Rating: 1.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
After the murder of his fiancé, First Lieutenant Brett DeMarco is nearing the time in his life when he has to make his choices. In this day and age, a man of his age (almost twenty-five) must decide if he wants to marry and whom, as well as his career path in life. If he refuses to take a spouse, he will be sterilized and never be allowed to marry. Refusing to take any of the men his controlling father has chosen for him, Brett mulls over his options while pining for the base commander’s personal assistant.
Brett knows that there is an order for everyone to stay away from Orion, but he can’t seem to make himself follow it. Orion is not only beautiful, but contrary to popular belief, the mute man is intelligent. Brett knows it’s near impossible to take Orion as his husband, but he’ll never forgive himself if he doesn’t try.
Orion Hellman lives every day with the knowledge that he will never be able to marry. His life was carved before he had the chance to make any decisions for himself. With the death of his family, Orion’s path was marked. Now, personal assistant to a tyrant, Orion bides his time until he can make his move, but there’s one thing that he didn’t count on: his feelings for Brett DeMarco.
When a terrorist group hacks the national television network speaking of mass gravesites and the murder of Aelland innocent citizens, Brett begins an investigation into who the group is and whether or not the information they’ve given is true. With little to go on, Brett doesn’t find much, but when he questions the military’s actions, he realizes he has put himself in danger.
Now on the run, Brett is both shocked and confused to discover Orion’s role in the movement to free Aelland from tyranny. But in order to survive, Brett will have to learn to trust Orion and his group regardless of the number of secrets and truths that come to light.
In the spirit of full disclosure, this book is the fourteenth book in the New Reality series. The different books in the series are written by a variety of different authors and this appears to be the first written by Simone Anderson (and possibly the first m/m installment, though there may be others). That being said, when we were offered this book for review, we were told that it was a standalone. I read the book on that basis and did not find out it was part of a series until I was done. Had I read the thirteen books before, maybe I would a have understood the world and the characters better. As is, I didn’t click with what I think the author was trying to portray. So this is my review of a book that is part of a series of which I have not read any previous installments.
I’m going to go ahead and say it. I did not like this book. I’m not sure if I can write this review without being harsh, but this book was hard to finish. Honestly I can’t think of one single thing that I really liked about it. The premise is okay but it’s not very strong and the back story is spotty at best. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me start at the beginning. The first thing that threw me off was the introduction to several characters by name only. By saying that, I mean the author would name a character but not give any information about them. For example, the author introduces two characters, Teren and Orion, in the first few paragraphs but gives no more information for a while. Brett mentions Taren in passing, but doesn’t tell who he is. The same thing with Orion. So as I’m reading, I’m wondering who in the world this guy is talking about. It’s frustrating and poor form, to say the least. There are several characters in this story that kind of show up and are lost in the mix.
All around the characterization is poor and inconsistent, Orion’s especially. In the beginning of the book, Orion is a mute who plays the part of an idiot (their words not mine), but his motives aren’t revealed until later. I have a few issues with him. First, when he’s introduced, he plays this helpless, sort of submissive character, but when the revolution begins, he’s suddenly this headstrong, fairly confident leader. Then sometimes he’s pretty sure that he wants to be with Brett and other times he’s trying to push the guy away. Also, and probably the thing that irritates me the most, is Orion’s ability to speak. One second he’s mute and the next he’s talking. And not only is he talking, but he’s doing so like he’s done it for years without any problem, when, in fact, he has not spoken for decades. I think the author tries to alleviate some of the lack of believability by making him speak one word sentences when he gets tired, but instead of making him sound tired, it simply makes him sound like he’s losing brain cells instead of energy.
While I’m still of the subject of characters, I’ll talk about Brett. Brett’s a fickle boy. He wants Orion, but then he doesn’t. He loves Orion, but then he doesn’t… not yet anyway. He loved Taren, but not as much as he loves Orion (when he actually loves Orion). The only thing I can say for him is that he is consistently inconsistent. I didn’t really feel anything for him. He was pretty much just there. I didn’t have a connection to him and really only wanted him to stop whining about his choices and his family and his job and his relationship with Orion.
Okay, characters out of the way, I want to talk about the writing and storytelling. The storytelling was spotty. There is so much skipped over and so much this author expects readers to know about this world and these characters. The histories of the characters are minimal at best. I mean, Orion was in a sort of boarding school and his torture and trauma is summarized in like one sentence. And ohmigod, the epithets in this story. If I read “the man” once, I read it ten thousand times. At least. And it’s not that I’m an epithet snob. I’m totally okay with it, but this overabundance is grating. The editing is minimal at best.
The world building is lacking in this story. The author throws some juicy bits out there, but never gives a full story. Aelland is a dystopian society masked as utopia. This is the premise that drew me in, the only thing that held even a fraction of my attention. The revolution was the only sort of exciting event in this story. But there’s not a solid foundation to this world. The history is spotty and weak at best.
As much as I wanted to like this book, because I love a good dystopian romance, this story did absolutely nothing for me. So unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book, but I’m a firm believer in the saying, “No two people read the same book.” I stand by my review, but what I dislike, many may like. This review is simply my opinion.