I like something a little darker every now and then. I decided to try out a new author only to find out it is an old author in disguise, this time stepping out of the romance box…
Author: A. M. Sexton
My Rating: 4.75 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Davlova: a poverty-ridden city-state ruled by a tyrannical upper class. Resources are scarce and technology is illegal. But in the slums, revolution is brewing.
Misha is a common pickpocket until his boss gives him a new job. Disguised as a whore, Misha is sent to work for one of the most powerful men in the city. But his real task is far more dangerous: get close to Miguel Donato, and find something – anything – that will help topple Davlova’s corrupt government.
Misha is plunged into the decadent world of the upper class, where slaves are common and even the most perverse pleasure can be found. Although he’s sure Davlova’s elite is involved in something horrific, proof is hard to come by, and Misha begins to fall in love with the man he’s supposed to betray. Then Misha meets Ayo – a sex slave forced by the neural implant in his brain to take pleasure from pain – and everything changes. As the lower class pushes toward a bloody revolution, Misha will find himself caught between his surprising feelings for Donato, his obligations to his clan, and his determination to save Ayo.Warning: This book contains graphic descriptions of violent sexual acts of questionable consent that may be disturbing to some readers.
I don’t usually ask for much from my mm fiction. I want entertainment, I want resolution and satisfaction, I want sexy times. I usually read happier HEA stories and I don’t expect deep meaningful metaphors or commentary on society and the nature of love. However, every once and a while I like delving into something darker, and when I find that commentary, and it can make me think and question without taking me out of the story, I call that a win.
That being said, Release is not for the faint of heart. The characters are flawed and living in a harsh world. I found Misha to be someone you could empathize with but his choices are hard and he is hurt repeatedly. Donato is an evil, sadistic bastard who is easy to hate and yet you want to love Miguel; Ayo just breaks your heart. It was hard to read about the abuse against Misha but almost harder to see, were the times he was loved.
This was not a romance and there was no mistaking that. There was love if you looked, not all of it healthy and none of it easy. Sex was plentiful, and sometimes even loving, though most often brutal. However the story was gripping and powerful and I had a hard time putting it down. It is not a happy story, but it has a hopeful beginning for an end.
There were a few questions I had about the background of the world and the motivations of certain actions that were confusing. There were also a few threads left to be picked up in the next book, but it wasn’t what I would call a cliffhanger ending. I can’t wait for book two to see how things play out.
I would like to thank A. M. Sexton for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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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