So last night, I finished reading Digitalis, the second entry in Ronie Kendig's Discarded Heroes series.
Colton "Cowboy" Neeley is a Marine sniper, the best in the business, and the backbone of the Nightshade team. He struggles with flashbacks from previous missions and does his best as a single father for his daughter, McKenna. And he's also pretty much head-over-heels in love with a beautiful young woman named Piper. But Piper has some deeply buried secrets that, once exposed, could pitch Cowboy and his teammates into the heart of danger.
I really enjoyed the first book, Nightshade, and so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the second one. And I really enjoyed this book. I like Cowboy's distinct voice and I can certainly sympathize with him on his "scouting" nature when he's courting Piper (I had similar tendencies growing up; I probably could have used someone like Max in my life to prod me into action). And once again, Ronie doesn't disappoint when it comes to the action. There are some heart-pounding moments in this book, including one that completely took me by surprise. But I'm not telling you what it is, so there. You'll just have to read it on your own to figure it out.
That said, I'm not sure I liked this one as much as the first book. I think part of it stems from the numerous roadblocks thrown into Piper and Cowboy's paths to keep them apart. I mean, yes, I get it. They can't get together and be happily ever after right away, but there were a few times when I thought the obstacles were contrived.
More problematic was how much of a non-issue Cowboy's flashbacks turned out to be. In the opening pages of the book, we get the feeling that Cowboy's sanity is basically hanging on by a thread, and I kind of expected him to be more of a loose cannon in the rest of the story. But by and large, the flashbacks didn't interfere with what he was doing. Sure, it popped up toward the end, but I'm not entirely sure they were necessary. Maybe it's just me, but that's my opinion.
The only other thing that bugged me was, oddly, about the cover art. I think the models on the cover look too much like the models from the first book. Seriously. Take another look at Nightshade's cover:
Now scroll up and look at Digitalis's cover. Both the man and the woman look pretty similar. I honestly thought that Cowboy and Piper on Digitalis were just older versions of Max and Sydney from the first book. I know, I know, minor point and I should have known better (I mean, Max is wearing a Navy uniform whereas Cowboy is wearing a Marine uniform), but there you go.
Really, though, I did thoroughly enjoy this book and I've already put in my pre-order for Wolfsbane. It'll be fun and exciting to hit the field with the Nightshade crew again.