Book Review – Day of Wrath by Anna Butler

Taking Shield #5
Publisher: Glass Hat Press
Pages: 298
Characters: Bennet/Flynn
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Science Fiction

In less than a week, Bennet will finally return to the Shield Regiment, leaving behind the Gyrfalcon, his father, his friends… and Flynn. Promotion to Shield Major and being given command of a battle group despite the political fallout from Makepeace the year before is everything he thought he wanted. Everything he’s worked towards for the last three years. Except for leaving Flynn. He really doesn’t want to leave Flynn.

There’s time for one last flight together. A routine mission. Nothing too taxing, just savouring every moment with the best wingman, the best friend, he’s ever had. That’s the plan.

Bennet should know better than to trust to routine because what waits for them out there will change their lives forever.

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Wow. That was my initial response to this book, and the end of a series I’ve loved. It’s not the ending I expected, although I loved the last scene, and kudos to the author for taking the plot the way it went. I’ve enjoyed every book in this series, and fell in love with the characters as well as the storyline. Definitely one of my favourite reads, and it reminds me of why I enjoy SF as a genre. I already own hardcopies of the first two books in the series, and will need to complete it now. The series is one hell of a journey, and although I’m sad it’s over, it’s one I’m sure I will re-read.

It’s not just the main characters who steal the stage in this story, but the side characters as well. All have their part to play, and again the plot is very political—which I love—and the world building is detailed and believable. I enjoyed the references to Earth, which is a planet left behind generations ago, and the echo of the colonies of old when Britain spread its empire.

The author does a great job in writing aliens who are so very alien, and ruthless to boot. The realisation as to what is happening is chilling and emotional, and choices that have to be made toward the end of the story are gut-retching, as are the descriptions of the aftermath of what has just happened. I thought that the character reactions were realistic, and I liked the scenes between Bennet and Flynn, although they were very bittersweet, considering the circumstances.

Although this is also Bennet and Flynn’s story, it’s so much more. One of the things I love about this story—and the series—is that, although there is a romance in the plot, it’s at its heart a military SF story which features two men who happen to be gay. I appreciated having Caeden’s—Bennet’s father—POV as well, as it gave a different perspective plus reiterated their family’s history as he remembers his own father.

The fight scenes are very well written, and detailed enough to feel realistic, yet not bogged down by it. I was on the edge of my seat as the story progressed. The author does a great job in building tension and that ‘oh shit’ feeling.

I’d recommend Day of Wrath to readers who enjoy military SF with interesting characters, and great world building. It will keep you reading and on the edge of your seat. However, the series does need to be read in order as each book builds on what has come before. 5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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