I'm a crazy chick who somehow ended up a volunteer reviewer for Miss Portia de Moncur. I read m/m books and review them as honestly and passionately as I can.
This is a very peculiar story which I admit sneaks in that old favorite shelf of mine.
Dystopian setting in a world where society is not split in half but rather in thirds. There are the aristocrats who enjoy the freedom and wealth, there are the slaves who are actually lucky humans to have a nice upbringing and learn how to please a master and therefore given a position into a household, being cared and provided for, and there are the dregs. People with no family and a life that is lower than that of a dog.
Our characters are Demetrie and Sev (Seven); One is a rebellious aristocrat who’s had enough being held prisoner to his golden chain, always expected to conform to society’s expectations. Get married for the sake of heirs, accumulate health, and ignore your true desires. The other is a dreg, a mongrel at that. He has no family, raised by the gypsies, and won in a cheating game by a man who covets his talents. He is an acrobat and an exquisite thief. Mostly he is rare and has a subservient nature, one that walks hand in hand with the dark side of Demetrie.
When the young Count wins Sev in a card game the last he expected was to find his other half, but no one is more surprised than Sev himself with how much he came to love and adore his Master. But will that love stay strong if all a person could dream would become reality? Would Sev choose his Master over a secured wealthy life?
As I said, this genre and subgenre are my favorite. Blend in a dystopia with a good Master/slave scenario and I’m hooked. Honestly, I read this in one go and it was mostly a good story. I liked it most of it, I loved the idea, and the characters were quite charming. The erotic part was alluring to a fault (at least for me), Sev’s submission coming easily, and effortlessly, the setting provided perfect for such displays. I must say some emotions were a bit too hasty in their appearance or hastily dismissed and the tension they should have provided was lost somewhere, not quite making it up to the reader.
I did not feel as good about the narration and writing style, too. It is highly inconvenient knowing everyone’s thoughts all the time. It takes away all the suspense and intensity when you know beforehand what will happen. You just resign yourself into a read that has no anticipation at all, no reasons to keep you there.
The fact that there is such a quick love bond formed between Master and slave was also a put off. One would argue that a month is more than enough, and if this were a contemporary romance with contemporary characters, I’d agree according to circumstances. However, in a world where distrust and cynicism are in full bloom I didn’t see this happening as easy as it did. Add to that the decision Demetrie took in the end and it lost quite a large portion of any credibility it held in my eyes.
However, this was still a good read for me, one I enjoyed, and one I was glad to have read in the end.