Monday, August 18, 2014

Bliss by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau

Title: Bliss
Author: Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau
My Rating: A

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance (m/m)
Series: -
Main Characters: Rory and Tate
Release Date: August 2014
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
They're always happy.

Rory James has worked hard all his life to become a citizen of the idyllic city-state of Beulah. Like every other kid born in the neighboring country of Tophet, he’s heard the stories: No crime or pollution. A house and food for everyone. It’s perfect, and Rory is finally getting a piece of it.

So is Tate Patterson. He’s from Tophet, too, but he’s not a legal immigrant; he snuck in as a thief. A city without crime seems like an easy score, until he crashes into Rory during a getaway and is arrested for assaulting a citizen. Instead of jail, Tate is enrolled in Beulah’s Rehabilitation through Restitution program. By living with and serving his victim for seven years, Tate will learn the human face of his crimes.

If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Tate is fitted with a behavior-modifying chip that leaves him unable to disobey orders—any orders, no matter how dehumanizing. Worse, the chip prevents him from telling Rory, the one man in all of Beulah who might care about him, the truth: in a country without prisons, Tate is locked inside his own mind.

My Review:
This book is more than a bit frightening just in how easy it is to see how something like this could happen. It's set in a future world, where there are different areas of the world. Beulah is the perfect least on the surface. Everything is beautiful. There's very little crime. It's clean. It's happy. But all of that comes at a price. If a person commits  a crime in this society, they are subjected to restitution and rehabilitation through the justice system. The first step in this process is a chip which is implanted in their head...supposedly just to curb any violent tendencies. What it actually does is make them do whatever their sponsor wants them to do. Then they have to live with that sponsor for seven years to make restitution for their crime against them while they rehabilitate. It's meant to give a human face to their crimes when they become part of the family. This book is about the abuse of all those pretty ideas. 

This is a male/male romance and both the male leads are abused through this system. Tate is the criminal who stole into Beulah from the neighboring Topher where he's barely scraping by for his daughter. Knowing that Beulah doesn't have jails, he came there to steal enough for him to provide for his 4 yo daughter. But trying to escape, he ran into Rory, who'd also just arrived in Beulah, and hit him as a distraction. It's an open and shut case of assault, caught on camera. Tate has no defense...he did it and rather than face a life conviction, he pleads guilty and accepts the plea bargain of 7 years in service to Rory. 

Rory has no idea what the chip does to it basically forces Tate to do whatever Rory wants. The chip forces Tate to please Rory. Rory is gay. Tate is not, but the chips are set so that Tate gets sexual pleasure out of pleasing Rory and blinding pain in his head when he doesn't. It sets up for a very messed up set of circumstances. Rory is basically raping Tate, but he has no idea because the chip keeps Tate from even speaking about the chip's effects. Tate is trapped inside his head. But Rory can't be blamed either. He has NO IDEA and my heart broke for him once he realized what was happening. 

The story is horrifying and yet, at the same time, extremely compelling. It's a good example of how dangerous these types of modifications can be in the wrong hands. It's entirely too easy to see how something like this could happen. I enjoyed both of Tate and Rory's characters. Despite the circumstances, they both come from Topher and become friends and more. I had no idea how a happy ending could come from any of this, but the authors pulled it off beautifully. 

The story is riveting and I enjoyed reading it a great deal. Warning: it is extremely dark and there is non-con involved, because regardless of what Tate is saying, his mental voice doesn't concur, but the chip keeps him from speaking out. If you think you can handle that aspect of it, I highly recommend the book. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

1 comment:

Red Iza said...

I don't think I can, but thanks for the review :)