Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5
In the last surviving cities of a ruined world, the concept of “woman” has been forgotten to history. Those unfortunate enough to lack a Y chromosome live as second-class citizens in a world dominated by mascs.
Ember is Y negative. He is scorned, bullied, abused by every masc he encounters, at work and at the gym. Not even his Y negative roommate cuts him any slack. He wants so desperately to be accepted as a masc that he’d rather buy black market testosterone than food. Something’s gotta give—he needs a change in his life, but has no idea how to find it.
Jess is a masc with a passion for studying the recovery of their devastated world. His boyfriend is pressuring him for more commitment, and his father expects him to take over the family business. He can’t wait to get away from civilization for his seasonal research out in the wild.
When Jess offers Ember a job, their lives collide in the isolated wasteland, and their initial attraction turns into a relationship that horrifies those around them. Soon their struggle to stay together and to be who they are turns into a fight for their lives.
This is going to be a hard review to write, but maybe that is fitting since the story itself was hard for me to read. It became clear as I got further into the book that this was not a story for me. For one thing, when I read a story, I need to feel a connection to at least one of the characters in order to fully engage with it. I didn’t feel that here. Didn’t feel any sort of chemistry between the characters.
The writing style didn’t work for me either, it actually seemed to distance me rather than draw me in. At various parts of the book, I despised pretty much every character, and that is saying something as I’m an easy-going sort of person.
At a few parts I just sat there staring at my kindle with my mouth open. Really. For example, a scene where Jess and Ember are first intimate, Jess’ appalling reaction at seeing him, his lack of caring even when he had to have known how he’d hurt Ember since he’d screamed out his pain and we know from a prior scene the walls are thin… then just telling him an hour later to get out there to work. OMG. No. Especially when Ember was right back to wanting him as if it didn’t happen a few pages later.
And try as I might, this story left me confused, frustrated, and alternately pissed off with various characters. Perhaps if there had been some sort of backstory in the book to explain why women were no longer thought of as women but as Y negatives and well, to explain so much more. Because I was confused.
After finishing the book, I read an article by the author that was published on this site a while back. Perhaps I should have read it before the book, it might have helped a little. But considering that math and science aren’t my thing, it still had my eyes crossing a bit. However, I recommend it prior to reading the story.
Overall, the premise is interesting, but the delivery of it didn’t work well for me personally.
The cover art by Jay Aheer made me look at this story, its dark and haunting and interesting.
ebook, 317 pages
Published November 16th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626493332 (ISBN13: 9781626493339)
other editions (2)