My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance.
This review may contain spoilers for NORTH OF NEED and WEST OF WANT. You could try to read SOUTH OF SURRENDER as a stand-alone book, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
SOUTH OF SURRENDER continues Laura Kaye’s Hearts of the Anemoi series with the story of how Chrysander Notos, Anemoi and Keeper of the South Wind, stumbles on the one human woman who will love him for himself while trying to save his brothers and the world from the inevitable war between the Winds.
Laney Summerlyn may not consider herself truly happy with her life, but she has found contentment in the routine of caring for injured horses at the Maryland farm left to her by her late grandfather. Although her sight is nearly gone, thanks to the progression of Retinitis Pigmentosa, she can get around fairly well in her familiar surroundings and what she can’t do alone, her good friend Seth Griffin can assist her where she’ll allow him. But her sense of security is ripped away forever on the night when a violent windstorm ends with what appears to be a Pegasus crashing down through the ceiling of her barn. In the morning, the winged horse has transformed into a man whose presence Laney can’t stop desiring. But that presence has also put her in terrible danger from Eurus, Keeper of the East Wind, who has vowed to destroy all his fellow Keepers and anyone close to them.
Chrysander is the last Anemoi brother who believes he can still reach his rogue brother Eurus to keep him from destroying everything in his path. When Eurus responds by nearly killing him in a fight in the sky over Laney’s horse farm, Chrysander’s life is saved only by her ministrations. Their mutual attraction is immediate and powerful, yet Chrys believes he can only keep Laney safe by leaving her. But Eurus has already witnessed their desire for each other, and will stop at nothing to ensure that everyone he believed has wronged him will pay with their lives.
I was glad that I had already read the first two books in the Hearts of the Anemoi series because SOUTH OF SURRENDER contains significantly more development in the ongoing story of the war between the Keepers of the Winds. I was already vested in wanting to know the outcome of the ongoing war between the brothers, especially with all the terrible things Eurus has done, including murder. But I did wish that there might have been a bit less mythological exposition and a little more development in the romance between Chrysander and Laney. It was great that she was able to show him that there was such a thing as true lasting love by the way she never hesitated to put herself in harm’s way for his sake. Yet it would have been nice to have seen more grounding in that selflessness beyond the fact that she was just that nice of a person combined with what seemed to be insta-love for both of them.
SOUTH OF SURRENDER is at its best when it shows the enduring love between each of the Anemoi brothers and the women with whom they have chosen to share their lives. They provided the perfect examples for Chrysander and Laney to see that a god could truly be happy with one woman, goddess or human. It remains to be seen how much happiness will remain, however, when the final confrontation with Eurus takes place in the next book in the Hearts of the Anemoi series.
Their connection — the way they fit together, the way they complemented one another, the fundamental feeling of rightness he felt when he was with her — he couldn’t deny it any longer.
Whatever happened. Whatever was right or wrong. Whether the world woke up in the morning or was going to bed for the very last time. He loved Laney Summerlyn to the very center of his being.
The fierceness of the feeling simply wouldn’t be denied.