One Breath One Bullet by S.A. McAuley ~ Review by Optimist ♰King’s Wench♰

I picked this series because I like angry sex/enemies to lovers/warriors/gladiators/military men. One Breath One Bullet has ALL that and it’s dystopian with a little cyberpunk! Win/win/win!

17258549Title:  One Breath One Bullet (Border Wars #1)

Author:  S.A. McAuley

Publisher:  Totally Bound

Rating: 3.5ish out of 5 Stars

From the Publisher

The world has only recently emerged from a three-hundred-year war which saw half of the world’s population wiped out and the rise of five superpowers. Despite the hundreds of millions who died, the Borders War was nearly bloodless because of the sonicrifle—weaponized sound waves, tuned to their highest frequency, and harnessed to kill. 

Merq Grayson has known only war. He is an orphan, a skilled Peacemaker, soldier, and sniper. And it is his destiny to right the wrong created by his grandfather six generations removed—the man who invented the sonicbullet. 

Armise Darcan is his enemy. A sniper and Dark Ops officer who fought for the People’s Republic of Singapore in the Borders War, Armise may be the only person on the planet strong enough to keep Merq from completing his mission. 

Their loyalties are to conflicting countries and diverging agendas, and despite the very real threat to their lives if they’re discovered, Merq and Armise keep finding their way into each other’s beds. It is a drive which Merq is sure will kill him one day. 

But how much time either of them has is questionable. As Opposition is pitted against Revolution, the Borders War reignites, and Merq and Armise have to decide where, and with whom, their real loyalties lie.

My View

Ordinarily it annoys the bejesus out of me to have an author repeat things, but I actually appreciated it here. There are frequent time jumps and many acronyms which could easily have become overwhelming. Ms. McAuley did a great job of not always using the acronym, repeating the important things and delineating the time jumps. She also gives a time line as well as a list of characters at the end.

The world building is good. This being my first experience with this author I can tell she has an active imagination and this version of Earth is a living breathing entity in her mind. Her strengths lie in describing it in palpable detail from the locations to the scents. Quite engaging indeed. I loved the Olympics tie in with the 5 Olympic rings/5 Superpowers. There hasn’t been an Olympics in 300 years and this one sounded very gladiatoresque. Always a win in my book. The Olympic stadium even has an underground series of tunnels. RAWR!

As for Merq and Armise, I have this… fondness for big, muscle-y guys who are bottoms and/or submissive and Armise is “massive”. He’s about twice the size of Merq. He always puts up a good fight-another weakness of mine-and he always loses. Nothing I like better than a violent fight for dominance where the presumed loser wins. Maybe it’s a David and Goliath thing. Maybe it’s the unexpectedness of it all. Why ask why? The relationship between these two is the heartbeat of this installment and I suspect the entire series. The whole can I trust you? Why do I feel this way about my enemy? Why do I want him so badly? Why does he keep showing up and doing things that make me question him? thing is a great relationship and tension builder. The flashback retelling of the 13 years he and Armise have been crashing into one another facilitates the character development to a degree. Well, at least on Merq’s part. Merq doesn’t trust anyone but he is loyal, perhaps to a fault. His mantra proves that he is a soldier to his very core:

One breath.


Hesitation is my enemy.

Solitude my ally.

Death the only real victory.


Arsime is a bit of an enigma at this point, so I’m eager to get to the next installment and hopeful his motivations and characterization will be delved into a bit more.

What I had trouble with was the catalyst of the Border Wars; it seemed a bit flimsy. Maybe it will get fleshed out in the next installment and make more sense, but at this point I don’t get it. The characterizations need more substance than Merq having a lip piercing and being a bad ass soldier, though I cannot tell a lie the piercing holds promise. Also, the time jumps were well demarcated but nonetheless jarring which is why I’m wavering in the 3.5ish stars range.

Where to Buy

Totally Bound



I would like to thank Total-E-Bound for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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