Book Reviews

Falling, One by One (The Borders War 4) by S.A. McAuley at Pride Publishing

Genre Gay / Science Fiction / Future Earth / Soldiers/Mercenaries / Romance / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 15-May-2018

Book Blurb

Whether Armise lived or died was never supposed to matter to Merq.

As the fight for the kids of the jacquerie begins and the war between Opposition and Revolution heightens, Merq discovers that he may not have as much control over his actions as he thought he did. Further complicating their tangled relationship, Armise may be just as compromised.


Desperate to learn the truth, Merq and Armise put themselves directly in the path of a powerful enemy. They’ve spent fifteen years of their lives on the knife’s edge of trust and loyalty. What they learn about each other’s pasts—and what it means for their future—will bring them together or definitively tear them apart.


Merq’s life has always been at risk—one bullet away from death in sacrifice of his mission. As his focus begins to shift, Merq may be too late to understand what, and who, is most important in his life.



Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of graphic violence, forced genetic modification, genetic experimentation, genetic experimentation on children, mentions of suicide, and torture.

First Edition published by Pride Publishing, January 2016.

Book Review

Every time I think I have a grip on the power politics, interests of the 26th-century factions, and dynamics between the various players in this series, I open the next book only to find out I didn’t have a clue. Fluctuating alliances and more stunning revelations follow with each volume, and it is an amazing feeling to know that S.A. McAuley will twist and turn my perception of what is going on every single time I read one of these novels. I feel like a masochist for putting myself through the pain, except the reward for seeing the developments over the course of this series is beginning to materialize. With four books down and only one more to go, 80 percent of the story arc completed, I would normally believe that the worst was over. Not with this series though, and not with this author. Who knows what she will come up with next?

Merq has gone from a cold-blooded soldier with only one mission in mind to a man who cares about others, Armise at the top of his list. Merq would probably say it has made him vulnerable; I would say he is right (especially in the chaotic world of shifting alliances he lives in), but I’d also say it has made him grow and become stronger in many ways. Continuing revelations about his and Armise’s past, their enemies’ plans, and what might come next kept me glued to the pages. Armise and Merq’s struggle is not just about completing their mission in this book. Yes, saving the children who have been genetically modified into soldiers is important, and they do partially succeed. But there are so many more obstacles than they had imagined, and one of them turns out to be their own potential unreliability.

What happens next is worse than anything the author has put them (and me) through before and leads to THE WORST cliffhanger ever. Seriously, if you haven’t got the final volume in your hands before reading this one, you are better off waiting. This ending is not an ending – it is “reader torture” of the most ingenious and cruel kind. Well done, S.A!

If you think you can stomach the war atrocities, extreme violence, and psychological abuse so prevalent in this series, this book (and the cliffhanger at its end) might still be too much. If you're curious to find out what S.A. McAuley puts Merq and Armise through this time, get ready for one heck of an amazing story. And if you're wondering about the power of shifting alliances and psychological manipulation, this is the right series for you. This fourth installment is more shocking than the previous books but continues to make the point that humankind is capable of inflicting horrors on people that I’d rather not think about. If you made it through the first three books, you’ll want to read this one. If you haven’t started the series yet—go back and start at the beginning. ‘The Borders War’ series with its scary vision of the future is unusually cruel and realistic because so much of its horrors, while hopefully far in our future, seem entirely possible.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 208 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 16-April-2018
Price $2.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
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