I'm actually searching my brain for a word at this moment that is stronger than love: adored perhaps? This trilogy has just about everything I look for in a paranormal: complex engaging plot, great world-building, characters who seem like actual people, and a strong sense of connection between them. Also good: the sex scenes are scorching.
I have a pretty serious complaint: the opening "claiming", basically a very harsh act of anal rape. I usually don’t mind dub-con or non-con scenarios, but this rushed right past my limit and then some. It’s obvious on reflection that my problem was with the anal part of the rape. My imagination simply balks: how on earth (or in space) could that ever be seductive. I think there were ways Hawke could have made that scene more acceptable, for example by emphasizing more than she did that this was a near-universal act of hazing between captains and officers onboard these craft. I hope it’s obvious that I do not mean this to endorse brutal hazing rituals; but I needed a little more help buying how quickly Victoria went from being thrown over a desk to being loyal and affectionate to the men who did that to her. (I’ll add here that all three books in the trilogy have a scene like this, and the hazing “excuse” only serves for the first one).
That being said, the scene did not ruin the book for me by any means, which frankly is a pretty neat trick in and of itself. Hawke is an awfully good writer--miles better than 90% of what I read these days. In general, the power dynamics between the three leads was intense and satisfying. The bottom line was that I read through the trilogy in a day and a half, and immediately starting trolling through Hawke's other works. I dearly hope she adds to this series.