Review: Ashwin by Kit Rocha

In a post-apocalyptic world, Kora, a super healer doctor who’s in search of a home, will find something quite like what she desires in Ashwin, a super soldier programmed not to feel or care but who finds all his programming is weak against Kora’s touch. Ashwin is a dystopian romance where extraordinary characters find love.

Ashwin CoverLieutenant Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier–genetically engineered to be cold, ruthless. Unfeeling. His commanding officers consider him the perfect operative, and they’re right. Now, he has a simple mission: to infiltrate Gideon’s Riders, the infamous sect of holy warriors that protects the people of Sector One.

He’s never failed to execute an objective, but there’s one thing he didn’t anticipate–running into Dr. Kora Bellamy, the only woman to ever break through his icy exterior.

When Kora fled her life as a military doctor for the Makhai Project, all she wanted was peace–a quiet life where she could heal the sick and injured. The royal Rios family welcomed her like a sister, but she could never forget Ashwin. His sudden reappearance is a second chance–if she can manage to touch his heart.

When the simmering tension between them finally ignites, Kora doesn’t realize she’s playing with fire. Because she’s not just falling in love with a man who may not be able to love her back. Ashwin has too many secrets–and one of them could destroy her.

Goodreads

I heard so many good things about this book from fellow romance readers on Twitter and despite my hesitation, this book charmed so much.

Ashwin is the first in a new series by bestselling author Kit Rocha (pen name) who have an impressive series titled Beyond which spanned over 10 books. However, you can absolutely read Ashwin on its own.

It does need some content warnings for mentions of past mental manipulation and violence against Ashwin, reconditioning, violence, anti-aromantic ideas and explicit sexual scenes.

Home is a Person

What I enjoyed very much about both Kora and Ashwin is the arc they shared in getting to know Sector One. I also loved the relationships they built with the riders and the Rios family. For Kora, home had never been a word she used fondly for anywhere. Definitely not in the Base where she practiced her skills in healing the Makhai soldiers. In Sector One, adopted by Gideon Rios as a sister, she found herself adjusting to a life where there were people who cared for her and who she grew fond of.

Ashwin, on the other hand, was raised to be a soldier. He put his missions before anything else, including his own emotions. His arc dealt a lot with his warring feelings for Kora. He grew attached and recognized what was he feeling and I especially looked forward to his banter with the other Riders.

Their connection felt cemented in their friendship and romantic feelings. They were familiar and safe for one another. And despite everyone being weary of Ashwin, Kora found his company to be something comforting.

You’ll find a lot of the found family trope in this book, and what is a theme for the whole series.

Heat level

The heat in this book is, out of five, a solid five. There were more than two and were lengthy and in both character’s point of views. Ashwin has some of the hottest scenes I’ve read and it made me appreciate Kit Rocha’s style when it came to intimacy. It was cool to note that Kora was given all the time she needed to get comfortable with intimacy as a virgin. I enjoyed the bits where she initiated (which were… most times.)

South Asian Representation

Ashwin takes his mother’s father’s name and last name. Despite his upbringing, which didn’t allow him any sense of family, Ashwin was still searching for clues that give him a sense of self before he even realized he he craved family. I found this bit very lovely and made me love Ashwin even more.

However, there is something about Ashwin, the character and the book that did make me go “hm.” The idea that I got was that his lack of understanding or the brainwashing’s ability to strip Ashwin from the idea of “love” made him heartless. I couldn’t write a review for this book without mentioning this, and would recommend caution from aromantic readers. Seeing as I don’t ID as on the aro-spectrum, I can’t judge it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Ashwin is the beginning of a new series for Kit Rocha. It’s a good introduction to the style of writing that includes high-stakes and intensity, as well as camaraderie and the sense of found family. If you enjoy Ashwin, you’ll probably want to follow it up with Deacon.

You can pick up a copy of Ashwin for yourself, and follow it up immediately with Deacon.

ABOUT ASHWIN

Title: Ashwin

Series: Gideon’s Riders

Author: Kit Rocha

Release Date: March 7, 2018

Rating: ★★★★☆ / Four stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Representation: South Asian main character

Tropes: Found family, second chance romance, super-soldiers, loner learns about friends, home is a person

 

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