My rating: 3 of 5 stars
First of all, what is up with cyborgs and sexual trauma? This is the third cyborg story in a row I have read where the heroine (and sometimes also hero) have been trauma survivors (usually still under threat) battling their former abusers. Strangely, none of them have had actual hang-ups because desire for the hero has wiped away the physical trauma for the terrible acts somehow. Whatever. Not so sexy.
My trigger issue aside, this was a well-written erotica, and so although this review is full of complaints, overall it was an enjoyable experience full of pages and pages and pages of hot sex.
The military is running a puppet government. They discovered that the cyborgs they had made out of brain-dead soldiers were starting to regain their autonomy, and tried to wipe them out. But, the soldiers rebelled and have now successfully created their own society elsewhere. They hate humans – except for the women they steal for sex – and want to discover the secret of their origins and creation so they can learn more about who stole their humanity, why, and how to procreate to sustain their separate society.
(Note: Wouldn’t babies made from these unions be human rather than cyborg? I guess that’s another reason they want to know their origin, so they also know how to create more. Technically I have contacts and a tooth implant, so I guess I’m already one of them. *g*)
On one of these reconnaissance missions, hero cyborg Joe discovers feelings for human lab technician Chloe. His solution is to kidnap her for sex.
(view spoiler)[After getting attacked by a crazed guard, Chloe is all too happy to go with Joe. They have a lot of hot sex, and explore their feelings for each other. However, it turns out that Chloe is unknowingly a cyborg! She has blackouts and betrays them.
The military general who viciously abused her is the one leading the assault. Just when defeat is complete, the cyborgs use their super powers to imprison the general. They intend to get the secrets out of his head once they get to their home world.
Although Joe promises to love Chloe no matter what, the other cyborgs are not so thrilled about the unnecessary deaths of all their friends. Their accusations accidentally drive her under power of the general once more. During the escape, the general gives her back her horrible memories. This somehow circumvents his control and she murders him with her bare hands.
At the end, it is revealed that eleven more women were made into cyborg sex bots. The other named main characters determine to find and rescue them. (hide spoiler)]
Although it is glossed over in this book, one of the more disturbing asides concerns the treatment of humans in the cyborg society. Joe states that they will kidnap women for sex, and the elderly or handicapped for parts. This could be dismissed as a threat to scare Chloe early on, but he later thinks about the women again when he is grateful that Chloe doesn’t scream and fight during her abduction (as others have done) and she doesn’t try to escape or hate her captors. Apparently the cyborgs believe all they have to do is give their kidnap victims good sex and they should forget their former lives. There is a risk that if Chloe doesn’t adapt to her new life, Joe will have to wipe her mind and turn her into a personality-devoid human sexbot.
This makes me believe that the kidnapping of the other vulnerable populations for parts is also a true statement, which is double-yikes! They also steal the women’s kids. Honestly, I would not want my children to be kidnapped with me in a society like this! I would never know when they might decide that one of my children had a hangnail and had to be parted out or something. Jeezus.
I expected at least the hypocrisy with women to be dealt with in this book, but I now wonder if that will be the subject of a future book instead. Ie, that the cyborgs are no better than the humans for stealing innocent people, treating their bodies as commodities, and destroying their humanity and their lives.
This is pretty dark stuff in comparison to the rest of the book.
I’m not sure whether the rest of the series, which I suspect will focus on other trauma victims, is going to be my cup of tea. Maybe I will read an excerpt of the next novel and see where it is going. I’m also not a huge erotica reader and I get bored the tenth time I read a sex scene in the same novel. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer the standard 90s Harlequin Blaze of three hot scenes per book instead.
If you like that stuff, though, you will find this book well-plotted and quite a decent read.