For Sascha, life with Cashiel Michaud has been something of a dream. After failing his Demoted Assessment, he was relegated to the role of brothel slave until Cashiel rescued him. Though their relationship started off rocky, now they have found a happy medium, both in the bedroom and the boardroom. But Cashiel has failed to tell Sascha the truth of the work they do together, work that could see them imprisoned or killed for treason. For Cash, this is a way to protect Sascha, but Sascha sees only lies and betrayal from a man he was starting to trust. In order to protect the fragile nature of what they have, Cashiel must come clean about the reality of his work. But toppling a worldwide institution is far from easy and even more difficult when doing so means risking everything.
Sedition is another wonderful book by Alicia Cameron, and it picks up where its predecessor, Subjection, left off. Sascha and Cashiel are captivating characters and it is extremely easy to get drawn into their story. They are a complex couple, with neither man exactly what he seems, but both of them dedicated to the burgeoning relationship they have begun to create. As with Subjection, Sedition has some technical quirks that are bothersome at best. Though written in first person from both Cash and Sascha’s points of view, there are frequent tense changes, often mid sentence. This is irksome to say the least, but once you get used to the writing style, it doesn’t overly detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. And gone are the viewpoint changes mid-chapter that so dogged Subjection, which made the overall flow of the book a great deal more fluid.
Sascha sees a great deal of person growth in Sedition. He goes from being a cowed slave to a productive and almost equal member of Cashiel’s attempt to dismantle the Miller System, a brutal slave training organization run by his mother. When Cashiel finally reveals the truth of their work, Sascha accepts the dangers of what they are trying to do, even when Cashiel attempts to protect him. He is brave and conflicted and, as a reader, it is easy to connect with Sascha on almost every level. He is far from broken or bowed and it’s a pleasure to watch as he continues to find strength and courage at every turn.
As with the first book, Cashiel is something of a conundrum. He isn’t particularly easy to like. He clearly feels for Sascha, though he never goes so far as to call it love. But he is also a slave owner and believes in the Demoted system. He only wants to see an end to the senseless brutality promoted by his mother. Cashiel realizes that Sascha shouldn’t be a slave, but he doesn’t advocate an end to slavery as a whole. He is somewhat cold and distant and he isn’t above using Sascha to achieve his own goals, though he may feel badly about it. Like Sascha, we can’t help liking parts of Cashiel, but we keep ourselves closed off to the other parts, not quite trusting or believing the depth of his affections. If Sascha is the epitome of courage, then Cashiel is the reality of humanity – a jumbled mess of compassion, hypocrisy and errant emotions.
There are several graphic scenes in Sedition and I caution anyone with significant triggers to be prepared to read around them. One scene in particular requires a pretty strong stomach and certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. That said, these scenes never feel particularly gratuitous and certainly have their place in the overall story arc.
Sedition was a great sequel to Subjection and I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book, Succession, which is already available. Sedition does end on a cliffhanger, so be forewarned, but once people start this series, I suspect they will devour it quickly. It’s almost impossible not to. I strongly recommend Sedition!