Release (Davlova, #1)by A.M. Sexton Published 24 Jun 2014
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Davlova: a poverty-ridden city-state ruled by a tyrannical upper class. Resources are scarce and technology is illegal. But in the slums, revolution is brewing.
Misha is a common pickpocket until his boss gives him a new job. Disguised as a whore, Misha is sent to work for one of the most powerful men in the city. But his real task is far more dangerous: get close to Miguel Donato, and find something – anything – that will help topple Davlova’s corrupt government.
Misha is plunged into the decadent world of the upper class, where slaves are common and even the most perverse pleasure can be found. Although he’s sure Davlova’s elite is involved in something horrific, proof is hard to come by, and Misha begins to fall in love with the man he’s supposed to betray. Then Misha meets Ayo – a sex slave forced by the neural implant in his brain to take pleasure from pain – and everything changes. As the lower class pushes toward a bloody revolution, Misha will find himself caught between his surprising feelings for Donato, his obligations to his clan, and his determination to save Ayo
"Release (Davlova, #1)" Reviews
Прекрасная иллюстрация тех случаев, когда авторы пытаются писать о том, что им не близко и попросту неприятно. Увы, и в этом случае нетленки не получилось.
Жанр: смесь стимпанка и киберпанка. Миростроение минимальное.
Сюжет: уличного парнишку Мишу отправляют на важное политическое задание - поработать мальчиком по вызову у одного благородного судьи и выведать как можно больше тайной информации. Судья оказался непрост - садист с чем-то вроде раздвоения личности: то люблю - не могу, то лупит и насилует почем зря. Миша в итоге в положительную сторону личности влюбляется, а отрицательную - ненавидит. А тут еще из загашника судья притаскивает шедевр генной инженерии - нестареющего мальчика-раба, который невероятно тащится от боли - и периодически устраивает тройнички с ним и Мишей.
Полкниги - это секс, чему я была крайне удивлена, так как эротическими сценами Мэри Секстон никогда не славилась. Тут вам и фистинг, и двойное проникновение, и изнасилования, и кроссдрессинг, и секс под воздействием наркотиков.
В чем моя претензия: нулевое эмоциональное воздействие на читателя. Секстон писала, что эта книга далась ей невероятно тяжело, и это видно. Книга, что называется, на отъ*бись, как будто черновик читаешь. Ну не твои кинки - не пиши, зачем мучиться? В конечном счете автор просто отстранилась от происходящего, персонажи получились плоскими и искусственными, неблизкими читателю. На страницах всякие ужасы происходят, а ты зеваешь.
Misha is a thief-turned-whore who's doing a spy job on an elite member of the upper class. This is very well written, compelling, and dark.
The relationship Misha forms with Donato is a roller-coaster, and I'm pleased it wasn't forced into an HEA. Fact is, Donato is abusive. Even when he's being overly sweet and apologetic, he's being abusive [spoilers removed] That's not something to be overlooked, and I'm glad it wasn't.
What irked me, and made me take a star away, is how self-indulgent Misha becomes with Donato's sweet side [spoilers removed] Besides this, Misha is an interesting character and a good choice of perspective on the whole dystopian class system.
As soon as I have time to read more than the back of a cereal box, I am ALL OVER THIS.
This had so much potential but ultimately it fell short for me.
The novel takes place in the city of Davlova, a city on the brink of revolution. The rich live on the hill, while the poor live in the trenches. The rebels use Misha to spy on powerful aristocrat Miguel Donato by being his whore.
Now my biggest problem was with the main character, Misha. Worst.Spy.Ever. Within two days Misha is already half in love with his mark. In two seconds flat Misha goes from hail the revolution to what revolution? All he cares about is getting off with Donato nevermind that Donato is a sadistic bastard who beats and humiliates him. Misha falls under some type of "wife battered syndrome". Donato beats him, Misha gets upset, Donato apologizes, Misha forgives and is in love with him again, repeat cycle. Even after Donato almost beats him to death, Misha is still waxing poetically about the love "Miguel" has for him.
The character of Ayo, the sex slave, didn't work for me at all. I would have liked it better if he didn't exist. First of all I was creeped out by [spoilers removed]
Donato was actually the best part of the novel and [spoilers removed] So kudos to the author for creating such a nasty but very compelling character.
This review has been cross-posted atReviews By Jessewave
I will start by saying that Release is a dark read and won't be for everyone. It was an intense book to read and it's taken me a while to get my thoughts together regarding it. Even if you normally like Marie Sexton's writing, this book is very different than her norm, hence the pseudonym. You'll likely either love it or hate it. I loved it. Heed the book warning, though; some of the content is difficult to read. It's dark and pulls no punches. It's graphic and violent but also beautiful. The main and supporting characters can't be described in just a couple words, but rather they are complex creatures in complex situations. Release certainly pushed a boundary or two for me. I like to read books, every now and again, that push my boundaries, because it keeps my reading from becoming stale. But before you delve into the Davlova universe, just know that it isn't pretty. In fact, it's a pretty barbaric place. A.M. Sexton said it took her two years to write Release. The result was well worth the wait.
There is such a disparity between the rich and the poor, in Davlova, and the way the rich treat the poor is not comforting. Whores and slaves are often used and discarded and all too often abused horribly, I suspect. Children are abandoned only to be taken in by clans of thieves. Life doesn't seem mean a whole lot. And in Davlova, the only people allowed to use precious electricity are the nobles. They have all the money and all the power (literally and figuratively). And Davlova, being an island, is isolated from whatever lies beyond. It's not an easy place to be.
Misha is a thief, working for one of the largest clans in the city. He's worked for Anzhéla for 13 years, since he was orphaned at 10. Though Misha does occasionally turn tricks, it's mostly to set up marks for his fellow thieves to pick-pocket later. He does not consider himself a whore. So, when Anzhéla summons him to take a job at a whorehouse in order to get close to a particular client, he's not happy about it. Anzhéla won't force him to do it, but she does heavily encourage it. I don't think Misha was really equipped to refuse her. He credits her with saving his life many times over and even if she doesn't hold it over his head, he sure does.
Anzhéla runs the clan with her transgender partner Frey. I rather liked Frey. He got more page time than Anzhéla and was a sympathetic character. He was kind of a father figure to Misha. Frey comes from the wealth of the inner city and was meant to be a doctor, but the fact that he could not conform to societies expectations, set him on a different path. Anzhéla is a pragmatic woman. She does care a great deal for her charges and takes as good of care of them as she possibly can, but she also looks at the big picture and she's got an endgame in mind and it isn't until midway through the story that I figured out what some of it meant. Anzhéla has her hands in a lot of pies and I don't think anyone other than Frey really knows all the things that Anzhéla is involved in.
It isn't often that an author can write a character, much less an MC, that I both like and loathe. A.M. Sexton managed to do that here, though. Miguel Donato is not only one of the city's pureborn elite, he is the city's judge, jury and executioner. His reputation does not speak of a nice man, or even a compassionate one. No, Donato's reputation speaks of a cruel man, sick with power. However, he is a complicated man. He can be cruel, yes, especially to Ayo, but he can also be loving and giving. Most of the time he is demanding and a bit forceful, but neither cruel nor loving. I wouldn't say he's a good man. Not at all. He does feel guilt for letting his temper get away from him, but many abusers do. But sometimes he shows a vulnerability that makes it hard to hate him and that is what Misha struggles with the most. I struggled with it, too. Donato hated himself, probably more than anyone else could hate him, but, in many ways, he was trapped in the life he led.
And Ayo, Donato's slave - my heart hurt so much for him. He doesn't know, exactly, how old he is. He estimates he's somewhere between 17 and 20, but his memories from before he came to live with Donato are really fuzzy. He has a neural implant that makes thinking about certain things impossible and also controls certain responses. He cannot kill himself, though he has often wished to die. Also, he is conditioned to respond sexually to pain. He hates it and he cries and begs for more. The begging fills him with shame, but he literally cannot help it. And he's never allowed to come. Only one a certain word can trigger it and it's never been uttered. That poor boy. Looking at the cover for the next book, Return, it would appear that we'll be seeing a lot more of Ayo. I'm glad that's so. And I hope he is able to find some happiness. More than anyone in Release, he deserves it.
I do think that Release ended exactly the way it needed to end, even though that last chapter brought me to full on tears, and just thinking about it threatens to do so again. It was heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. And the story is, most definitely, not done. There is no resolution, and in fact, things are left at a very uncertain place. Tragic and hopeful, but still uncertain.
And for those readers that require an HEA, well, you won't actually find that here. Release is not that kind of story. It's dark and at times cruel and punishing. But the story isn't actually complete, so we'll see what the conclusion brings when Return is released in August. I have my hopes about how it will end, but I don't dare give them light.
Primo libro di una duologia, dico subito che non lascia in sospeso, ha una sua conclusione e non c'è il colpo di scena finale che lascia col fiato sospeso (e la voglia di strozzare l'autrice). Ho lo stesso voglia di leggere il seguito e lo farò presto.
È un libro distopico e di quelli tosti. Posso definirlo duro, crudo, violento e direi finalmente! Mi è piaciuto tantissimo il worldbuilding, anche se il mezzo punto in meno è dovuto proprio al bisogno di qualche informazione in più riguardo. Funziona lo stesso e bene e pian piano sono stata trasportata nelle strade di Davlova con Misha, il protagonista.
La caratterizzazione dei personaggi è forse il punto di forza maggiore. Fatta magistralmente, non solo quella di Misha. Ho amato tantissimo i vari rapporti fra loro, soprattutto quello tra Misha e Donato. L'autrice è riuscita a trasmettere tutta la gamma di emozioni, giuste e sbagliate, che intercorrono tra loro e spesso ho proprio sofferto insieme a loro, tutti e due.
Personaggi non semplici e dalle mille sfaccettature, descritti talmente bene da figurarmeli reali, tutti quanti anche i secondari.
Le scene di sesso sono intense e concordi con questa storia così particolare ma dura. Forse non adatto a tutti, essendo pure un mm, ma decisamente d'impatto.
Mi è piaciuto, molto, anche lo stile dell'autrice, non si perde in particolari inutili e pone l'accento sui personaggi, sulle loro emozioni.
Un libro che consiglio a chi ama i distopici ma quelli molto crudi e a chi vuole buttarsi su una storia fuori dal comune ma molto molto avvincente.