There’s just something about military romances that draw me in like a moth to a flame. And of all the military romances I’ve read, Rebecca Yarros’ Flight and Glory Series ranks high up there on my list as some of the most moving books I’ve read in this particular sub-genre. I’ve read both Full Measures and Eyes Turned Skyward but Beyond What is Given, which tells Sam and Grayson’s story, takes the cake!
Lt. Grayson Masters is focused on graduating the Apache helicopter course, and the last thing he needs is his gorgeous new roommate Samantha Fitzgerald distracting him. While her smart mouth and free spirit are irresistibly irritating, he can’t deny their off-the-charts chemistry, no matter how hard he tries.
Beyond What is Given follows Samantha and Grayson’s story, how they found each other and fought all the odds stacked against them. And trust me, in the spirit of not giving anything away, let’s just say that there was a huge and precarious stack of odds that threatened to topple over and crush what they had with every choice these two conflicted characters made.
Samantha Fitzgerald is a character many readers can relate to. She’s headstrong, sarcastic, and every bit the solid heroine every good romance novel needs. But what makes her human is that she’s not perfect, not by a long shot. Sam is running from a mistake that is nearly costing her her entire collegiate career. Sam has built a wall around her heart to keep from making the same mistake. She’s ready for a new start but it all goes to shit when she realizes that whatever she does, that one terrible mistake continues to sabotage whatever fresh start she thinks she has made for herself. Lost and unmoored, Sam struggles to piece her life back together but dark, moody, hot-as-sin Grayson Masters (and Sam’s new roommate) makes it difficult for her to concentrate on anything but wondering how those rock hard abs feel.
But if Sam had brick walls, Grayson makes hers look like a garden fence compared to his. I guess what drew Sam and Grayson together was the fact that they were both running from their pasts. There’s always something more to the dark, moody, brooding guy of the story and Grayson does not disappoint. Grayson is dead set on topping his class to prove himself but being a serious pilot barely skims what is haunting this man. Grayson is also running from a past he can’t escape, tethered to a tragedy by the guilt that he carries even five years later. When Sam comes into the picture, Grayson was unsure how to deal with the foreign feelings his wild spitfire of a housemate stirs up in him, feelings that he believed died long ago in the same accident that changed him.
But when the past they’re desperate to leave behind finally catches up with them, both Sam and Grayson had to find the strength to hold on tight. And just when you thought they finally figured it out, Fate throws a wrench in their plans. A pretty big wrench. One the size of Texas, probably. And man, if I thought trying to deny their feelings was bad enough, it had NOTHING on them trying to actually hold on to those feelings in the face of the only thing that can destroy them. And when the dust settled, both Sam and Grayson had to piece themselves back together before they can find each other.
Another thing that is so inherently unique to Rebecca Yarros' Flight and Glory series is that she gives her readers a peek into the world of military families. Written by someone who comes from a military family herself, Beyond What is Given (the entire series, for that matter) depicts an honest and authentic feel of what military families go through. There's no shortage of that as readers also get to experience the family drama between Sam and her mother who, for almost the entirety of the book, is deployed on duty.
Of course, I can't help but mention how flawless the story fit in with the rest of the series and how the characters' lives intertwine with one another. There's Josh and Ember from Full Measures, Jagger, Paisley, Morgan, and Carter from Eyes Turned Skyward... readers feel as if they are immersed in the world of these characters and it provides a sense of continuity between the novels. Even though each book in the series follows a different couple, it doesn't feel chopped up, which, to be honest, often happens in this kind of series format.
Rebecca Yarros wrote Beyond What is Given with the fluidity I’ve come to expect from her first two books. Each page flows seamlessly to the next making the experience as immersive as a book can possibly be. I must admit that Beyond What is Given is definitely emotionally heavier than Full Measures and Eyes Turned Skyward and I admire Rebecca Yarros so much for pulling it off, for bringing to life every gamut of emotion that the story demanded. You know a book is good when you’re still up at 3 in the morning, trying to read past the tears in your eyes. Beyond What is Given is an emotionally-loaded story that would take readers up and down and all the way around but still hold you to your seat until the ride is over.