A Free Dreamer Review: The Starving Years by Jordan Castillo Price

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Starving Years right coverImagine a world without hunger. In 1960, a superfood was invented that made starvation a thing of the past. Manna, the cheaply manufactured staple food, is now as ubiquitous as salt in the world’s cupboards, pantries and larders.

Nelson Oliver knows plenty about manna. He’s a food scientist—according to his diploma, that is. Lately, he’s been running the register at the local video rental dive to scrape together the cash for his exorbitantly priced migraine medication.

In a job fair gone bad, Nelson hooks up with copywriter Javier and his computer-geek pal Tim, who whisks them away from the worst of the fiasco in his repurposed moving truck. At least, Nelson thinks those two are acquainted, but they’re acting so evasive about it, he’s not sure how they know each other, exactly.

Javier is impervious to Nelson’s flirting, and Tim’s name could appear in the dictionary under the entry for “awkward.” And with a riot raging through Manhattan and yet another headache coming on, it doesn’t seem like Nelson will get an answer anytime soon. One thing’s for sure, the tension between the three of them is thick enough to cut with a knife…even one of those dull plastic dealies that come in the package with Mannariffic EZ-Mealz.

When reading the blurb for this book, I’d hoped for a well-developed dystopian story that happens to have gay MCs. Unfortunately, the story didn’t quite live up to my hopes.

The thing that bothered me the most was the severe lack of world building. There’s manna, some sort of artificial food thing. Almost everybody eats that stuff instead of real food. We never do find out why this became so popular, nor do we find out what it’s made of or how it is produced. That’s a real shame, because the concept was certainly very interesting.

Another thing was the whole thing about a man “putting his mark” on a (pregnant) woman. It seems to be a big deal and very important and yet we never learn the how and the why. Apparently not having a father for your child is a huge thing in this society, but the author failed to explain why.

Overall, the story could have used a bit more depth. All three MCs were thinking with their dicks a little too much for my taste. And the love was a bit too insta for me. But at least the sex was hot.

All three MCs had an interesting past. They could have used a bit more depth too, though.

The plot was engaging and a nice change from your run of the mill m/m romance plot. There actually was a real plot here. Some revelations were a bit foreseeable but overall I definitely wasn’t bored.

All in all, “The Starving Years” had a little too much romance for me and too little actual depth and world building. The plot and the MCs were interesting though, and I felt well entertained.

If you’re looking for M/M romance with a bit of a dystopian feel to it, you’ll probably enjoy this more than I did, since I’d hoped for a solid dystopia with a bit of romance.

Cover: The cover by Jordan Castillo Price shows a man with duct tape over his mouth. Judging by the cover alone, I’d almost expect a BDSM story. I don’t think I would have checked this out, if I hadn’t seen an edition with a different cover first.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 286 pages
Published March 5th 2012 by JCP Books LLC (first published March 3rd 2012)
ISBN139781935540434
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://jordancastilloprice.com/starvingyears/index.html settingNew York (United States)

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