Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Everything in his life that should have been profound had been nameless. Life and death, fucking and killing—it should have been profound. It should have resonated. He wanted it to, with Ace. He just wanted something to matter, for once.
Ashoka “Ace” King is known as a crim, as are most people living in District Three. Between Morality Laws and rules that target those without jobs or homes, life in Tophet isn’t easy for those not in the upper realms of society. On top of it all, they all have to be on the constant look out for the ATU, a police force known to kill at random.
One unlucky night, Ace runs into a member of the ATU. He’s forced to make a split-second decision that puts his life in danger and makes him a target for the ATU. What he doesn’t expect is for that decision to lead him to Soren Lau, the ATU agent who just couldn’t seem to pull the trigger when ordered.
After a sordid tryst, the two become irrevocably entwined. But they’re on two different sides, and when fate brings them together yet another time, they both have to make a choice and decide which side they want to end up on.
“What would you do?” he asked. “If you were me, standing at the edge of the world. Would you run back toward solid ground, or would you jump?”
“I caught you once, didn’t I?”
One of my favorite things in books is when they are able to build this world that feels so vivid it’s nearly tangible. I was hoping to get that out of this book, and I did. The authors managed to weave in details of life in Tophet without making the book heavy with them, they intrigued me as a reader and made a society that I felt lucky to get to see and lucky to not have to live in… or do I?
Sometimes I think I can read a bit too much into things. My career involves social justice and advocacy, so upon reading this, bells went off in my head. A society where the people meant to protect us are causing harm, particularly to those in poverty? A society that marks people as criminals like it’s a brand that will forever be embedded in their skin? A society divided not by right and wrong but by the money in your pocket? So yeah, let’s just say I connected with that, and as much as it pained me, it was so wonderfully done. This society that is labeled as dystopian but somehow resembles bits of our own? If that’s not intriguing and thought-provoking, I don’t know what is.
But onto other matters, the characters. Ace and Soren together managed to create this almost devastating couple that shouldn’t work but did. Soren is questioning his role and all he’s dedicated himself to, and Ace is struggling just to survive. But these characters are anything but weak. Being able to watch them in their own battles was a real treat, especially when it resulted in their growth.
My absolute biggest complaint is that I wanted more. It ended just as it was getting good, and while I was satisfied to an extent, I definitely will be wanting more not only of this universe, but also these characters. Where do they go from here? I don’t know. I hope that I’ll find out though.
I really appreciate the cover art by L.C. Chase. It is very simple but provides a stark image and helps me visualize Soren without giving me all the intricacies of detail that readers like to fill in for themselves.
Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | All Romance | Amazon | Buy It Here
ebook, 134 pages
Expected publication: July 20th 2015 by Riptide