Review: Haevyn: Humanotica, Book 2 by Darcy Abriel

Format read: ebook provided by the author

Release Date: 20 March 2012

Number of Pages: 285

Publisher: Samhain

Genre: science fiction romance, cyberpunk, erotica, BDSM

Series: Humanotica, Book 2

Formats Available: ebook

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

Blurb:

Duty and honor demand the ultimate sacrifice.

Humanotica, Book 2

Everyone has their poison. For Haevyn Briena, it’s her inability to resist a dare. This time it’s a challenge from her friend and lover, Grisha, to sneak into the popular, illegal cage fights that always end in all-male orgies. Eagerly she snaps up the gauntlet, unaware that she will end the night forever changed.

When expatriate humanotic warrior Entreus locks eyes with Haevyn at the sex-fueled event, he is instantly captivated. Despite a duty that binds him to an exiled malevolent sorcerer, he seeks her out in a shattering, illuminating encounter.

Grisha’s plan is in motion—to bring both his warrior lovers together and heal their scarred souls with a combined passion that he alone cannot provide. But Haevyn’s tormented past refuses to die. And Entreus will not rest until the Core that ruined his life is destroyed.

Amid ever-tangling emotions and a brutal plot to take over the city, the three lovers walk a tightrope that could be cut at any moment. Fighting for justice, bound by duty…and a love that could alter the foundations of their world.

Warning: Watch out for oiled-up, naked trinespined warriors battling for top position, feisty tracer females that fit oh-so-snugly in between, and sexy nights that segue into complex relationships. Beware of tebitcheckers wielding those nasty little contulators at illegal, testosterone-drenched cage confrontations.

My thoughts:

I liked Haevyn a whole lot better than I did Silver.

Come to think of it, that applies as much to the two characters as it does to the two books.

Silver was a character who got “done to” much more than she did. She wasn’t the prime mover of her story. She doesn’t have a lot of what’s often called “agency”; meaning that she doesn’t move events directly.

Haevyn Briena has a lot of agency. It’s part of her nature. Even though the society of Quentopolis limits the roles that women are supposed to play, Haevyn continually challenges those roles, often pushing the limits to the extreme. She’s even been diagnosed with a psychological profile that translates to “extreme risk-taker”. We’d call her an adrenaline junkie.

Haevyn has to take risks, to move events, to be an agent, in order to keep herself half-sane.

When we meet her, she is attending something called a Cockrage, in disguise because women of her class aren’t supposed to attend such events.

A Cockrage is essentially a cock-fight, between men. The winner mounts the victor, in public, in the fighting ring. That’s part of the point. Dominance and submission, in every way. The men fight nude, just to make it more obvious. The fighters are always humanotics.

Haevyn is fascinated, revolted and aroused at the same time. Her “introduction” to sex was to be raped by a humanotic supervisor in return for food on her family’s table. That’s the way life worked in the dock neighborhood she grew up in. She’s worked her way up from there, but the emotional scars linger.

This society has incredibly limited roles for women. And it seems to have refined sexual politics to a fine art, or that’s the way the author has drawn it. Haevyn is an “officer” of the branch of the military that assigns personal assistants, i.e. sex workers, to high-ranking military officers and monitors and records their sexual activities, no matter what they might be. Haevyn’s assigned officer can order her to service him in any way he sees fit, as long as he does her no permanent damage, or she must record his brain activity while he performs with someone who is paid to specialize in the kind of pain she cannot be required to take.

And on top of being a highly paid military-grade prostitute, she finds herself becoming an undercover operative. Haevyn has almost more to do than she can handle.

The science fiction aspects of the story, well, some worked and some didn’t. I still don’t know whether travel from other planets is by space ship, faster-than-light travel, or something else. Haevyn does get taken to one of the “Border Towns”. Her travel is by ship, but she doesn’t leave Quentopolis’ dimension. The people they meet, their travel is left vague. Haevyn dreams of ships to other places, but she doesn’t know.

Likewise, not enough is explained about the political backstory to understand completely who should end up in charge. The readers are absolutely positive who the bad guys are. That’s plenty clear. But the political shenanigans in general are murkier than the sexual positions, even in the threesomes.

Speaking of which, there are two triangles going in this story. One is a sex triangle, and the other is a love triangle. Both have to be resolved somehow not just to get to the happy ending, but also to keep Quentopolis in one piece.

Summing it up, Haevyn is a much better story than Silver, because Haevyn is the star of her own show. She never waits for someone else to act. She acts. Sometimes she jumps in where she shouldn’t, but that’s what made her story so intense.

I give Haevyn: Humanotica, Book 2 3.5 stars.

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