asked for it, Reece.”

And for whatever reason this happened that totally won me over:

“Stop.” His arm pinched off my air supply. 
"Let me help you!” 
“Back it off,” he said, his voice raspy, but firm. “Palms together. I mean it.” 
Twice more he took hits, each time managing to stay on his feet. I screamed for Aspen’s help, heard him curse and fire at something, and the shooting stopped. Reece somehow kept the barrier up, shielding me. But the damage was taking its toll. An alarming groan slipped past his lips. 
“Reece, hang on, please.”
I grasped handfuls of his shirt and dug my toes into the ground, trying to balance us. He was slipping away. His eyes lost their focus, and his body shuddered and swayed. I threw my weight into him hard, knowing he’d crush me if we fell. He didn’t get the chance. A thundering roar filled the air, followed by a powerful blast of energy. Aspen slammed into the commander’s back, and the three of us went flying. I felt myself hit the ground with bone-breaking force.

His character developed towards the end of the book. He might have an absurd attitude towards Willow yet I admire how Denault crafted his development as a character. He might not be a good person nor a totally bad guy. But as the story advances, Reece become more  affectionate and sweet which leaves him as one of the most alluring, frustrating, romantic and entirely mesmerizing Alpha male I've ever read. YES. Some might not like the dominant part of him but I guess I just fell for the not so gentleman guy after all.

The Rest of the Gang. Aside from the main characters, I really love the other characters in this book, it adds more spark and excitement with every encounters. Tem, Joshua, Duncan, Aspen, Rush and Hart are all very lovable.
I stepped up and put my arms around both of them. Duncan really did smell like ash, but I didn’t mind. They’d risked their lives for me. Rush hooked his arm around my neck.
 “Group hugs are technically off limits, you know.”
“So is this.” Duncan dropped a light kiss on my cheek.
 “But since the boss isn’t here to shoot me, I’ll risk it.” 
My favorite of all is Aspen, He might be a supporting character, but his presence is distinct and refreshing in the story. He was so hilarious to read and I really wanted more of him in the next sequel.
“How’s it going, Commander?”
“Are you insane?” growled Reece. “You really need to learn how to drive properly!”
Aspen laughed. “Maybe you just need to learn how to brake faster.”
“What the hell do you want, Asp?”
“To know where you’re headed, that’s all.”
“That doesn’t concern you.”
“Oh, come on. TRON tells me you’re hauling about a hundred pounds of precious cargo. How is our baby girl today?” He waved. Reece swore again and switched off the screen. A few seconds later, it switched itself back on.
 “You’re forgetting my car’s smarter than yours,” Aspen said, smirking.
“And you’re forgetting I can have you arrested without cause.”
 “I’d be released in half an hour. You’ve met my attorneys, right?”
“Asp, I’m warning you—”
“Aw, don’t be such a grouch, Reece. I just got off a job and could use a distraction. Need some company this afternoon?”
Reece’s hands tightened on the wheel.
“I do not.”
“Are you sure? You know I’m handy to have around.” Duncan jerked his thumb at me. “An escort’s not a bad idea, boss.”
“Fine,” Reece snapped. “But I’m not paying you.”
Aspen laughed heartily. “Like I’m worried about currency. Send me the coordinates, and I’ll meet you there.”
 He waited for Reece to tap in the data.
“Got it. Want to wager on who gets there first?”
 “NO!” the men in the truck answered in unison.
He blew a kiss.
“See you soon, Willow.”
The Fascinating Plot and world building. The story took place in a dystopian setting of London. The story’s pacing was so fast I couldn’t bring myself to put it down. There are lots of action scenes that keeps me entertained and leaves me at the edge of my seat. I can't help but wanting more of this book. It was actually a mix of X-men and Divergent. It's like a battle of super powers to those who are born with extra-ordinary abilities.

Overall, Denault is a promising author, and Gambit easily wormed itself into my favorites. And I will certainly keep my eyes out for more of her works. Not to mention I am so excited with second sequel of this series.


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