Title: KAGE Trilogy (KAGE, KAGE Unleashed, KAGE Unmasked)
Author: Maris Black
Publisher: Maris Black Books
Release Date: KAGE: May 25th 2015, KAGE Unleashed: August 24th 2015, KAGE Unmasked: October 25th 2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary
Page Count: 693 (KAGE: 305, KAGE Unleashed: 197, KAGE Unmasked: 191)
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
KAGE (KAGE Trilogy #1)
My name is Jamie Atwood, and I’m an addict. I never thought I’d say such a thing. Never had a problem being overly-attached to anything in my life. I came from a perfectly middle-class family, made good grades, and had a hot cheerleader girlfriend… but the truth is, nothing ever really moved me. So how did a guy like me become an addict?
I met Michael Kage.
Kage is an MMA fighter. A famous one. I like to think I helped him get that way.
He’s charming as hell, with looks to rival any movie star and talent to back it up. So why did he need to hire me as an intern Publicist? Simple. He has a darkness in him– like a black hole so deep it could swallow him, and me, and everyone we know– and that’s not good for business.
The first time I met him, I felt the pull. I think the addiction began at that very moment. And even if I’d known then what I know now, I would have fallen for him. How could I not?
For me, Kage is everything.
KAGE Unleashed (KAGE Trilogy #2)
My name is Jamie Atwood, and I am an idiot. Against all odds, I got the attention of Michael Kage, the hottest MMA fighter on the planet. To say he rocked my world would be an understatement. He transformed me completely, made me depend on him, and made me love him. And the sex? Let me put it this way: I’d never been with a guy before I met Kage, but I’d gladly spend the rest of my life on my knees for him. He is my obsession and my addiction. But I did something stupid, and now I’m paying for it. I don’t know if I’ll ever see Kage again.
Being Michael Kage was never easy. Too many demons, too much anger, and not enough to live for. And then I met Jamie Atwood. He’s got this innocence about him that speaks to something deep down inside me- in a place that’s never been touched by anyone. He’s beautiful, smart, and courageous, and he hasn’t been tainted by the darkness that’s ruled my life. I wanted him from the first second I laid eyes on him. It’s selfish, I know. Because you can’t bring an innocent thing into the darkness and not expect something to rub off.
KAGE Unmasked (KAGE Trilogy #3)
Round Three of the KAGE Trilogy continues with the story of Jamie Atwood & his MMA fighter boyfriend.
WELCOME TO THE MACHINE.
I devoured these three stories. I practically mainlined them like they were heroin and I was on a bender. I enjoyed them thoroughly and couldn’t read and turn the pages fast enough.
That being said, it’s not the greatest of plots (there are plot holes I could drive a semi truck through), the characters are sometimes caricature-like, the mental health professional is terribly portrayed (and in real life would probably be sued for malpractice), and there are so many instances where I was absolutely floored by just how unhealthy the relationship between Jamie and Michael is I can’t even count them all (possessiveness, jealousy, rage-filled, dub con…nope…can’t count ’em). I mean, I absolutely, unequivocally disagree with their “relationship” as it’s described in the books. It’s a toxic, horribly dysfunctional relationship that I can’t see ever being truly healthy or functional.
“Obviously, other people can see what you can’t. It makes sense. When people are in a new relationship, they have blinders on, and in your case it’s worse. You’re a lot like your mother. You see what you want to see. The two of you just float around in this world you’ve made up for yourselves, and any time reality doesn’t suit you, you just ignore it.”
“I think I’m in love with him, Dad.”
The problem was that I was selfish. I’d wanted him. Hell, even that was sugar-coating it in my favor. I’d wanted to take his innocence, and fuck him, and hold his face down in the pillow, and take every ounce of pride he had. I wanted him to worship me. I wanted to use his body until I’d had my fill, only now I wasn’t sure if that point of satisfaction would ever come. I’d underestimated my own capacity for feelings, and in doing that I’d altered his life forever.
There was no way we could keep going on the course I’d set us on.
That being said, Jamie is just as fucked up as Michael, though he doesn’t have same kind of skeletons in his closet. Ultimately, they deserve each other. They feed off each other and they’re whole together. A whole lot of what, I can’t really say, but whole nonetheless.
As always, pain was part of our relationship, and I cherished the physical pain, the way it reminded me. It was the emotional pain I couldn’t stand.
“I love you, Jamie,” he growled against my ear. “I’ll do anything for you.”
“Oh, God. I love you, too.”
So, cheers, Ms. Black, for getting me to enjoy something I would normally be screaming my head off about. Kudos for getting me to put aside my own personal preferences to simply enjoy these stories.
NOTE: I’m reviewing all three books together because they are not standalones. The first two end in cliffhangers and the third ties it all up.