Incredible dystopian romantic adventure! My emotions were dragged all over the place with this one and I just couldn’t get enough of the heroes and their story.
Caspar Cannon is the hard, brutal face of The Company’s Corps- the military arm that kept all the average citizens following the Company’s Laws and came down harshly on those who broke those laws. The earth has gone through an environmental disaster and a plague leaving its resources few and humanity in danger of extinction so in walk the Company people- former big business- to save the people from themselves. Strict laws are enforced, walled cities built up and those who can’t abide by the new regime are put down or deemed outlaws and nomads. The laws are extreme and the biggest goal is pro-creation even if it has to be legislated and forced. It’s a dreary existence at best. Caspar knows himself for a hypocrite for enforcing the law against those whom he is just like. It’s a death sentence to be deviant in anyway and loving men is the most deviant of all. But it’s his birthday and he plans to celebrate by visiting an illegal underground club outside the walls hopefully to get lucky with the guy he has been watching and has dubbed ‘Blondie’.
Caspar’s birthday becomes the beginning to an adventure of a lifetime. After a club raid, a revolution started and an order to report to the head honcho of the city, Caspar learns that ‘Blondie’ is none other than a Company golden boy and his next assignment. With feelings fluctuating between fear, mistrust, betrayal and anger, Caspar sets out with Blondie to deliver him to a fallout shelter and safety from the revolutionaries. Their journey will be fraught with danger and may result in their deaths. He can’t figure out if Blondie is on the up and up or just playing him before having him up on trial. All the while, he ponders these things and his attraction for Blondie, he must keep his charge safe in the wilderness and protect him when they encounter Nomads who are not what he was led to believe. In fact, nothing is what he was led to believe and he must take stock of everything while danger closes in on him.
The plot of this one was full of depth which captured my attention from the get-go. The story is told first person from Caspar’s perspective. I enjoyed the personality of his voice and he was a good narrator, but I loved Nathaniel/Blondie too and would have loved to have gotten into his head to know what he was thinking after awhile- not at first though because I loved the mystery surrounding him. The story took many delicious twists and turns. It was raw and brutal just like the times these men lived in.
Speaking of the times, the background story behind all this was fantastic. I loved how the author made me see it all and more important- feel it: The Company compounds, the Company culture, the Wilderness, the nomadic culture and even what it did to the people in both places. It was presented in such a way that I got all the details without those same details burying the characters and their story.
Now the characters, they were just as fab as the backstory. Caspar and Nathaniel were the real thing. Both were products of their time and circumstances. Caspar was a highly trained warrior and he did what he had to do. Those around him would have only seen a cold, hard exterior that showed no emotion. It was having his thoughts and knowing that the sterile world he inhabited was slowly killing the warm, loyal man that he really was. I loved seeing Blondie come along and with patience and strength work to bring out Caspar’s humanity again. Their lovemaking is rough and raw with little gentleness. Blondie’s story was equally compelling as Caspar’s if not more so. The author has the gift of giving an objective narration through Caspar allowing the reader to come to his/her own conclusions about Blondie or things going on that Caspar may not have. Other characters were not chintzed on. They were all colorful too.
I hope that future books will tease out some of the secondary characters’ stories more and I really just want more storytelling in this world and from this talented author. Those who enjoy futuristic/dystopian romance that is on the darker, raw and grittier side should give this one a try.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this story.
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