Free by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos #6
Also in this series: Ride Steady, , Rough Ride
Published by Self-published on January 29, 2019
Genres: Biker / MC
Buy on Amazon
Through good times, bad times and times of war, Cole “Rush” Allen grew up in the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Along this journey, he watched his father, Tack, and his MC brothers fight, sweat, bleed and die to steer the Club to legitimacy.
And they’ve got one more battle on their hands.
A battle they have to win.
But when Rush meets the woman who put herself right in the thick of it, he knows he has to stop at nothing to get her out.
Rebel Stapleton has lost someone she loves to murder and she’s the kind of woman who’s going to do something about it. She puts her career on the line, and her life, to bring the man who did it to justice.
That is, she does this until Rush Allen intervenes.
Chaos is at war and they’re about to face the ultimate showdown. They’ll have to negotiate skeletons from the past, enemies becoming allies, and loved ones in the line of fire on their ride to be…
Foreword by Lily
We have followed the Chaos series since Motorcycle Man and have been waiting for Rush’s story for what feels like forever. So, of course we would have a buddy read which tells you how major a call it was for me to abandon our BR. By the 25% point, I raised my hand up that I was struggling so Spice offered to let me off the hook. We warned Sparkles’ off before she even started. Even after I quit, I ended up in a book funk which took a week to shake. Read on for Spice’s candid rant from someone who took one for the team and read it from cover to cover. Enjoy the gifs as she goes into the many reasons Free got her head spinning. My full review can be found in the spoiler brackets: View Spoiler »The Chaos series features on our Top 10 biker reads list, therefore it was no question that we would be reading the final book. After all it featured Rush, the outspoken, too big for his boots son of Tack Allen. So it’s fair to say I started reading the final book with the expectation of a nostalgic trip back into Chaos territory.
Sunday was my first free day to dive into the book. I got up early excited to start reading. Before I knew it I found myself backtracking more than once because what I had read the first time didn’t make sense. I felt lost and regretted not having revisited earlier books in the series to refresh my memory beforehand. This was a feeling I had never come across reading a Chaos book before and it took me by surprise. To not connect with the plot or the characters straight off was a shock.
Where the story took me was into a murder mystery with cameo appearances from familiar KA characters but it felt like an overcrowded stage of performers, not the biker read I anticipated. The reactions from well known characters didn’t resonate with the way I had read them before. Then to top it off we meet Essence, the quirky hippy that likes to shock guests on their way to meet her neighbour, Rebel. Now that really came across as weird to me and not funny at all.
At this point the story had a 2 star feel for me. After reading for the better part of the day I wasn’t filled with my usual KA reading joy and I felt flat. I didn’t feel the urge to continue. Talking it out with Spice and other reading friends, I discovered it wasn’t just me. While there were quite a few 4 and 5 star reviews out there, slowly the reviews that appeared began to echo my sentiments. For me the writing was on the wall, I couldn’t justify continuing. This was an agonising decision because I had committed to a buddy read and this was Chaos!
If I don’t finish a book, I don’t rate it and shelve it DNF. I will write a few lines to say why but to not read the final book in a series I rave about required an explanation. This is why I have done what I normally wouldn’t and that is talk about a book that didn’t work for me. So much so it put me in a reading funk. A week has passed and only now do I feel ready to pick up another book to read. « Hide Spoiler
Warning: Spoiler-ish Rant ahead.
I wish we had a rating for “I wish I could go back in time and not only not read this book but forget it ever existed.” To give you a warning how bad this book is, this started out as a buddy read, but I got way ahead and warned Sparkles and Lily off. Boy, do they owe me!
KA used to be one of my favorite writers. I’m one of those always giving her the benefit of the doubt and championing her books everywhere. From now on, though, I’ll be checking out the reviews before buying any more of her books as I feel like they are going in a direction that’s not for me.
Rush and Rebel barely had any page time to the point I think you could erase their characters and no one would notice. Their story was hijacked by Beck and Janna’s. Yes, Beck, the man who gave his woman over to his club to be savagely beaten. The same man who kicked her, spit on her and put her in the hospital for days. I love redemption stories but there are some who shouldn’t get one (especially in another couple’s book).
Speaking of redemption stories…Naomi. What the ever loving f*ck? I feel bad about what happened to her, but we all know she will get her feet back under her and then spew her acid everywhere she can. Poor Tabby.
Every character we’ve ever met in one of her Denver based books was thrown in here and we got umpteen confusing POV’s. There was so much time jumping and head hopping, I got dizzy, and not the fun kind of dizzy.
To make matters worse, every badass from every KA Denver series was pussified here, to the point the book could have been named The Pussification of the Denver Badasses. Women were dropping like flies but Lee and the hot bunch were worried about their own women so they refused to put boots on the ground and only offered office support. Hawk’s group went MIA after telling Chaos to get Rebel out when we all know he would have just pulled her ass out himself. Hank, Eddie and Brock became the Keystone cops who couldn’t investigate their way out of a paper bag.
And Chaos… they spun their wheels the entire book. Even worse, View Spoiler »they decided to give up what they had been fighting for and spilled blood over for years. They retreated to the compound because, you know, Benito is gone and they don’t have to worry about it anymore. It’s not like some other asshat isn’t going to discover that virgin territory and move their whores and drugs there. It’s simply going to stay magically clean because the Keystone cops will keep it that way, I’m sure. And there will be lots of rainbows and unicorns sprinkling confetti and sparkles all over the streets too. It will be magically delicious. « Hide Spoiler
The actual heroes of this story were Sixx from the honey series View Spoiler » who got involved not because a bunch of women were getting killed but because a Domme got jacked up, « Hide Spoiler and Beck and his band of women-beating asshats. I hope the focus on Beck and company doesn’t mean there will be a spinoff based on abusing assholes who have redeemed themselves. That would not be my cup of tea at freaking all.
As for Benito, the ultimate bad guy who has been beating and murdering women and causing mayhem for almost the entire series, he didn’t go out in a hail of gunfire or get sent to jail for life. View Spoiler »No, he was blackmailed and chased out of town after he discovered he was a super kinky bisexual submissive. Evidently this is a shameful and horrid thing to be. And yes, the totally evil, cruel, mastermind fled with his tail between his legs after handing over his money and his empire. « Hide Spoiler It was so totally believable.
And let’s talk about the sex. Not only did Rush and Rebel get shortchanged in the romance department, they got the least amount of sex scenes in the story. Unless you count them listening to Rebel’s brother and his boyfriend get it on multiple times. So wrong. The person who got laid the most was Benito, and it wasn’t sexy, it was vomit inducing. Not because it was kinky, but because it was effing Benito.
This was disjointed, choppy, made no sense half the time, and was full of editing issues. There were passages I reread multiple times and still couldn’t figure out what was being said.
I feel like the book boyfriends from these series I’ve loved for years were betrayed. And yes, I realize they aren’t real, but these are characters whose books have been with me through multiple surgeries, heartbreak, and hard times. To see them reduced to this is demoralizing in a way. I said it already, but I wish I’d never read this book and could forget it existed.
Rating: Is There Such Thing As Negative Stars?
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