This is the 5th book in Natalie’s Badlands series, but instead of staying ith our original 3 couples, we’ve jumped forward a couple of decades and we’re dealing with everyone’s kids. Degenerates is Adelaide and Zane’s story. She’s the Savage Princess and he’s the Venomous Prince.
Before we get into the story, here’s the list of all the kids and their parents. And I say kids, but the older ones are in their 20s. Now, considering that I have a 23 year old son, I feel perfectly justified in calling them kids. So, Romero and Cali have Adelaide, Lucifage (m), and Belladonna. Grim and Arlen have Nyx (f), who has a pet crow named Charon, and Samael (m). Blue and Cobra’s kids are twins Cameron and Braxton, who is also called Butcher, and then daughter Lilith. Adelaide and Nyx are best friends. Nyx and Butcher are in a relationship. Lucifage, Adelaide, Cameron, Butcher, and Nyx all hang out together, while Belladonna, Lilith, and Samael are all tight.
On the Venom side, we have Zane, who doesn’t have any biological brothers, but he considers Malaki and Marcus his brothers. Now that we have all that, let’s get into the story.
Adelaide finds out that her sister Bella and her cousins Lilith and Samael have gone off. While Romero wants to send out all the acolytes to find his little girl and the rest of his family, she convinces him to let her go do it. She tells him that she will take Nyx and her acolyte/bodyguard, Annie. Romero is all good with that, but Romero being Romero, isn’t going to let it stay that way. He arranges for Lucifage, Butcher, and Cameron to go as well. And off towards the unknown they go.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Badlands, Zane, Malaki, Trix, and Ace are working on Ace’s initiation, which involves getting rid of some people who screwed Ace’s family over. It ain’t pretty. As they are leaving, they see a young woman with the Savages’ inverted cross tattooed on her running away while she’s yelling that he’s coming.
Then, along comes Adelaide and her entourage and they rescue that woman and run into the Venom, where Zane points Addy’s own gun right at her head. Definitely a romantic start when you come to this series, right?
I like Adelaide. She’s my kind of crazy. That being said, I mostly don’t think that she’s quite as hardcore as Callista. Of course, compared to Rome and Cali, Addy had a Leave it to Beaver childhood. Well, the Badlands version thereof. She’s pretty sheltered. She’s been trained in all matter of bad things by her parents, but she’s never really been out of the compound and has only really dealt with areas that the Savages already own. She’s also a virgin, if you can believe that of a young woman living in the middle of the Savages. She’s a really interesting mix of demonic and innocent, naive and worldly. Natalie writes those characters really well.
Zane, OTOH, is completely debauched, deviant, and demonic. There’s not anything innocent about him at all. He is smart and devious. He’s got some big damn plans as to what he’s going to do. I don’t think he thinks quite as far ahead as Romero, but frankly, I don’t think that many people do. I mean, Romero is 2 steps ahead of Satan. I would like to see the two of them conniving together, because I don’t think that the world would survive. I’m pretty sure that Zane and Addy are going to be a helluva power couple. I mean, she is her parents’ daughter.
I’m really looking forward to seeing where the story is going to go. It’s going to be fascinating.
I’m not entirely sure that I trust Lucifage. I want to know who all knew what he was doing. I’m pretty sure that Romero knew, even if Luce doesn’t know that Rome knew. We’ve already pointed out that Rome knows everything. So, that’s going to be interesting to see what’s going to keep happening there.
And Cam, my poor black heart.
OK, that’s all for this one. It’s dark, but not as dark as other books by Natalie, but I know that the next one is going to be yeah…. Happy reading!