A guest review by Sirius
Summary: Dark scifi adventure with some romance, which I respected a lot.
A past that won’t let go…
After losing his job, Chase Sarim finds himself living in a shit hole apartment. His new neighbor calls himself Seven, wears aluminum hats and carries around a ceramic rooster. He also seems to know what Chase is going to do or say before it happens, and talks about people named, Nine, Three, and Four.
Chase knows better than to get involved with someone like that.
But some men are just to hot too resist.
A future of fear…
Seven has been running for his life ever since he escaped Sub-Floor. In order to elude those hunting him he can never have a home, never have friends…and love? It’s nothing but a weakness that can be used against him.
Hiding had become a way of life. Until Chase.
Greed, power, and corruption…
Dr. David Stone knows Seven has a secret. Why else would his colleague, Dr. Radcliff, help Seven escape Sub-Floor?
It wasn’t the loss of a defective precog that bothered Stone, it was the fact Radcliff was willing to die to keep Stone from knowing why he did it. Or better yet, how.
Two men, one love, brought together by a series of impossible circumstances and destined by fate for an entangled future.
But maybe fate has nothing to do with it.
I have heard a lot of good things about this writer’s works and her works are in scifi/fantasy genres both of which I really like. However for no particular reason I seemed to avoid reading her works. Finally I decided that I have to give it a try. I definitely understand good reviews of her works, but I am also sure now that my subconscious decision to avoid her works was correct and that is what I am going to continue to do in the future. The reason being is that I spent at least couple days talking myself out of being mad at one particular character in the book. I was supposed to write this review last week and I felt that writing this review right after reading the book would not be fair to the book. I needed “cool off” time :).
One more thing – I literary agonized with the rating of this one. I mean all reviews are subjective, just one reader’s opinion, but usually when I rate I have no problem downgrading the story if I did not like something, but my dislike should also not fit within the story. If I just hated a character, a plot turn, whatever it was, but in my opinion it worked within the story, I will either not downgrade, or just downgrade a little bit. So eventually the rating became what you see. There were some niggles which caused me to do that and which had nothing to do with my intense dislike for specific character.
I really loved the settings in this story. I thought the author weaved the scifi part of the story in “our” world” seamlessly. At some point when I was reading I had to pinch myself and remind myself that the story is indeed a science fiction despite being not dated and having the feel of “our” time otherwise. I had to remind myself that awful experiments that Dr. Stone did on Seven and his friends could not happen in reality. Or actually could they? The blurb does not go in details in what exactly was happening on the Sub Floor, so I will not go into details either, but if you read it and think about it, I am sure you recognize at least remote possibility that something close to it may at some point happen. Maybe I have a wild imagination.
Now, about the romance, I am not sure whether this story is a romance despite having a romantic storyline which ends up with a strong HFN ending, or maybe with HEA, because I did not doubt that their love was strong. I call it HFN for a different reason which would be spoilerish to discuss in my review, but I will be curious to hear if those who have read it agree with me or not. I wonder if the story is a romance in a traditional sense of the word because I felt like I was reading a non stop adventure/triller with lots of action and in between the main characters got attracted to each other really fast and then they had to participate in a lot of action. It worked for me mostly, but as I said, I am not sure about the story being a traditional romance.
And now I am going to try to explain why I agonized over the rating so much. I hate manipulative characters, they push my buttons usually. There is a master manipulator in this book who would go all the way (like killing lots of people if needed) to stop the evil mastermind. The degrees to which he went to me went beyond all “ends justify the means” argument, although I can see the opposite POV. Now I was thinking the story over for few days and was trying to decide whether I just hated him or some of his actions did not work for me, jerked me out of the story. I think they did a little bit because I felt that because of his actions Chase and Seven sometimes lost agency, I felt like they were the pawns on his desk and I just do not like feeling that way about main characters.
Another niggle I had that villain was just way over the top for me. I mean, not to the degree that he felt like a cartoon character twirling his mustache, but overall he was just too much for me. I understand that at the end the author was trying to give him motivations, but for me it still did not feel enough to humanize him. Maybe because that piece of information was given so close to the end and I was feeling like – “whatever, please disappear now”? I do not know.
Recommended, but it will not be a reread for me.