Series Review: The Executive Office by Tal Bauer

WOWWWW…. That’s probably the first and only word that comes to mind after finishing this series. I was so immersed in it that I didn’t bother to review each book separately, especially because I didn’t want to stop reading until I finished the whole series. I was not anticipating to love this so much. I usually gravitate towards books from Kindle Unlimited when I need some pick me up romance novels and I never have much expectations but this series just blew my mind and turned that impression on it’s head. I’m never going to underestimate KU books again.

Jack is the newly elected President of US and when in initial chapters it was mentioned that he is a Republican, I instantly grew skeptical. But wow was I wrong. Jack’s character symbolizes that ideal political leader many of us want, a moderate who wants to truly do good for the world, wants to unify the country across ideological lines and is very interested in working hard for world peace and avoid war and devastation as much as possible. He is a strong, cheerful, compassionate person with moments of loneliness and vulnerability. I could really empathize with his need to want normal interactions with people who didn’t have expectations from him. His openness to interact and form relationships with various world leaders is commendable.

Ethan is Jack’s Secret Service detail lead who is referred to by his colleagues as the “Iceman” because of his absolute professionalism while interacting and dealing with his protectees. But everything changes when he meets Jack. Right away, he has this instinct to protect him as well as become friends. He has also never had a relationship before and finds it difficult to keep his feelings about the President secret and objective. We get to see how difficult it is for him to do the job that he loves so much well while trying to keep separate his feelings for Jack.

I just can’t talk enough about their relationship. Jack’s interest in being friends with Ethan and Ethan’s need to protect Jack from the loneliness and the fishbowl that is living in the White House results in them developing a genuine friendship that is so heartwarming to read about. They care for each other, bounce off ideas together and just enjoy spending time together whenever it’s possible. It takes time for Jack to realize his true feelings, but once he comes to terms with the fact that he is probably falling for a man, there is no looking back. I loved that their relationship is very mature and relatively angst free, in the sense that there are no miscommunications or assumptions made. They obviously have to deal with the fall out in the media and the political world, sometimes even in international forums, but I admired the fact that they stuck to their convictions and drew strength from each other to withstand the hate that is thrown their way. They are definitely going to be one of my favorite couples ever.

Jack and Ethan’s love story is the core of this series but I can’t discount the thrilling aspects. The main villain is revealed in the prologue of the first book, but as we go on, we realize that this network and plans are so much more. It might feel like the antagonist is a stereotype who wants to destroy the current world and rule the new one that will rise from the ashes, but I also liked the way his genius tactics and strategies are revealed slowly. His network is vast and everywhere and it was the author’s excellent storytelling that I could guess only one traitor/mole through the whole series. Every other betrayal came totally out of left field, and I was left reeling from it just like our characters.

This series also has some amazing side characters. I loved Ethan’s Secret Service friends – Scott, Levi, Welby and everyone else are warm and friendly and so accepting, it was wonderful. Jack and Ethan’s White House staff are also such loyal people and it was great to see them have such a supportive team. They are also assisted in their efforts to dismantle the villain’s vast international network by Special Forces officer Adam and his team, Prince Faisal of Saudi and most surprisingly, the new President of Russia Sergey. The bonds that all these characters form with each other throughout the series are just so beautifully written and there was not a single one I was not rooting for. Their friendships and loyalties are tested in unimaginable ways but I loved that they never gave up.

This is obviously a political thriller, so there is a lot of action and intrigue. The narrative takes us to many countries throughout the world and the descriptions by the author are very lush and realistic. I especially can’t get the journey through Siberia out of my head. When Jack and Ethan find themselves in dangerous situations making split second decisions, I was just on the edge of my seat. But we also get to know the deepest fears of all the main characters, their feelings, their love and how it affects him and there were so many moments when I cried a lot. And it’s this element of packing an emotional punch in an action/adventure story that impressed me the most. The stakes are high throughout, the future of the world hangs in the balance, but the author still manages to bring some humour to the story, especially during the initial days of Jack and Ethan’s relationship. I was just consumed by the writing all the way.

If you are a fan of political thrillers and enjoy m/m romance, this is the perfect series for you. Just be ready for suspension of disbelief and get consumed in this beautifully written passionate love story with world altering consequences. I promise you it’s a very fun ride. This is also an ownvoices series and I implore you to read the author’s note at the end of the series to get to know more about the amazing research that was done to bring these characters to life.

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