*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
It was clear pretty much from the start that this author could write. The writing flowed well, and the characters’ voices came through strongly, especially Elias’s. Ever since his boyfriend died 10 years ago, he hadn’t been the same, and he’d been homeless because, to him, that was better than being forced to be someone he wasn’t and to live a life he didn’t want. He was partly sympathetic, partly frustrating, and overall believable. It was also revealed later in the book *SPOILER (I wouldn’t call this a spoiler, but since it wasn’t told to us right away, I’m hiding it to be safe)* that he had autism, which was why he was able to understand and connect with synths better than he could with humans. *END SPOILER* There was also a twist that I had not seen coming but that brought out a thought-provoking aspect and made me rethink my whole view of the things in the book.
I think, however, that this book could have benefited from being longer. There was so much potential and so many thought-provoking and interesting topics that could’ve been explored (like the whole thing about synth rights, *SPOILER* how Elias was trying to make them more human, how he had been in love with a synth, *END SPOILER* and even Elias’s relationship with his father), but there wasn’t enough time for any of it to really be developed. A lot of things, including Elias’s feelings for Ario, felt rushed. And as I got further into the book, the writing got more telling and dialogue heavy, things started making less and less sense, characters started changing too suddenly to be believable, and it seemed as though things were changing according to what the plot needed.
So overall, the book felt rushed and like it didn’t have time to develop everything that it tried to tackle, but it was still thought-provoking and had a great premise.
Anyone who likes novellas, M/M romance, androids, and thought-provoking stories.
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Ario six-four-nine-one is an obsolete synth gigolo—especially when his latest trick proves to be his last in a brutal and horrifying way. But he’s only a synth, it’s not like he can really think and feel. No one will notice one more out of date synth tossed in the garbage.
Except for Elias, homeless and lonely because he’s not what his father—or the world—wants him to be, haunted by a tragedy for which he cannot forgive himself. When he finds a battered, broken, long-discontinued synth in a dumpster, he decides to repair the poor thing despite all the reasons he shouldn’t.
Then all those reasons come crashing down, and in order to save each other from a world that doesn’t want either of them, Elias and Ario will have to sacrifice everything they hold dear: freedom, safety, and even themselves.
Warning: contains graphic depictions of violence and sexual violence.