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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Inventor's Companion by Ariel Tachna

The Inventor's Companion by Ariel Tachna
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (347 Pages)
Other: M/M, M/F, Multiple Partners, Spanking, anal sex, voyeurism, BDSM
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Myrtle

Gabriel Blackstone’s world is divided quite clearly into castes: everyone knows their place and abides by it. As an inventor in the merchant caste, his life is predictable in its routine until the night his best friends and assistants, Caleb and Andrew, purchase the time—and body—of a companion for his birthday. As an activist in the Caste Equality movement, everything Gabriel believes in tells him to refuse the gift, but then he meets Lucio. The beautiful and alluring companion is far more than the vapid courtesan he'd expected, and he can’t get the man out of his mind.

After that night, Gabriel tells himself to forget about Lucio, but a chance meeting at a ball makes it clear neither of them is willing to ignore the compelling chemistry between them. It will take all their combined trust and cunning, plus the help of a wily aristocrat and a plucky political activist, to overcome the challenges of infidelity, abuse, and social stigma that lay along their road; however, Gabriel knows it will all be worth it if at the end of the day he can call Lucio his own.

“I cannot change what they do to my body, but I will never kiss anyone but you.” A kiss was all that Lucio could give Gabriel to show his love.

This book went a long way in derailing my thoughts and feelings when I first started reading mainly because I had no idea where I was as far as time and space was concerned. Steampunk is brand new to this reviewer and it took a few chapters to realize the story took place in the Victorian era with steambased inventions that put me in mind of Artemus Gordon in Wild, Wild West, inventions like mechanical coaches, fans, and other items that would not be found in the time period. I must admit I had a ball seeing how the author incorporated steam machines into the plot.

My heart went out to Lucio, who was a companion for those in a world where the mark on their hand determined their casts in life. His occupation for lack of a better word was “pleasure partner” and he has no say in what the higher class does to him, but he has wants and dreams beyond his pretty face and sex. Gabriel Blackstone from the merchant caste is given a birthday gift that he will never forget when his friends pay for a night with Lucio. However, no sex and honest conversation leads to a lasting impression on both of them and sparks desires for more than the hand life has dealt them.

The combination of their heart and chemistry left this reader hanging on and hoping for a happy ever after. I will admit that there were times in the plot that I was upset and felt that Lucio and the companions he knew were being degraded. Ms. Tachna’s writing is so vivid I couldn’t help but hurt for the painful and heart-wrenching experiences they sometimes faced.

The cruelty and torture the pleasure class endured was particularly hard to take when Lucio confesses to Cressida, another companion, how Gabriel was different and told her that “for an evening, I got to be me. Me. Not the polished, practiced companion everyone sees, but me.” This sentiment brought tears to my eyes. It was romantic and heartbreaking watching Gabriel deal with irrational jealousy because of Lucio’s fate in life.

Ms. Tachna added a lot of twists and turns in the plot. I found it was easy to become spellbound and enchanted by the two main characters. The storyline itself flowed well and did not drag or bog down which made for an enjoyable, albeit anger-filled story emotionally. Personally I enjoyed the book a lot but there were times when the subject matter of torture and rape were a little more graphic then what I am use to reading. However, it fit well into the story and only added to pulling me into this decadent lifestyle. If you’ve been considering picking up a steampunk book and love a story that grabs both your heart and mind, The Inventor’s Companion is a good place to start.

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