Book Review – Claimed: An Outlaws Novel by Elle Kennedy

by Maryse on October 4, 2015 · 13 comments

in My Book Reviews

Claimed: An Outlaws Novel (The Outlaws Series Book 1)
I was so excited for a change of pace, hoping this new dystopian read by one of our favorite romance authors would give me thrills, as well as butterflies. And better yet… maybe even haunt me!! :D

I was looking forward to experiencing “life” and struggle in this new world, and the danger that being a single woman amidst a society of outlaws would bring. And knowing this author can write some intense alphas, I was especially excited for the whole claiming process. In a dystopian society… everyone has to fight for what they want and continue fighting to keep it. To protect it. And I was SO in the mood for that!

bev: Claimed by Elle Kennedy out Oct 6. Dystopian romance, buddy read?

Michelle:*shrieks* Elle Kennedy AND dystopian romance!! Omg omg omg…I’m reading it release day no matter how much it costs! Thank you Bev! The House looks good but I’m all over Claimed since it’s exactly what I wanted more of in books, of course if it delivers.

fabi: It’s an automatic pre-order for me Bev. It will also be a stop, drop and read on the 6th. Thanks for the heads up for it!

Maryse: OH OH YOU GUYS…. I’m bein’ bad. BAD!!!!!!! Guess what I just got a hold of *grins* Claimed: An Outlaws Novel (The Outlaws Series Book 1) by Elle Kennedy Hrmm…. I wonder what I’m gonna read tonight? *ducks*

And for the most part, it didn’t disappoint. This love story had most of the elements I look for, in my angsty romance needs. A woman on the run, escaping her life, integrating into a tight knit group of badasses that were not looking to accept any more mouths to feed.

She supposed she was an outlaw now too. A target like the rest of them. It was culture shock to be thrust into this new world,surrounded by people who were determined to cling to whatever freedom they could.

This band of somewhat nomadic warriors (hot in all of their cruel and aggressive glory) were living free by hiding out from the new government tyranny. Evading the “enforcers” (essentially, police officers) that were constantly on the hunt to force all outsiders back into rule.

A war had ravaged the entire globe, for f**k’s sake. Bombs had fallen on cities like raindrops, and eliminated entire populations, and those who survived were now prisoners – sorry, citizens – of the Colonies.

Those that have evaded the Colonies are “free”. A free society (well as free as it can be when living in secrecy to keep from being found), men and women outlaws protecting and *ahem* serving ;) or should I say servicing (tee hee!!) each other…

“… you’re still stuck in that old mind-set, so concerned about following the rules, trying to figure out what’s right or wrong or sinful.” His lips quirked. “Here’s a little secret for you, baby – there are no rules out here.”

And yet, this is where I found myself dismayed, at least in the first half.

There was an interesting story developing (her own secrets that could have the very camp she was hiding with turn against her if they knew the truth, coupled with her falling in love with the camp’s emotionally withdrawn and reluctant leader that wanted NO ties to anyone),

He was never not thinking, and f**k, it was exhausting sometimes. He hadn’t asked to be in charge, and he resented his men for placing this much faith in him.

but it was drowning in explicit “free love” sex scenes, one after the next after the next. Oh I can enjoy a nice steamy scene or two for sure, but I prefer ‘em after a long emotional battle of teasing and push-pull before I finally get that relief, ya know?

But the first half? To me, it’s pure erotica, and it’s not just the main couple that gets it on. We visit a whore house, people just… you know… doin’ it here, there… everywhere. It’s HOT!!! They need to let of steam, and boy do they ever. But it’s not just the fun-house visit. There’s sharing amongst the camp’s men, public *ahem* claiming… and well… you get the picture.

Maryse: BOOK UPDATE: Claimed = Okay so far… I like! She’s looking for a group to hide out with… dystopian because everything is war torn and new “sort of” government, enforcers which are the police of sorts and groups just struggling to live again – social bad guys (villains) and tough guys (heroes that don’t consider themselves heroes)… everyone is out for themselves mostly but moral standards vary depending on “groups” Feel wise? A good mix of “Flesh” feel by Kylie Scott (although no zombies) crossed with Kit Rocha’s erotic dystopian series. Yep this book is steamy and and has a big spotlight on free love, sharing etc. LOL!!

Jean: Wow Maryse, that was not what I expected.

fabi: Oh, that IS what I expected after reading the blurb for it. Come on Monday midnight!  ;-)

Maryse: Jean… for some reason I wasn’t either… I was thinking more “scary-ish” and romance… But ummmm… they are ALWAYS getting it on. LOL!!! :P

bev: Hmm. I just saw that mentioned this morn somewhere else. I am disappointed. Not what I was looking forward to. Though I will still read it. I want a dystopian that is intricately plotted, well paced, and with great character arcs. And Romance, I do want that to be a component too…

Maryse: Agreed bev… honestly? So far… since I usually skim sex scene unless there was a slow burn and I was JUST DYING for the “get together”, … for me, this is a lot of skimming. That said, if you’re looking for erotica, this one is HOT.

Maryse: Oh yes… this will be certainly satisfactory to our erotica crowd. That said… I DO like the side story. Her twin brother is one of the bad guys… ;) Very well known… just that.. THEY don’t know she’s his sister. Oh and!! “Pike” kind of has a “Z” feel…Z-lite. And I like that! And there’s a sweet baby wolf that these bad-asses are saving… *sigh* I like that.

Still though, once I powered through the first half of spontaneous sexual combustion, the characters’ actual journeys and pasts kicked in, and they suddenly became real, and not just a reason for pleasure.

So what’s it about?

Hudson is running from her brother and his band of government enforcers (she’s an enforcer, too!) because her father (one of the heads of this government group) has arranged for her to be married to one of the most ruthless head enforcers (Knox). And he’s pure evil. But she’s also running from her twin brother (Dominik), who is also a commander, because she sees changes in him that scare her. She can’t trust her loved ones anymore, and knows her only chance is to escape.

The council members insisted that the devastation of the world would not have happened if a strong, global regime had been in place, so they’d eliminated conflict-causing factors like class, religion, free will. The new system worked, to some extent. Hudson couldn’t deny she’d been happy in the city, at least before Dominik had turned her into a prisoner in her own life.

And on the run, she meets up with Connor’s crew…

..everything about him screamed warrior. The broad set of his shoulders, the way his hawklike gaze swept over the room even as he carried on a conversation with his companions.

… she proves her worth to them (of course, while keeping her ex-enforcer status a secret), and they let her stay at their camp, as long as she’s useful. ;) So there’s a lot of “usefulness” going on, and well, she’s loving it too, so it’s all good!

But she’s formed an attachment to Connor and he’s averse to her getting to close. He’s got his own secrets that he doesn’t want to face. He’s focused and he’s got one goal in mind. Revenge. Find and kill the head enforcers. He just doesn’t realize that SHE is the head enforcer’s sister. YIKES!!! And that is when the book’s second half makes the whole first half better.

And while I struggled through a good portion of the book (wishing it was more serious, and more… dramatic, and intense, world-building wise, and character wise), I did enjoy finally getting to know some of the side characters and feeling like I was a part of their group. Getting to know their intricacies, and especially loving the alpha-male attitudes (and the whole “mine” dynamic).

So overall, I enjoyed it well enough, but I think I was expecting something more complex and addictive. Something that I could really sink my teeth into. This isn’t “fluffy” but it’s definitely more on the “afternoon delight” scale, vs. one that I will think about for days.

3.5 stars!

P.S. “Claimed” will be released this Tuesday, October 6th 2015 and I thank the publisher for sending me this review copy!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison October 4, 2015 at 8:25 PM

I just emerged from a weekend long book fog from Crazy Good by Rachel Robinson. TOTALLY NOT what I was expecting. It’s about a Navy Seal and I was expecting something like a light, frivolous read – sort of like those stepbrother romances I see now and then. (Ahem, and occasionally read when they are free and I am looking for something light. But I will never admit that publicly. Oh. Wait . . .)

Anyway, this book. Ugh, this book. I felt every. single. emotion. I was so swept up in their love and the way the H pursued the h. She was so unexpected to him and he was not what she was looking for. Their love and their emotions and the slow burn . . . . it was very emotional. But also very funny. They are so playful and the way the H jokes with his friends, especially his best friend, was hilarious!

And then he gets deployed. And tragedy happens.

Bawling. I just wrapped myself in a big sweater and held myself to try to make it all better.

I just absolutely loved it. One of the best $.99 deals I’ve grabbed in a LONG time!

Maryse October 4, 2015 at 8:57 PM

Allison. ALLISON!!!!!!

YES!!! YESSSSSSSS you totally get it!!!!!! OMG I LOVED this book. That one scene? That one? BLEW ME AWAY.

My heart!!!!!!!!!

But the whole book… every character, every scene, every though… PURE.

YES!!!

Thank you.:D

Amy October 4, 2015 at 9:51 PM

Soooooo, pretty much it’s perfect for when we’re craving some erotica with a dash of dystopian? Good to know… *snicker* :P

bev October 4, 2015 at 9:53 PM

“Afternoon delight”-lol. You gave Amy a shock with your updates. :-P

Maryse October 4, 2015 at 10:53 PM

Exxxxxxactly!!!

See all the xxx’s? ;)

Maryse October 4, 2015 at 10:54 PM

bev? I did??!! Tee hee!! I’m getting bolder aren’t I?

Now I gotta backtrack some posts, to see Amy’s reactions. :P

Lisa October 5, 2015 at 5:13 AM

Hi Maryse. Thanks for the review.

Just wondering if you know if Elle Kennedy has any more of The Deal & The Mistake series in the works??
Loved those books.

Pia October 5, 2015 at 1:52 PM

Allison, book 2 – Set in Stone by Rachel Robinson is a must read as well :-)

I am not really into dystopian books so this one is not for me…

However I was wondering about After You by Jojo Moyes. I believe you started this book, Maryse. Did you finish it and does it meet the high expectations we have for this book?

Maryse October 5, 2015 at 2:27 PM

Pia… I am half way through, and put it down. I wasn’t… I dunno… captivated I guess. It’s excellent writing, so you know what? I’ll try again this afternoon and see if I can finish. :)

Maryse October 5, 2015 at 2:29 PM

Hi Lisa!!

Yes there is already another one in the works!! Here’s the reading order, and the third is listed: http://www.maryse.net/reading-order-guide/elle-kennedy-off-campus-series-reading-order.html

marina October 8, 2015 at 3:47 PM

I just finished Claimed and actually really liked it. I think I was prepped from the early reviews so I didn’t have any other expectations. All of a sudden I’m back into dystopian erotica!

Maryse October 8, 2015 at 3:53 PM

Exactly, Marina! Had I not expected a whole “world-building/deep story” I may have really liked it. After all, I LOVED Kit Rocha’s dystopian sex-fest, so…? LOL!!!

marina October 10, 2015 at 10:36 AM

I am actually back reading Kit Rocha’s dystopian fest! I’m reading number 2, Beyond Control, and didn’t realize how many there are in the series. Wow! And after reading Claimed I’m back in that world and loving it! And what’s so funny is that back when I read Beyond Shame, it was one of THE hottest erotica books I’d read. And now, back at it, it’s not feeling as crazy. It’s like my bar for crazy has gone up? Yikes.

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