Genre: science fiction: dystopian
Queer Representation: cis lesbian, cis bisexual
Warnings: on-page, plot irrelevant rape scene
Vick is more machine than woman, due to a fatal evening with some coworkers and having inadvertently signed her body away to the military upon her death. Kelly is an empath assigned to work with Vick to help channel emotions she can no longer control. Vick has a lot of missing memories, Kelly has a lot of questions, and the military has a lot of operations that require a super soldier. Unfortunately those suppressed memories of Vick’s keep turning up and leading to rage, which compromises both the missions and Vick’s usefulness.
The military wants Vick alive but emotionless. Kelly wants Vick naked and in control of her life. The Fighting Storm organization is crumbling from the inside and it is up to Vick and Kelly to figure out who is out to get them, before Vick destabilizes and takes Kelly down with her.
Premise: fun-super soldier with suppressed trauma needs an empath handler. It’s a natural romance opportunity. The first chapter has solid tension and a seemingly decent plot. Vick is pretty easy to like, and Kelly fleshes out the more you read. Nice start.
Everything unwinds around chapter three. Nonlinear timelines between chapters don’t help, and neither does the flimsy plot, which does not stand up to even a gentle prodding. Fighting Storm is a pseudo-military organization that helps people with their (violent) problems and maybe also is a government entity. The plot tries to establish and then gets repeatedly back-burnered by the romance arc, which starts and stops more often than my car. On the plus side, there’s some psychic sex scenes, which aren’t too bad:
Oh holy hell.
I was the reason she hadn’t satisfied her sexual needs, the reason she was so overwhelmed she was practically ready to explode and had to hold herself in check.
If she’d touched herself, I would have felt it. I would have known exactly who and when and how. Yeah, that would have been awkward for both of us.
Kelly gains three dimensionality as Vick looses hers–a function of the choices Vick makes, yes, but not helpful for the narrative. And at the end we get treated to an on-page rape scene which serves no narrative purpose except tittilation, then a plot/romance conclusion that is not at all satisfying (first part below so you can get the flavor of it):
I clench my jaw as he slips the carving knife under my collar and rips downward, slicing through both my envirosuit and the uniform beneath, all the way to my waist. Another flick severs my bra between my breasts, and the material falls away, baring me to his insane leer. My nipples harden to a painful state as the chill hits them. A glance down his body tells me they aren’t the only the only things that have hardened.
This is the first in a trilogy, but I won’t be reading the others. The book had a lot of promise and a very nice set up for a romance, but the plot was far too flimsy and on-page rape scenes are a big no for me. There were some solid sci-fi elements, but not enough to drive the narrative. I felt like the book tried to walk a 50/50 split between romance and sci fi, and failed to meet the trope expectations of either.
You can have telepathic sex with a hot android lady by buying the book here.