Haevyn: Humanotica Book 2

Haevyn is a way, way, way better book than Silver.

Why? Because Haevyn Breina, the title character of Haevyn, is not just the star of her own story, Haevyn is an adrenaline junkie. She is psychologically incapable of waiting for life to happen to her. She is forced by her own nature to make things happen. In other words, Haevyn has “agency”, sometimes too much of it for her own good. She’s never passive.

There are occasions when Haevyn plays the submissive, but she never truly submits. Her point of view is well worth following, even to the point of wanting to shake her for some of the choices she makes, because she makes choices and acts on them. Decisively.

If Silver was intended as the story of a trinex, a person equally identifiable as male, female and humanotic, Haevyn is a story that separates those roles into three individuals, Haevyn herself, Grishna, her childhood friend and sometime lover, and Entreus, the humanotic rebel from book one, and Grishna’s lover. This should be a triangle.

But Grishna loves both Haevyn and Entreus, and his role is that of healer, mediator, balancer. He’s a peacemaker between two warriors who need each other to be whole. But they also both need his healing as a calming agent. The trick is to bring them together in a way that Haevyn won’t find manipulative, because she is easily spooked.

And Haevyn is both fascinated and repelled by humanotics. Her first sexual experience was rape by a humanotic. It’s left scars on her soul that she’s never been able to erase.

Grishna brings Haevyn to a Cockrage, which makes Fight Club look not just tame, but bland. A Cockrage is a cock-fight, but those are men in the ring, not birds. The fight is not just about the violence, it’s a fight for dominance. The champions and their challengers fight  in the nude, just to make that point more clear. The loser gets screwed in the middle of the fighting ring, in front of the wildly cheering audience.

The audience is supposed to be only male. Grishna sneaks Haevyn in under the pretense of losing a bet. He wants her to see Entreus in Cockrage. Entreus is the reigning champion. Haevyn’s risk-taking nature overwhelms her fear of humanotics, and she is caught up in the overwhelming sexual atmosphere of the Rage, but only for Entreus, who is equally enthralled by Haevyn. She reminds him of the warrior-women of his home dimension of Oricta as none of the submissive ladies of Quentopolis ever have.

But there is more to this story than just the erotic. Haevyn is an officer of the military, even if the branch she serves are trained sex-workers assigned to personally serve high-ranking officers. It is the only way a woman in her society can earn a decent wage.

Haevyn needs that money. Her brother is addicted to body-modification. (And doesn’t that sound strangely familiar?) But on Quentopolis, if a person has more than a certain percentage of humanotic parts, they automatically become a slave. Haevyn is afraid that someday she will have to buy her brother out of slavery, and her fear is justified. She’s saving up.

Most importantly, the officer Haevyn serves, besides being a sado-masochistic bastard, which Haevyn is not just required to tolerate but trained to deal with as part of her duties, is also a treasonous bastard. Haevyn has to go undercover in many, many more ways than she was trained in order to save her city.

And she has to do it fast. Her brother and both her lovers are in danger. And there’s a sorcerer on the loose who might blow everything up just for spite, first.

Escape Rating B-: Once I started Haevyn, I couldn’t put it down. I had to find out how the whole thing turned out. This was so much better than Silver. I liked Haevyn as a character much better than Silver, which made a huge difference.

There are things about the worldbuilding that bothered me. Since this is the second book in a Science Fiction Romance series, there was stuff about the underpinning that I would expect to know by now. Other worlds are referred to as “dimensions”; how is travel accomplished? It’s never clear.

The branch of service Haevyn is in, the CompSociates, are military prostitutes. A society that restricts the roles of women the way Quentopolis does, would it also develop something like this? It was an interesting idea, but I’m not sure. On the other hand, it made me think, which is always good.

Another puzzle: Haevyn refers to damage to her sporiti from her rape. Is sporiti spirit or mind? That was never quite clear in context, not even in combination with the first book.

But if you  have an interest in very erotic science fiction romance, Haevyn might be your ticket. For more thoughts on Haevyn, head on over to Book Lovers Inc.


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


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.

Silver: Humanotica, Book 1

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.


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


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.