Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
Wild Rebel IS quintessential Laurelin Paige except where it’s not. Now, I’m wholly invested in Paige’s Dirty Universe as Donovan Kincaid, the man who began this parade of duets of trilogies, is in my top three favorite alpha-heroes in romancelandia. Which says something about my interest in men…but I digress. Since reading Donovan and Sabrina’s duet, I’ve salivated for the stories in the Dirty Universe. When Paige finally announced Cade’s trilogy after what felt like forever, I have been impatient in my waiting. Now, Cade Warren’s characterization is interesting in that, going into Wild Rebel, the first book of the Dirty Wild trilogy (a THREE BOOK series), we know very little about him. That’s not to say that the other men of Reach are open books (well, except maybe for Weston), but in any of the other books, there has been so little said about Cade. What this did for me was create a rabid interest in him. And Wild Rebel has begun to satiate that hunger.
There are several reasons that Wild Rebel captivates you. First, there is no dual POV. This is ALL Cade Warren’s voice. That means we aren’t treated to Jolie’s perspective which makes Cade an unreliable narrator. These two have secrets. And you should know…the biggest secret is revealed on the very last page of this book, leaving you on a big ole cliffhanger. Again, this is quintessential Paige.
Secondly, since Donovan is my favorite, and he is the master manipulator with an ease that would be troubling in the real world but only makes him more appealing and $exy, you expect the same ease in machinations with Cade. However, Cade comes across as insecure and without guile. We know he has a jaded past, and we find out through this story that he has been pining for Jolie, the heroine, for decades. But, of the Reach guys…(well, except for Weston), he seems less self-assured which feels so different from Paige’s other Reach stories. I will admit that there were times when Cade frustrated me. He struggles to find solid ground in Wild Rebel. One minute, he seems self-possessed, and in the next minute, he loses his sense. It’s interesting to read this type of hero in this world that feels so carefully constructed for the stalwart natures of its men, but Paige unravels Cade.
Thirdly, this book, for me, has moments of heat, but it really is a slow burn in its progression. I imagine books 2 and 3 will be pure fire, given that Jolie and Cade are $exual beings. However, Wild Rebel is about fighting the burn, and this is important for the first book of this trilogy. Had Cade so easily accepted Jolie and jumped quickly into bed with her, I think Paige would have lost the forward progression of her trilogy. Instead, she eeks out moments of heat and cools them with past hurt. I am excited for the next two books of this series to see the incendiary natures of Jolie and Cade become passion and fire.
Wild Rebel is but a beginning. It is set up, but there is still so much to come. As I mentioned earlier in the review, Laurelin Paige leaves you on a HUGE cliffhanger that I didn’t see coming until the last chapter. Her capacity to slowly reveal her story shows the genius of her storytelling, and this reader cannot wait for more of Cade and Jolie.
In love and romance,