Review: The Hidden Talents Trilogy by Claire Cray

Klaus Gadamer Academy has made a fortune by enslaving Talents and peddling their psychic skills to the global elite. But not all Talents can be tamed: Jackson Gadamer, KGA’s top precognitive, has been scheming to take them down. With the help of his trusted subordinate, the mischievous telepath Jin, Jackson is ready to set those plans in motion.

When Jin makes contact with a group of rogue Talents in Paris, he finds more drama than he bargained for. But there’s one who instantly captures his attention: Ken, a mysterious boy with a dark past, a surly attitude, and an aura of power Jin can’t decipher. Now all he wants is to figure Ken out…whether Ken likes it or not.

But Ken’s icy glares aren’t the only challenge. Jin is surprised to find an old acquaintance of his among the Paris Talents: Sky, a beautiful blond empath and former yakuza consort, is furious to see him, and not just because Jin knows how to get under his skin. It turns out Ken is Sky’s younger brother…and Sky is determined to stand between them.

Jin is on the run from the KGA, an organisation that farms Talents for their psychic and physical abilities, making billions of dollars from what they perceive is a disposable resource. A change of leadership within the organisation, has prompted the grandson of the founder, Jackson Gadamar, the most powerful precognitive alive, to enact his plan to take down the organisation, and Jin is an important player.

Jin has been told he will find a group of hybrid-Talents, those with combined physical and psychic abilities, in Paris, and he is to join with them as the first step of the plan in taking down KGA.

The hybrids’ are a group of broken men, struggling with death and destruction within their group. Grieving for not only those who died, but the one who betrayed them all.

This story is told from multiple points of view, but don’t let that deter you. This is an important part of building the story, and understanding each member of the group.

Ken is the most mysterious. Growing up in a cage, with no outside contact until six months ago, he is sharp, intelligent, and gives nothing away. His brother Sky, is a broken man, a former plaything of a Yakuza boss, he was aware of Ken’s plight through their psychic bond for most of his life, but was too drugged out to do anything but lay around, listening to his brothers pleas for help. This causes problems in the now reunited brothers, as Ken is unforgiving and Sky has misguided ways of trying to protect his brother now that he is safe.

Lip is the level headed one. He appears to be the unofficial leader, along with Mark. Both highly trained paramilitary defectors, who have started their own underground organisation, KRSI. Each one important in keeping the dysfunctional group grounded, safe, and healing.

Aki had his mind shredded by one of the previous members of the group in a psychic attack, along with his lover, Luke. Aki is trying to heal his mind, but his shields are exceptionally thin, and any psychic brushing against his mind causes him agony. With the death of his lover, he is just barely hanging on, and trying to look out for Ken.

This story is dark. I didn’t realise how dark it would be. Jin appears almost villain-like. An anti-hero with his games, and twisted interactions. He is fascinated by Ken, and uses that fascination to aggravate Sky, whom he has a past with. He knows just how to get what he wants from Sky, and Sky always folds to the torment. He’s almost ADHD with his moods, always moving, always needing entertainment. He was obviously utilized a lot by Jackson at the KGA and is finding it difficult to be a fugitive with nothing to do but hide.

This is an excellent start to the series. I was transported into this world with these broken men, and their trauma. It was difficult to read some things, because we get almost everyone’s point of view, therefore we get almost everyone’s stories, their pain and struggles. The information is extensive, but evenly delivered in a way that is not overwhelming. Precisely placed to give the entire picture of where they all fit in.

The sex in this story is hot, and plentiful. And as the story progresses the characters confess that sex and fighting has been about all they’ve done for a long while. Sometimes it is used as a weapon, and sometimes it is used as a distraction, but either way, it is delivered in a way that fits the story, and is all consuming.

At times I struggled with my own frustration, and how much worse it seems to get for these people. I count that as a win on engaging me emotionally, as well as intellectually with the psychic and enhanced physicality of these men. I’m eager to know more about the Talents. I want to know more about the construction of the KGA. What it actually does, besides create a monopoly using psychic and pseudo-military tactics to earn money.

And then there is the Key Prophecy. A single person whose genetic code will create super-humans who cannot die. KGA wants this person, and Jackson is determined to get to them first. This isn’t a well-kept secret within the story, but what is kept secret is what this person can supposedly do.

This story, obviously, ends on a cliffhanger, but it is in no way frustrating. I can see where it is all leading. It is just a matter of how it gets there.

I am excited by this story, I’m eager to get on with book #2.

Recommended for those who like paranormal/suspense style stories. Be warned, there is dub-con; mentions of slavery, extreme torture, and abuse; mentions of sexual exploitation of minors; mention of off-page mutilation, off-page suicide, mentions of off-page domestic abuse and rape, and death of secondary characters.

Rogue psychics with devious plans. Mysterious youths with shocking pasts. Tangled webs of sex, love and madness. Enter the world of Talents: Born with extraordinary powers, these outsiders rely on each other to survive.

There’s only person in the world Jin trusts: his boss, the ruthless precognitive Jackson Gadamer. When Jackson gave the bizarre order to run off and seek refuge with a rogue group of Talents until further notice, Jin didn’t hesitate. But the waiting game is more complicated than the rebellious telepath expected…and the company much more compelling.

Ken is a total enigma. With mismatched green eyes, head-to-toe scars and a glare that could freeze the sun, the mysterious young Talent has Jin captivated to the point of obsession. The secretive brat seems determined to keep his true powers hidden. But when one of his psychic abilities spiral outs of control, it’s Jin who comes to the rescue…and Ken starts to see the telepath in a different light.

As Jin finally starts to bond with Ken, he starts to wonder how the strange young Talent figures into Jackson’s plans. It’s hard to question a man who can see the future, but there’s something about Ken that Jin wants to keep to himself. When Ken’s curiosity turns into a tantalizing invitation, Jin realizes he’s in over his head…and all he wants to do is dive even deeper.

Content warnings: Multiple m/m sex scenes and a little m/f; references to past abuse, human trafficking, suicide and psychological trauma; violence; explicit language; hurt/comfort themes; unhinged psychics with dubious morals; fun.

Things are heating up for the hybrid Talents and with KGA putting all their resources into finding the rogue telepath Jin, the group from KRSI have been forced to move across the world to California.

But the drama doesn’t end when they land in sunny Los Angeles. It has only just begun.

Talents are waking from the dead, Ken is realising his powers, and his suspicions of Jackson Gadamar’s motives for joining forces are creating conflict with Jin.

The second book in this trilogy is just as good as the first, and continues the dramatic lives of these broken souls.

Everyone is damaged. Everyone is hurting. And the games Jackson is playing in the background is causing more chaos.

This series is fascinating. I haven’t put it down for a second. I am shirking my responsibilities of house cleaning, and going to Costco because I want to find out how this is going to play out.

The darkness within each character is still apparent, although Aki is starting to heal his body and mind after his tragic loss, and the destruction of his mental shields. It is good to see some life in him, and even a smile. His relationship with Ken is helping him to get stronger, and he’s warming up to Jin.

KSRI now has to be built from the ground up, which is taking up all of Lip’s and Kel’s time.
Mark is still torn about his feelings for Jen, who destroyed Luke, damaged Aki, and tore the group apart with grief.

Sky is notably absent in this story. I hope we’ll come back to him in the final installment. I want him to redeem himself, and become someone strong, and lose the self-loathing.

The character building is exceptional. There is a depth there with every single person in this story, even those without a solid point of view. The focus is more on Ken, Jin, Aki, and Jackson, as everything slots into place for the next book. It is difficult to understand Jackson’s motives because he appears to be working counter-intuitively towards a finale of epic proportions. While Jin is redeeming himself, Jackson now appears to be the anti-hero in this book. There is enough information to believe that this is for the good of everyone, but I am not entirely convinced his motives are altruistic.

There is erotic content in this book. There is also M/F sex in this story, although not as graphic as the M/M encounters. I know this can be a bone of contention with some M/M readers (although I don’t know why), but I had no problems with it. There are at least two characters in this series who are bisexual, and don’t hide it at all. There is less sex in this book than the first, as all the characters start focusing more on protecting themselves than merely existing in their bubble.

With the groundwork laid in the first book, there isn’t much more to say about this story without giving away the plot. But it is fast paced, well thought-out, and leading me into some sort of epic resolution.

I only hope that everyone survives.

Recommended for those who enjoyed the first book. This is not a standalone book and it is strongly encouraged to read the first in this trilogy before reading this, otherwise the relationships and interactions won’t make sense.

Trigger warnings: suicide, suicidal ideations, severe depression, and violence.

Ken never expected to be spending most of his time with a sneaky, irritating telepath. He knows Jin can't be trusted, that he's just a double agent for the precognitive Jackson Gadamer, that there are hidden motives behind those endless smirks and hungry looks. So why hasn't Ken pushed him away by now? How did the telepath get so close?

Jackson's cryptic methods are starting to wear on Jin, but working for a precognitive means silencing your own judgment. Still, it's getting hard to remember why he's taking orders from anyone but Ken. Falling for the strange, frighteningly powerful young Talent was a stupid idea, but now all Jin wants is to keep Ken to himself — and away from KGA.

Jackson’s been plotting to overthrow KGA since he was old enough to matter. Now the brutal psychic organization is closing in on the Talents, and his plans are about to be tested. All he needs is for Ken and Jin to play their roles. But when Jackson's prophecies catch up with the force of nature that is Ken, not even the precognitive can predict just how this battle will unfold — or who will make it out alive.

Content warnings: Multiple m/m sex scenes and a little m/f; major character death; references to past abuse, human trafficking, suicide and psychological trauma; violence; explicit language; hurt/comfort themes; unhinged psychics with dubious morals; fun.

The finale of this series continued well from the second book. There is still a lot of drama, but it is well thought out and starts to lead to resolutions.

Ken is developing his power as his confidence grows. His brother has left him alone and he is able to breath without the frustration of Sky interfering with him.

His relationship with Jin is getting stronger, even though he’s not really sure what is happening between them. Jin is falling in love, and hopes to pull Ken into the relationship with him.

Jackson’s plans are almost complete. He has been maneuvering for decades and he is about to get his victory, or so he thinks.

There were a lot of twists to this final installment, even though they weren’t overly surprising. The setup was there, but could be missed if one was considering a different outcome. There a few very sharp turns that left me breathless, and wanting.

The descriptive text was great. I really was all in with this series, and the writing style helped keep me in the story.

Some minor errors in editing, but nothing that pulled me too far out of the story.

The sex in this story was more romantic - out of the three books, this one had the element of romance in it that the others did not. It was still hot and engaging, with a more tender element to it.

I was completely invested in the characters, and felt a connection with all of them, even those who were not the nicest of people. I wanted all of them to be happy, to get along, and work together for the fight they were up against.

There were some questions left unanswered in this series, that I was hoping would be. Most of those questions surrounded David, Luke’s brother. I needed a bit more to feel satisfied with his presence. I also needed more from the final battle, but I can see where the author was coming from. It was cunning, so I’ll leave it alone. Ken is also a big question mark. He is the one I most want answers on, but the story is open enough to draw my own conclusions.

All told, this story was good, great even. I enjoyed the wild ride while binge reading. I wish/hope there will be more from this world. I think there is more to be told from these characters, and I hope that they will re-awaken as muses in the author’s mind so I can selfishly consume them.

Trigger warnings: severe depression, suicidal ideations, kidnapping, death of a main character, violence.

Review copies were provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads. can pick up the entire Hidden Talents trilogy for free! Check out the link for details!

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