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Reviewed by Deborah Adams for Readers' Favorite
Andromeda is the Heir to a Galaxy and this is a big year for her. She’s getting engaged, about to take over the throne, and under threat of assassination on a daily basis. Enter the Protector, who was chosen by an Oracle to see to her safety. He’s a big, dangerous mercenary who just happens to set her heart pounding double-time. Joined: Book One by Mara Gan follows these two characters in a tug of war of emotions that had me on the edge of my seat the entire story.
The world building was really well done, with just enough description to picture the futuristic and other-worldly settings but not so much that it lost sight of character and plot development. Speaking of characters, Gan did a great job of getting me invested and wanting to peel back their layers. While altruistic almost to an extreme, Meda showed enough moments of humanoid flaws to make her believable. Her protector, Perseus, was set up to be a figurative darkness to her light, but still with a golden heart. He was almost too invincible to be real at times. He somehow managed to settle a lot of fights, kill a lot of people, and still never get a scratch. Both main characters experienced growth and overcame flaws.
Great twists to the story included Meda having a really unique form of mind-reading and empath abilities, plus several other species/characters were introduced with special skills and it was fun learning about what made them different. Mara Gan set a fun pace with action and twists frequent enough to keep the reader engaged. Side characters were numerous, so many of them just didn’t get much development time, but I feel confident we will get to see more of them in the subsequent books. This story will reel you in fast! In conclusion, if you like fun characters and action-packed plots with a sizable dose of romantic tension and forbidden love tropes, you will find an entertaining read in Joined. You will want Book Two ASAP!