arbitrate = great (A review)

Hi there! A few weeks back I lost an entire weekend to Megan Thomason’s YA dystopian series daynight. Now I’m here to catch you all up. Just in case you needed a tense, state-sponsored love-triangled, YA romance to pass the time this Memorial Day.

daynight centers it’s activity on Thera, a parallel planet where the land exists as a mirror image of Earth’s and it’s so incredibly hot that all activity occurs in the cooler nighttime hours. Kira is pulled into the Second Chance Institute, thinking it will land her a college scholarship. Instead she ends up on an otherworldly adventure with supremely deadly consequences.

The second book in the series, arbitrate, is about a clean as a book can be–for having a love-square with a married couple…and whoo-boy is the tension crackling. (FYI–not a stand-alone, per se. I mean, you could read it that way, but it’ll be kinda confusing at first.)

Clean Slate Complex (Daynight, #1.5)In order to set the mood, you can download the free companion story, Clean Slate Complex, which is a standalone but has some overlapping characters in arbitrate. My review is here. In it we learn of some shady dealings on Earth that are bringing a whole lotta Second Chancers to Thera.

Particularly we learn a lot about Alexa, a former homeless girl who is now the spokesperson for the Clean Slate Complex, a division of the Second Chance Institute. It all sounds so benign, but it is a giant leap in the other direction. Also, we get some insight into Joshua Black. He’s a Theran daynighter whose parents run the CSC. He’s a cousin to both Ethan and Blake, and they are (potential) suitors to Kira.

In daynight we thought Kira was going to be okay. She was cleaved to her new mate, and going to protect those she loved most….well, maybe not so much.

Arbitrate (Daynight, #2)About the book:

It’s one year later. Everything has changed.

Remember The Second Chance Institute (SCI). Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. They’ve stepped up their game on Earth and on Thera—infiltrating political parties, preying on the downtrodden, and planning offensive maneuvers. And they’re handing out more “second chances” than ever before. The SCI’s abuse of their charter leads to Arbiter oversight and bitter consequences.

Remember Kira Donovan. Broken, burdened, and evading those who wish her harm, Kira enlists the Arbiters’ help when forced to return to the clutches of the SCI and her angry, estranged love.

Remember Blake Sundry. Exiled, determined, and packing an agenda, Blake seeks assistance on Earth and Thera to use his newfound knowledge to bring down the SCI.

Remember Ethan Darcton. Overworked, emotional, and holding a grudge, Ethan hunts down his stolen property, but finds himself in awkward territory, stuck between the Arbiters and the SCI.

Full of action, competing agendas, romantic entanglements, humor, twists and turns, arbitrate is book #2 in the award-winning, bestselling daynight series.

My Review:

The second I finished daynight I one-clicked both Clean Slate Complex and arbitrate. Then I tucked in for a long weekend of neglected household duties and insomnia. I had thought Ethan and Kira would be a strong couple, facing down Ethan’s formidable mother and building a life together–particularly after Kira’s forced impregnation. Not happening.

No, a year later the babies are born, Kira’s in hiding after having survived something like 17 assassination attempts. Meanwhile, Ethan’s the lapdog of the daynighters. His half-brother, Blake, is on a mission to rescue one of Kira’s babies from a kidnapper. Oh, and Blake’s leading the new resistance on Thera to secure legal status and housing for exiled Therans and Second Chancers.

Ethan’s shattered when he hears that Kira died in childbirth–she hadn’t thanks to Jax, Ethan’s other half-brother–but Ethan seeks solace from Alexa, an Earthling daynighter who works for his uncle’s Clean Slate Complex. To Kira, Ethan seeking any companionship is a huge betrayal–even if Ethan thought Kira had died.

So, yeah. Theran politics is a total mess. And, they aren’t content to screw up their own planet. No, Ethan’s other uncle is a US Senator, campaigning for the presidency.

Jax, an arbiter, has a lot of powerful abilities, skills that half-arbiter Ethan is trying to hone. It was Jax’s teleportation that saved Kira time and again, and his blood transfusion that brought her back from the brink of death. In seclusion, Kira bonds with her babies, surviving tormenting daymares of her many close calls. Ethan learns that she’s still alive and wishes to “claim” her, but Kira won’t have him. In fact she arranges, with the help of the arbiters, to command the first ever Theran divorce.

Free of any suitors, Kira is able to focus on motherhood and her recovery–all the while Ethan, Jax and Blake drift in and out of her life.

The machinations run ultra deep in this book. The Genitors, those who create life on both Thera and Earth, are not happy with the manner in which Second Chancers are being “harvested” for Thera, nor are they best pleased with the new militaristic changes on Thera. They give Ethan the chance to fix things–before they step in, and wow, do they make a huge impression.

Joshua Black and Blake become conspirators to bring down the Theran power structure, but in completely different ways. Truly, I can’t even sum up 75% of the book in a single blog post, but I will tell you I adored the book. Kira does find a happily ever after–discovering the power within herself to protect her beloved children, and accepts a cleave (husband) who loves her absolutely and unconditionally. Blake has some serious issue that he works through, and I’m glad we’ll see more of him.

Ethan started out the story with such a bright path and ended up in pretty dire straights–but we can tell he’s going to bounce back in the third book.  Plot twists and turns will keep you turning pages well into the night. For all the “Love Square” this is a completely clean book–barely kissing, folks–so it’s safe for upper YA readers.

Interested? You can find arbitrate on Goodreads and Amazon.

Megan ThomasonAbout the author:

Bestselling, award-winning author Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn’t typing away on her laptop, she’s reading books on her phone–over 600 in the last year–or attending to the needs of her family. Megan’s fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac.

You can find her on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in! And, keep reading my friends! 🙂