The Formicary: Cross – S.E. Harmon
I thought getting shot, losing my memory, and being hunted by people I didn’t know for reasons I couldn’t remember was rock bottom. Turns out I was wrong. I found a shovel, dug a little deeper, and found a whole new sublevel of suck.
Apparently, I took something from the Formicary that doesn’t belong to me. The boss, Petar Dobroslav, is willing to do just about anything to get it back. Making an enemy of a super-secret organization of assassins might seem like a bad idea and…well, it absolutely is.
To be honest, it was inevitable that Grayson Laurie would get dragged into my mess. In my line of work, love is a luxury, a vulnerability I can’t afford. But I couldn’t stay away, and now we’re both paying the price.
But I can fix this. I will fix this. Everyone knows the Formicary is a formidable adversary. It’s time to remind them that so is Christian Cross.
Cross is the riveting sequel to the sci-fi amnesia romance series, The Formicary. It picks up after the events in the first book, Chrysalis, where we find the unlikely named assassin, Christian Cross and his doctor boyfriend, Grayson Laurie, held inside The Formicary under the control of Chris’s grandfather, Peter Dobroslav.
The Formicary is a giant hive of scientists, lab techs, and support staff conducting highly unethical experiments, like turning people such as Chris into android super soldiers. Chris was blackmailed by his evil grandpa to find the missing scientist in charge of some high-level super secret experiment. Or else Gray pays the price.
In the first book, I found Chris’s little commentaries superfluous. There were still a few here but now, the idiot has endeared himself. The story is from his 1st-person POV, and boy, is this guy just full of brilliant dumb ideas! He’s actually funny now, though sometimes, not so much.
Chris is the first to admit he’s more a man of action than a thinker of deep thoughts. He’s been planning to kill the evil Dobroslav, and his genius plan is A. get to Dobroslav, B. pull the trigger.
Luckily, he got Gray’s beauty and brains on his side. This sweet, mild-mannered doctor is not only the person who hangs the moon and is the center of the universe, but also the anchor that grounds the Swiss cheese mind and questionable identity of the experimental guinea pig named Christian Cross a.k.a. Chrysalis.
I totally understand why Chris looks at Gray with permanent heart eyes. Gray is perfect! He’s my favorite character. The doctor is a saint for putting up with the doofus’s antics since college. I loved that the prim and proper man has the sense of humor to roll with Chris’s man-child jokes.
And it was the doctor, with the help of their android frenemy, Chaos, and Chris’s best friend, Nick, who came up with a more solid plan to take down The Formicary. Something where the four of them come out alive.
This book is a fantastic example of how to do an established couple romance. The plot effectively created external conflicts highlighting the unbreakable bond between the two MCs. There were flashbacks to younger, happier days juxtaposed against the present day’s precarious circumstances.
The couple was constantly surrounded by danger, making their quieter moments more precious and satisfying. The amnesia fueled Chris’s pining and longing for Gray, even when they were together the entire time. All these feels made the romance more poignant and impactful than if the two were a new couple.
My favorite supporting character is Chaos, Chris’s training teacher, frenemy, and Dobroslav’s loyal guard. His dry humor and blunt statements had me cracking up. I hope he gets his own book. Would love to see him paired with Nick.
I’ve got to say, wow! Cross was one hell of a ride! The plot was very twisty-turny, heading in directions I never even considered. The writing pulled it off smoothly, in a way where it didn’t feel convoluted despite the many twists, secrets, and reveals.
The mystery and suspense leading to an action-packed climax made for a spectacular finale. The epilogue is another thing that completely took me by surprise. It was a sweet, soul-cleansing experience. The peace was so palpable even I felt the cleansing effect!
Androids don’t dream of electric sheep. They dream of anchors and a slice of paradise.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
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