One Breath One Bullet - S.A. McAuley 4.5 ~ STARS ~ This is a powerful story, a raw and gritty tale that will have you captivated from beginning to end, it’s a novella at only 88 pages, but let me tell you, every single one of those pages counts. It’s an intelligent read, very cleverly composed by Sam McAuley, her writing is just excellent and had me totally absorbed in this war torn world 545 years into our future. I always judge a book on my reaction at the end, and if its one of those where I clutch my Kindle to my chest with a silly grin, jumping up and down… you know it’s going to be good, and I assure you I wouldn’t make a fool of myself for any other reason!!!


For me, One Breath, One Bullet feels like the foundation for a wonderful series, full of intrigue, with two very delicious, hot and droolworthy Alpha males, Merq and Armise who definitely had me in a puddle of lust!! plus a very skilfully crafted plot that weaves a tangled  web of mystery throughout, slipping in clues and drip feeding information which spans 200 years, mainly concentrating on Merq’s life between the age of 18 and 35, and his association with Armise… but not only that it flips backwards and forwards in flashbacks… picking up more snippets to digest. And right about now, I can hear you saying… What?!? Confusing!?! Information overload!?!  Ah ha… that’s where Ms. McAuley tricks us with her subterfuge, because really it is only as complicated as you wish to make it... and I say that in all honesty, and I will tell you why, because the information is like puzzle pieces, not making a whole lot of sense on their own, until you carefully slot them together and have the whole picture in front of you to peruse, and when you finally see it, it’s a real Oh. My. God… moment! I must admit, until that defining moment when it all became so clear, I was cursing Sam whilst I was reading, thinking, Why… is there no glossary or a timeline to refer to? How am I supposed to remember all this? Who are all these people? What is going on? But ha! she is not daft, at the end we are supplied with a complete glossary,  timeline and character info, why not at the beginning? well, silly… if you had it at the beginning you would have the whole story laid out for you with spoilers galore!

The book is told completely from Merq’s point of view and it starts off at furious pace, with the action in the middle of a battlefield and Merq injured, the only man to come out alive. He is a soldier, his life is routine, structured, every action and thought has purpose and meaning, his mind constantly on alert, systematically analysing everything for deviations from the norm… for Merq, failure is never an option. He is a man alone in the world, no friends or family and zero on the distraction front, well apart from Armise who also happens to be on the opposite side, their common goal, they both want the info chip which is apparently the only copy of all the paper records in existence and each country want to get their hands on it. Merq and Armise also happen to be expert snipers and now with peace reigning these two will be in competition with each other for the first Olympic Games in 200 years and the opening ceremony, will involve a real bullet, first from a real gun!


Even though, a truce has now been called, these two men are still hardened soldiers and weapons in their own right, both totally committed to the cause… only they are enemies and there is a fierce hate and mistrust between them, a volatile relationship, full of anger and pent up sexual tension, and oh boy is it intense, something neither of them seemed able to control. There is however a silent treaty between them when they get together, a secret which if found out would have them branded as traitors… Yet both are willing to risk it, there is no love yet between Merq and Armise, just raw, hot, hard and angry sex… forbidden yet seductive! Did I mention it was HOT!!!  Ha… and Merq has piercings… ahhhh swoon!

As we read this through Merqs eyes we learn more about him, but Armise is still a mystery, I just want to climb in his head and have a nosy at his thought process, especially at the end of this novella. Both men are stoically guarded, but in Merq, despite all the big bad ass, I am a soldier attitude, I had a sense of hope but also despair… glimpses of emotion that I am not sure even he recognises yet.

The world building is a little complex and I can’t say that I understand all of the warring factions just yet, but we have another 4 books to get through! ...So I can't wait!!! I love these two damaged souls… and Sam McAuley has characterised them perfectly, Merqs voice engaged me throughout his journey in a disposable society where the wealthy have and the poor have not and two enemies become lovers.

Series Reading Order

1 ~ One Breath, One Bullet ( The Borders War #1)

2 ~ Dominant Predator (The Borders War #2) No Date Yet

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