Review: Silver: Humanotica, Book 1 by Darcy Abriel

Format read: ebook provided by the author

Release Date: December 14, 2010

Number of Pages: 264

Publisher: Samhain

Formats Available: paperback, ebook

Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon, Samhain Publishing , Barnes & Noble

Blurb:

Born to freedom. Molded into submission. Pleasure is her only weapon.

Humanotica, Book 1

No matter what the law decrees, Entreus is no one’s chattel. And he’s determined that no other humanotic-part human, part robot-spends one more second under the stranglehold of the power-mad government machine. That means doing whatever it takes to advance the cause for freedom. Even seduce a government minister’s favorite toy, a newly minted trinex named Silver.

Silver was a free woman until she committed the ultimate sin-pretending to be male to gain entrance to an exclusive science academy. Her punishment: modification. Now she is equal parts female, male and machine. The property of the secretive, charismatic Lel Kesselbaum, whose appetites push her new sexual abilities to heights of pleasure that make her wonder who is master, who is slave.

Until Entreus bargains his body in exchange for a secret meeting that rekindles her longing for freedom. Yet helping the fiery revolutionary execute his plan isn’t so simple, especially when she discovers her master’s secret-a secret that leaves her heart torn between two men. And one step in the wrong direction could mean death for them all. Warning: Contains wickedly inventive sexual situations and language, including not-so-ordinary body modification and same-sex scenes with BDSM elements. And a most unusual application of decorative silver. Please step away if your taste doesn’t run toward the exotic.

My thoughts:

There’s no other way to say this; this book bothered me.

Before the story begins, the woman Silver used to be risked everything, including her freedom, in order to obtain entrance into her world’s premier scientific and engineering academy. Her desire for independence, for education, as well as her need to for risk-taking, was so great that she defied all the strictures of her society.

But the punishment for defying the rules so publicly was to submit to slavery. Her options were to be one man’s slave, or many. And here’s where things get strange.

Silver chooses to be one man’s plaything rather than be passed around someplace foul and get used up. That’s a choice I understand. it’s what happens after that that drove me a little crazy.

Slavery in this world is based on cybernetics, or humanotics, as it’s called. Many people get cybernetic replacements for missing limbs. But if the percentage of machine parts reaches 51%, it means automatic slavery.

When Silver is punished for her crime, Silver signs herself up for deliberate mechanization past the point of no-return. And the man she is sold to, Lel Kesselbaum, well, he has a fetish for humanotics, particularly males. So, since Silver was female, he fixes that. Silver becomes a trinex; female from the waist up, male from the waist down, and more than 51% machine, and rising with each trip to the Factorium.

Even though her new owner has deliberately not asked the Factorium to alter her brain in any way, Silver seems to have the worst case of Stockholm Syndrome I’ve ever seen. This once fiercely independent woman becomes more and more submissive to her dominant owner with each treatment at the Factorium.

From the blurb, I was expecting Silver’s “real” persona to reassert itself, for there to be some question about where her loyalties might lie. Silver finds she has a dominant streak with others, but she’s all submissive with her master. And her loyalties never come into question. Her heart belongs to her master. But everything he’s done to her is supposed to be okay because he has fallen in love with her, too.

The science fiction parts of this story were fascinating. I found the decadent, fallen-empire politics very reminiscent of the darker parts of Star Wars, and the Roman Empire during the excesses of some of really bad Emperors. The sexual politics and cybernetic control that Entreus is both using and fighting are really wild.

I was way sucked into the story. But I’m so glad Silver is not the main character of the next book. It’s Entreus, the leader of the rebellion. He’s a character with more agency, which makes him a better person to follow.

I give Silver: Humanotica, Book 1–2 and half stars.

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9 thoughts on “Review: Silver: Humanotica, Book 1 by Darcy Abriel

  1. I get why you would find it disturbing. But the world and the concept sound really different. Will you be reading the following book(s) in the series?

    1. Yes, I’ve started book 2 (Haevyn) already. The world and the concept are very interesting. Falling empires are fascinating to watch crumble! It was definitely the point of view character who gave me fits.

  2. Thanks for the great review! This one sounds extremely intense. Cover intrigued me, with its icy yet sensuous tone. But some of those plot developments do sound a bit cray-cray. ^_^

    1. Cray-cray! Now that’s a good one. It is and it made me that way too. Worldbuilding so cool. But…
      It was intense, definitely. I still remembered large swaths of it a week later. But yes, definitely some cray-cray parts.

  3. oh, dear.. i definitely will pass this one. it contains many parts that i still can’t stand in a novel

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