Dana reviews KAGE Unmasked (KAGE trilogy book 3) by Maris Black (Published October 25. 2015, 164 pages)
The final installation in the KAGE TRILOGY.
Kage and Jamie have finally come to terms with their feelings for each other, but there is still plenty of drama to work through. Friends and family don’t want to let them be, and now that Kage has his UFC contract, his uncle is worried that the public will find out about his nephew’s boyfriend. Will the drama be too much to handle? Will the stakes be to high?
Discover just how far Kage and Jamie will go for love.
The cover: The first two books were released with a colored background and an imprint of a metal cage popular in cage fighting over the blank background. It was a unique cover for the series. Between KAGE Unleashed and KAGE Unmasked, the author changed the covers. While I liked the old covers, I love the new ones. The model is a great representation of the character, and in the background, we get a view of a mixed martial arts gym, and in all three covers there is still a slight image of a cage which I think links all three covers together with each other and even the old covers. I think it was a great move on the authors part.
The title: KAGE Unmasked is a great title. It fits the plot which revolves primarily around Michael Kage where the previous books tended to be evenly divided between Kage and Jamie, or even a little more Jamie-centric. Kage’s past is revealed in this book and we see what made him the man he is.
The story: For anyone waiting for the trilogy to be complete before reading it, the time has come. I strongly urge people to buy this series for an intense story featuring a mixed martial artist in the closet, and a college student who realizes he’s not that straight once he meets the fighter.
The first book seemed to revolve around Jamie, the college student coming to terms with his attraction to a man, and the fact that the man is a well known fighter with a controlling uncle. The second book explores their feelings for each other more with a cliffhanger to Kage’s past. In KAGE Unmasked, Michael Kage is the story.
Kage has frequent nightmares that he realizes are rooted in memories. With the help of Doctor Tanner, his therapist, he begins to unravel his past. Dr. Tanner was a character I felt conflicted emotions about. In the earlier books, I had her pegged as being in the pocket of Kage’s uncle, but in this book she clearly seems to want to help Kage. I came to like her to a certain extent, but at the same time, I questioned her sanity regarding Uncle Peter. He is a man I don’t care for at all. He is very controlling and cares more about the money that Kage can make more than his nephew. As the story played out, I began to feel real hate for him and despaired that Kage might never get out from under his thumb.
Jamie is very present in the story, supporting Kage in discovering his past and preparing for fights. Though Jamie is not as physically built as Kage, he has been working on his body throughout the series. Between his fitness level, his younger age, and his doubts regarding his sexuality, Jamie has seemed like a slightly weaker character than Kage. However, this book shows his growth emotionally as well as physically. And in the end, he came off as much stronger than I thought he could be. I’d say Jamie and Kage end up on an almost equal level by the end.
I can’t give away Kage’s secret, the past that has haunted him, but it was a doozy. Even though I suspected something of the sort, the way it actually went down surprised me. Despite Kage’s aggressive past and the violence of his current career, I began to see him as a much more vulnerable character than he appeared at first. You definitely don’t want to miss the ending of this spectacular trilogy. Though I call it a trilogy, there is definitely more room for the author to expand on these characters and possibly the side characters, and I really hope she does.
My name is Maris Black (sort of), and I’m a Southern Girl through and through.
In college, I majored in English and discovered the joys of creative writing and literary interpretation. After honing my skills discovering hidden meanings authors probably never intended, I collected my near-worthless English degree and got a job at a newspaper making minimum wage. But I soon had to admit that small town reporting was not going to pay the bills, so I went back to school and joined the medical field. Logical progression, right? But no matter what I did, my school notebooks and journals would not stop filling up with fiction. I was constantly plotting, constantly jotting prose, constantly casting the people I met as characters in the secret novels in my head.
Yep. I can blame my creative mother for that one!
When I finally started writing fiction for a living, I surprised myself with my choice of genre. I’d always known I wanted to write romance, but the first story that popped out was about a couple of guys finding love during a threesome with a woman. Then I wrote about more guys, and more guys, and more guys. I was never a reader of gay fiction, and I’d never planned to write it. The only excuse I have for myself is: Hey, it’s just what comes out!
I adore the M/M genre, though, with all my heart. It feels sort of like coming home. I can’t quite explain it. I’ve always had openly gay and bisexual friends and relatives, the rights and acceptance of whom are very important to me, so it feels great to celebrate that. But there’s also something so pure and honest about the love between two men that appeals to me on a romantic level and inspires me to write.
Thank you, men.
I currently live in Nashville, TN with my devoted husband (who just happens to be my biggest fan), my three eccentric children, and a hairless cat named BLU. Life is good.