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Taking Shield #5

Day of Wrath

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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.
2018-19 Rainbow Awards:
First Place: Best LGBTA Book
First Place: Best LGBTA Contemporary, General Fiction, Fantasy and SciFi/futuristic book

370 pages, ebook

First published June 28, 2018

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Anna Butler

16 books150 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,890 reviews1,920 followers
November 23, 2018
This is it. The last time we'll see Bennet and Flynn in a Taking Shield story.

I pause here for sad and lonely reflection.

The journey of the series has been a good, satisfying one, and I am deeply glad that I followed it. Bennet's growth as a man and an officer has been steady. He's gained enormous insight into his past and uses it, as one should, to guide his steps into the future. He's been separated from his true love by circumstances beyond his control...any military family will recognize this reality...and has fought his hardest to return to his heart's home.

It is to Author Butler's great credit that she doesn't make the fight trivial by making it easy. She doesn't allow for any la-di-da fantasy of victorious sweetness, either. The Bennet who comes out of this book is a man who has lost and struggled and lost some more, so he's got his feet in the one place we all need to place them in the end: on rock bottom. Bennet has finally found his ground and he plants himself on the first really firm footing he's ever had.

He is not alone. All the characters we've come to love end up with their feet firmly planted. Some of them plant a lot more than their feet...Author Butler isn't afraid to swing the Grim Reaper's scythe. I was most vocally disgruntled about this, and was told by the lady herself that stories make demands that must be met so belt up and quit bellyaching. (I paraphrase. Barely.)

Bennet's life aboard the Gyrfalcon wasn't ever easy, and the return to the ship he's required to make by political events he can barely bring himself to tolerate is really a precisely calculated torture. Flynn is still there...his rigid, judgmental younger sister and his freewheeling younger brother are there...his starchy, duty-loving father is Captain. Not one of these things is calculated to make the uneasy political reality of Bennet's return comfy. Add in Flynn's whopper of a fuck-up of not-Bennet relationship partners and, well, this short reunion the two lovebirds are due to enjoy might just be more trouble than it's worth.

No. Never that for either man. They are each other's lobster, as Phoebe Buffay called Ross and Rachel on Friends all those decades ago. They're the true loves whose path seems never to be smooth, but Flynn really plants his size-13s in his mouth this time. When you get there, you'll know. So the problems ratchet up, the resolutions aren't obvious, and the politics that Flynn doesn't understand while Bennet plays them become orders of magnitude more difficult to navigate.

And then the real fun begins.

Trouble doesn't get bigger than this. Battlestar Galactica-sized big. It's in this moment of pure hell that Bennet crystallizes his priorities and acts on them for the first time in his life. It's a perfect moment, a small and intimate moment, and it's got huge implications for the future.

I don't know how else to say this except "this series deserves your attention and eyeblinks." Wait...yes I do:

Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 75 books2,513 followers
July 8, 2018
Wow. That was an amazing gut-punch of a book. It ends this wonderful series in a way that is completely unexpected, and yet completely logical, and that's a real achievement.

For those who have followed and loved Flynn and Bennet through all these stories, they do have an ending together, with hope for forever. Not an HEA, but pretty much where we wanted to see them go in their relationship. But they reach it via trials by fire, and losses. Secondary characters we have been attached to die in this book. It's not a pleasant stroll to happiness, but a painful battle to the end.

I do appreciate an author who surprises me, in a way that totally fits with where the series has been going and yet leaves me blindsided. This book does it in spades. I'll be rereading the series again, back to back as I did before starting this one. But I'll only be doing it on a day when my own world is in good shape, and I'm ready for the impact of this resolution. Not a comfortable story, and one that is still resonating with me days after finishing it, but well worth your time as long as you're not just in it for the HEA. Excellent bi main characters and complex family and friend relationships in a realistic, exciting, and thoughtful SciFi space saga. Start with book 1 and read in order.
Profile Image for ⚣Michaelle⚣.
3,672 reviews203 followers
August 19, 2019
Holy shit. I did NOT see that coming.

Well, I did part of it; after Makepeace there was speculation that was aiding the Maess...and I guessed correctly in that respect (although not to the extent it was revealed).

What came after? Wow. Talk about devastating. And unlike some of the other events in the series where I am not ashamed to admit I bawled like a baby, I was too shocked and unable to process a lot of what happened near the end.

I think I mentioned in a comment somewhere back in Book 1 that there were bits of this story that reminded me (fondly, if with a broken heart) of BSG. Well, some events here were definitely similar, and if you are a fan AT ALL of BSG then I cannot recommend this series hard enough. I devoured it, and lost a lot of sleep because I couldn't put the books down - each night only finding slumber as exhaustion and crusty eyes overwhelmed me. It's that good. (But similarities were also different - LOL oxymoron much? - and not in a fanfiction-y way.) I can totally see myself re-reading this entire series...especially if it was ever released in audio. *cough*Greg Tremblay*cough*

Also, I kinda want some novellas about what I am perfectly satisfied with that ending. Especially when it comes to #TeamFlynnett. (But I'd totally read them if Anna decided to go there!)
Profile Image for Alison.
762 reviews30 followers
August 9, 2018
The end of a spectacular series. Wow. This is stunning. I'm sad it's over and definitely have been feeling a little bereft lately at the fact that there will be no more Shield books (the author has said it straight up). Bennet completely captured my heart in the first book and reading his journey over these five books has been absolutely brilliant. This is an epic, powerful, queer military space opera and it's so involving. Note that this book does not stand alone and the series needs to be read in order. This is not an easy, comfortable book. The title gives a hint there. It's an intense story about war and humanity and I had a hard time putting it down. These people are fighting for their lives and it's at times bleak and heartbreaking and grim and people die, but there's so much hope and so much love and so much excitement. There's a couple of huge surprises in this story and wow, it's incredibly gripping stuff, and so poignant. The ending is great. This is not a romance series, but Bennet and Flynn's love story, while in the background, is still at the centre of this story (and the whole series, really), and it's beautiful. Bonus points to the author for having two bi guys as main characters, and also because one of them is a person of colour. I can't say enough good about this series and this last book is the perfect finale. I read this several weeks ago and it's still in my head. I am excited to re-read this series all the way through. It's quite an amazing journey. The best books are the hardest to write about--so I'll just say read this series because it is spectacularly good.
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,485 reviews424 followers
October 4, 2018
A Joyfully Jay review.

5 stars

I can’t remember a book where I was so invested and taken on such an emotional roller coaster. Day of Wrath starts of quietly, softly, and with no inkling of what lurks in the pages beyond. Bennett’s year in Fleet is over and, with his promotion to Shield Major, he’ll be taking over command of three ships of his own. His last job on the Gyrfalcon is to assist in the escort of the new President on her tour of the colonies. It means one more month under his father’s command… and one last month with Flynn. In the last five years, they’ve only been given a handful of days when they could truly be together. And with Bennet returning to Shield, that seems unlikely to change. But there’s no doubt that for Flynn and Bennet, there’s not going to be anyone else. They’re it for one another and their devotion comes through stronger than ever here. They are uniquely devoted to preserving whatever they have and we finally see Bennet bend enough to embrace everything that Flynn is offering. These moments together, stolen and perfect, are the ones fans of the series have been waiting to read. They’re also the only moments of joy that Day of Wrath offers.

Read Sue’s review in its entirety here.

Profile Image for Arshad Ahsanuddin.
Author 68 books206 followers
July 7, 2018
“I am anti-life, the beast of judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds...of everything. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?”
“I am hope.”
-- Neil Gaiman, Sandman

The author sought my advice some time ago on the structure of the story and how to market it, so I have known since the beginning how the basic outline the story would evolve from Makepeace to Day of Wrath. Even so, that foreknowledge pales before the execution, and I missed nothing by already knowing the final and inevitable outcome. Impressive and powerful, I applaud her work, and hope she continues to tell her stories for years to come. I look forward to reading them.
Profile Image for Lori S..
1,011 reviews41 followers
January 12, 2019
Despite (in spite of?) the end of this story, this was one heck of a ride. A bit of a bittersweet ending.

[ETA - 01/11/19]: Been thinking about the influences on this series and this book in particular so as my brain pulls this stuff up I need to write it down . I just needed to get that out. Thanks.
901 reviews31 followers
September 27, 2018
Excellent stuff.

Start with the first one.

This book will leave you wanting more stories about what happens next. I hope Butler gives us more.
Profile Image for T-Bone.
33 reviews3 followers
July 8, 2018
First of all, I'm terribly sad to have the story ended. I waited over a year to read Chains of Their Sins (#4) because the author had posted that there was only one book remaining in the series. I didn't want to read #4 and then have to wait so long for #5. I also waited for a "long" weekend for me to read the two books because I didn't want to put them down.

So, Day of Wrath... I'm speechless. It was the perfect finale for the series; how appropriate that humanity's ending is a repeat of its own history. I didn't catch onto the betrayal until just before it was happening, and then all those little hints throughout the books started to add up. Suddenly, all the connections, all the background histories, all the focus outside of the space battles, it all made sense. The two biggest battles in Day of Wrath were perfect - not too outlandish for the setting and the technology, perfectly fitting with the characters capabilities, and two completely different scenes: one on land, one in space. I love that Shield never goes away; it's an important balance between the other two Forces, and without it, humanity will not be successful.

As for the series, this has to be one of my favorite series of all time. Everything about the series was perfect. Do I wish it would continue forever, explore new areas of the universe, see Bennett and Flynn carry on and continue to grow? Yes, of course, but... it perfect how it is, too. The pacing throughout the series was excellent - not every book can be action-packed, not in this story. This story was full of action but it was also full of humanity. One of the key things that I love about the space opera style of sci-fi is the character relationships. Even though there is so much technology, so much that makes the future "better', humans are still humans. I thought that books #2 and #4 in particular were great balances for the drama and action in the remaining books. There were reasons why things happened, reasons based on people and their relationships to each other. Without these quieter moments/stories (I won't say slow because there was nothing slow about this series), Day of Wrath would have been lacking. There were so many pieces that resonated between what's happening today and this far distant future. And, to see these characters, these people grow... There were times that I hated Bennett: that he kept himself so removed from what he needed, that he was so arrogant to assume that there was no other path. There were times when I wanted to beat Flynn over the head. I hated the women, but I did understand that he was human and that he wasn't getting what he needed from the one he needed it from. And to see Bennett realize and make that decision by the end... humans can't fight battles forever, not without time and people to refresh and remind them what they're fighting for.

Brilliant, just Brilliant!
Profile Image for Anne Barwell.
Author 17 books96 followers
July 28, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Sally.
Author 126 books310 followers
September 28, 2019
Coming into a series with the 5th book is always a challenge, especially with high tech space opera, but I still found myself drawn into this almost from the start. So much drama, tension, and mystery, with a covert romance that was actually more intense for being restricted to stolen moments in the shadows.
Profile Image for Daniel Mitton.
Author 3 books36 followers
June 28, 2018
(Originally reviewed for Love Bytes Reviews.)

Grief. It’s what I’ve been feeling for a couple days…and I’ve tracked it back to finishing this series. I loved the Taking Shield series, and the last installment was no exception. But the ending! OH MY GOD. I was so totally not expecting Ms. Butler to go there! No spoilers on that, but when you read this one, be prepared for a hell of a ride!

So, let’s talk about the book. We’re back with Bennet and Flynn and their continuing dysfunctional relationship. Bennet is still a superior officer, and fraternization is still forbidden by military regulations even 10,000 years in our future. As the blurb says, Bennet is to leave in less than week to return to Shield, again leaving Flynn on the Gyrfalcon, but real life tends to get in the way for these two and this time is no exception. The book proceeds and drags you kicking and screaming along at a very fast pace. I was enthralled and stayed up way too late a couple nights in a row to finish it. It was so worth it.

Ms. Butler is one of my favorite sci-fi authors at this point. Her stories are spot on, the technology is enough to the keep the story flowing, without being too over the top technical, and her humans and aliens are totally believable. If you’re a sci-fi reader, and you haven’t read this series, you need to start it right now. Read it in order, they aren’t in any way standalones.

I could go on praising the author all day and believe me there is tons I would like to say about the book, but I’m not going to. I want the shock, awe, and grief to be the same for all. Take my advice, go one click this one immediately.

I can only give 5.0 stars, but I’d give it more if I could. This will go down as one of my favorite books of the year.
Profile Image for Amy Aelleah.
807 reviews6 followers
September 3, 2021
Look, if you've read the last three books, this is pretty much more of the same - only now with the door slammed firmly shut on any chance of learning who the Maess are, what they want, why they're attacking humanity. You know, the pesky little details that make up a good villain, enemy, sci-fi story or book in general.

I really, really liked the first book, found books 2-5 cheaper and bought them all together. Because I thought that the series would be better because the first book showed so much promise and the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars upon a reread was because I wanted to save it for later books in the series.


(And also a reminder why I shouldn't buy books without reading the previous one in the series.)

I don't know if this book is actually worse than the second and third ones (both which I rated 2 stars) or if I'm just fed up. (Though, to be fair, I would like to note that the last thirty or so pages is probably the best this series has turned out since Gyrfalcon.)

But this book is a culmination of disappointing sci-fi. The Maess are faceless, named only because that's what humans call them, and we, really, know nothing more of them at the end of the series than we did at the beginning. And you know the impetus for the big final battle? The Maess finally getting tired of playing with their food.

Taken all together, as a series, I do not feel it's a very good sci-fi series, beyond my personal preferences. There's no real resolution, the ending is disappointing in the extreme and I, truly, would rather have had this be book two and the rest of the series resolve the events that this book set up. (Then it would have been a fun sci-fi, though I'm not sure the author could do the idea justice, because I don't feel justice was done to the story we did get.)
Profile Image for 2shay.
134 reviews1 follower
June 26, 2018
Review By 2shay..........

I’m not sure where to start. Until reading the first book in this series, Gryfalcon, I was not a fan of science fiction books. Ms. Anna Butler changed that.

Sheild Captain Bennett captured my imagination, and with the help of brilliant writing drew me into his world ten thousand years in the future. Earth is gone, all that’s left is folklore and myths. The original evacuees from Earth were homeless seekers for three thousand years before finding Albion. Albion is beautiful. And it’s home. Generations have lived, loved and died there. Society thrives. Schools, universities, art, music and all the things that make life comfortable. Not much has changed over the millennia. They are human. They still explore, have active military, taxes and...politicians. Unfortunately, politics hasn’t changed much. There are still the same greedy, infighting, self-serving, power hungry politicians we see today.

Albion has colonies and outposts spread all over their galaxy. Some of those colonies feel ignored. The residents of Thorn, an Albion colony, are particularly upset and vocal about under representation and high taxes because of the hundred years of war against the Maess. Their dissatisfaction with the leadership from Albion leads to a horrifying betrayal.

Bennett is on a short mission with Flynn, taking a last flight together before Bennett is reassigned back to Shield. It’s pretty routine until they notice an anomaly. They quickly see what’s happening and start warning the ships on the Presidential convoy, but they are outmanned and outgunned. What happens next is a space battle that is so epic, it’s impossible to describe.

Throughtout human history, societies have always wanted what another group has, or wants to change them in some way. Land, gold, technology or simply a desire to rule the world. But humans have never fought against anything like the Maess. They aren’t human, and their technology’s so advanced that the best human minds haven’t been able to reverse engineer it, or even understand how it works. The humans fight heroically, but they may have met the unbeatable foe.

While weaving her story around Shield Captain Bennett and his love for a man he’s forbidden to be with by military regulations, Ms. Butler has touched every possible human emotion and motivation. She has taken us ten thousand years in the future and shown us the resiliency, drive and determination of the human race...the loyalty and love in the human spirit. And despair. And hope.

Kudos to the author for this stunningly brilliant series.

Profile Image for Jacque.
998 reviews23 followers
September 20, 2018
I am still trying to figure out how I am going to recover from the best Science Fiction series I have read all year. Ms. Butler has created nothing short of an amazing thing here and this book, Day of Wrath, is nothing short of a masterpiece. Consider my mind blown.

I’m not going to rehash what the book is about because, let’s face it, that’s what the blurb is for. What isn’t in the blurb, is something you need to discover for yourself. And what isn’t is frankly epic on so many levels. Exciting? Heck yeah! All the plans, investigating and shocking discoveries are obviously building up, leading to a battle with the Maess. This is on a massive proportion! Wow, just WOW! Loved it. Now that is how I want my stories to end. Me cheering the good guys as the kick the bad guys butts! Fist pumping excitement.

Epic ending leaving me on a high note. Only, I noticed there is still quite a bit of the book left to read. Oh. Ohh! Oh my. No words here. Ms. Butler has now just torn out my heart and stomped it into the ground. Not going to lie here, obviously, when you have aliens trying to destroy the humans, people are going to die. I expected death, just not…this.

I am going to miss Bennet and Flynn. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading as they go from ‘who’s that guys?’ to the love they find. Yes folks, it’s a given they well eventually get their HEA. Theirs is a not a romance but a true love story. One that compliments everything that happens within the pages of this series. Actually, I’m going to miss all the characters. It’s amazing how my opinion of each character has evolved and changed from the beginning. Well, except for Joss. Still not liking him.

Moreover, speaking of series, do not, REPEAT, do not read this series out of order. This is not one of those series types you can start at any point. It has so many layers that the author builds on with each book, heading to this finale with the Maess. I have run the full gambit of emotions with this Taking Shield series. Happy giddiness, frustrating anger, cheer out loud excitement, somber tears. The hardest part is knowing there will be no more Bennet and Flynn books. This is it folks so enjoy the ride…and what a ride it is!

I received this book from The JeepDiva with the express purpose of an honest review. The opinions, contents, and rating of this review are solely mine
Stars – 5
Profile Image for R.
1,740 reviews
June 20, 2018

Shield Major Bennett was preparing to leave Gyrfalcon. Returning to Shield, finally. Leaving his improved relationship with his father behind. He was more than ready to get back to his old life. Leaving Finn behind was harder. Even though they hadn't been together as other than friends for Bennett's on time Gyrfalcon, they still loved each other and it would hurt to say goodbye again.

The president decides she must visit the colonies. He had a theory, all politicians were bad, some were badder. She is a political savvy woman and knows she must be seen as listening to their needs. When she hears that there is Maess technology on Thorn that they didn't know about she insists on seeing it. What they find changes their world. Redefining who they are and what they must do to survive.

This is the most gripping story in the series. With everything, space battles, destruction, and death, at it's heart this is still the epic love story of Bennet and Finn. I hope we will see more of them.

Review Copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads.
Profile Image for Amber.
1,294 reviews32 followers
October 23, 2018
Ok I'm in the minority in that this last book didn't blow me away. Yes the ended shocked the hell out of me in the direction it took. Flynn and Bennett got their I won't say happily but they got a way to be together. The end went a lot darker than I thought it would and I respect the author for taking the story in that direction. My biggest problem was the convoluted plot line for the end involving the sketchy politics that I haven't really like through most of the series and Vines/Throm thing. I pretty much put together the human help for the Maess in the last book but I think it was over the top that a whole planet could be hiding such a secret.
Profile Image for Kennylee Beeks.
158 reviews1 follower
April 8, 2022
I do have to say, I loved this series! The best part being Bennet and Flynn finally being together!
I didn't expect the twist in this last book from the whole series leading up to Bennet finally discovering the secrets of the Maess that would lead to their defeat and the end of the war. to --- basically --- Battlestar Galactica; the last of humanity leaves what's left of human space in a rag-tag fleet to search for a new home somewhere in the far future. Still, since that result was the end of the series, rather than the beginning, (as well as the total difference in the way the story was written), I enjoyed it even more, (with more explicit sex!), than I did Battlestar Galactica!
Profile Image for Marge.
917 reviews4 followers
July 1, 2018
Wow! This book certainly didn't go the direction I expected. The surprises were stunning. But the relationships between Bennet and his father and between Bennet and Flynn were wonderfully explored. I can't say they were resolved, exactly, but the conclusion was satisfying.

The author has said this is the end of the series, but I hope we see more of Bennet and Flynn in the future with a coda or two, or even a nice long adventure set a few years down the path.
Profile Image for Sarah.
481 reviews6 followers
June 17, 2021
What an amazing epic ending to an incredible series. As I was reading this last book I felt the dread of the series ending as I’ve been so wholly invested in it and these lives however Anna Butler did an amazing job of finishing it in a very satisfying way. I’m very sad it’s ended and we won’t get any more shield books but I know I will read these ones in the future. This series is going up there with my absolute favourites and I’ll be following Anna Butler for more of her writing.
July 20, 2018

A brilliant series, Anna is a master craftsman. She brings these characters and their stories to life in a way that stays with me long after I have finished the book. Dark and intense. It was tough to read about the Maess' attack. And the fly by on Albion. The psychological impact it had on everyone was raw and jarring. I am sad to see this series ended, but so glad that Bennet finally opens up to love.
Profile Image for Paige.
256 reviews8 followers
January 22, 2022
Hands down, the best book of the series. Action-packed, intense, heart-breaking… it was everything I love about the sci-fi genre. Also, loved the little nose thumb at BSG 😂

The epilogue felt a wee bit rushed, but that might just be me not wanting to let go of Flynn and Bennet’s world.
Profile Image for Terry Ferko.
29 reviews
July 1, 2018
Felt hung out hungry for more

I know it’s just a story but I felt invested in it. My expectation is there has to be more. Feeling like the end of a relationship with no closure.
Profile Image for Rachel Clifton.
22 reviews
January 7, 2023
A fantastic end to the series. Truly not afraid to go very dark but a great finale for Bennet and Flynn.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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