★★★★ Jamie Schulz’s dystopian romance novel Jake’s Redemption, a prequel to the Angel Eyes series, follows main character Jake Nichols, who was a rancher and construction worker before the Wars, a chaotic point in human history when women enslaved all men. Using drugs as a means to keep them captive and afraid, men are to be used only for their bodies, forced to be completely submissive to their Mistresses. Monica Avery, Jake’s new Mistress, is desperate to find her soulmate in this new society, but seeing Jake work with his hands and mind on her land opens her heart in a way she didn’t think possible.
Dystopian fiction and romance have been inexplicably and delicately linked these past few years, and, looking at today’s headlines, it’s no wonder authors are drawing inspiration from the news and humanizing media figures the best way they know how. By all accounts, tossing rustic cowboys into this mix just shouldn’t work. But author Jamie Schulz not only weaves the diametrically opposed genres together, she crafts a thoroughly unique and engaging story that’s nearly impossible to put down in Jake’s Redemption. Genre-crossing walks a thin line, but Schulz melds the genres with aplomb. Even with the immense legwork that must be done to lay the rules for Schulz’s complicated world, Jake, Monica, and Angel all receive deeply layered character development. Plot and character work in tandem, with the horrors of Darla contrasting with the fiery passion between Monica and Jake. Once the reader acclimates to the world Schulz has created, many of the plot points will seem familiar—but never so much so the reader can rest easy. Nothing—not even a frightening dystopia—will stop the main characters from their happy ending, but how Jake and Monica arrive there is a truly fascinating journey that readers will eagerly devour. With such a strong prequel, the rest of the Angel Eyes series looks bright.