I’m not quite sure where to begin in my review of Silver by Darcy Abriel. This book is book one in her Humanotica series, and I will also be reading and reviewing Haevyn, which is book 2 for Book Lovers Inc.
The thing about Silver is that I’ve never had a book bother me quite so much. On the one hand, it definitely captured my attention. On the other, some of that capture was in the perturbation factor.
Silver is a science fiction romance. I generally like SFR.
Silver takes place in an empire that has probably hit the downward spiral. Think of Rome under the really, really bad emperors, like Tiberius, or Caligula. You know, electing horses to serve in the Senate. Or Star Wars under that fellow we all know and love, the Emperor Palpatine. Remember him? He turned out to be way out there on the Dark Side of the Force.
Decadent empires can give rise (pun possibly intended) to all kinds of disgusting, and manipulative poltical practices. Including the use of sex, and blackmail about sex, as political maneuvering.
Very decadent imperial citizens are often too lazy to work (back to Rome again) so they employ slaves.
In the case of Quentopolis, those slaves are humanotics. Any person with 51% or more cybernetic parts is automatically sold into slavery, if they are caught.
Women are second-class citizens anyway. The reason for this isn’t explained, it just is. But then again, it so frequently isn’t explained, even in real life.
Silver used to be a normal woman, but she was caught pretending to be a man in order to attend a prestigious scientific academy. Her sentence; to become a humanotic and be sold into slavery.
Her new owner, Lel Kesselbaum has a fetish for male humanotics. With cybernetics, this is a complicated but not impossible problem. Lel has this formerly independent woman transformed into a trinex.
What’s a trinex? In this case, female from the waist up, male from the waist down, and more than 51% cybernetic. There are a lot of descriptions of the sexual aspects of Silver’s nature.
But what keeps driving me wacky is the change in Silver’s personality. She was fiercely independent, and now she’s submissive to Kesselbaum’s Dominor. (Dominor being both a political title and a sexual reference in this case).
In male/male romance, there’s a trope named “gay for you”. This story made me wonder if there is a similar trope in BDSM fic called “sub for you”. During the story, Silver discovers she likes to be dominant with other lovers, but not with Kesselbaum. With him, she’s always the submissive, and she loves it that way.
There’s is a slave revolt being planned. Entreus is the leader of that revolt. When he enters the picture, Silver discovers that her master is playing a very long game, and is not quite what he seems.
But there’s never any doubt about what choices she will make.
Escape Rating C-: I found the world fascinating, but I’m very glad that Entreus is the main character for Haevyn. He has more agency, and is in more control of his actions than Silver is.
For more of my thoughts on this book, head on over to Book Lovers Inc.