The Android and the Thief by Wendy Rathbone
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. I've been a sci-fi reader since forever, and I'm always on the lookout for good sci-fi books in m/m romance. This really wasn't it, for world-building reasons.
First, what I really liked about the story--both characters as described sounded ace to me, which was intriguing. Then Khim's asexuality was later described as a psychological problem, which kind of soured me. I guess they weren't meant to be ace, so my fault in reading them that way.
The other thing I really loved was the synesthesia Khim experienced under the anesthetic when he was fitted for his metal arm. It was amazing and delighted me and I was a little disappointed that it was just an effect of the drug and not a permanent scrambling of his brain from the accident. That would have been so cool!
What I didn't like. The world building or incredible lack thereof. Four thousand years in future, a colonized galaxy, and there's no finer meal than steak and baked potatoes? Humanity has colonized numerous planets and not found anything to eat other than Earth food? Scratch that, American food. Because the society is only slightly different from early 21st century USA. Roombas do the vacuuming. Jeans and hoodies are casual clothes. Tuxedos are formal wear.
Who the military is fighting is never really clear, it seems to be a never ending conflict with unspecified enemies that has no negative impact on daily life.
Women--there are no women in this world. The military has no women, the vat-grown humans are all male, the sex slaves are all male, the brothel patrons are all male, any figure in authority is male. Only three women are ever mentioned, all sub-ordinates to an Italian crime boss. Yeah. Four thousand years from now... did I mention the world building is pretty much non-existent?
And when Khim is described as having "won the genetic lottery" by being blond with blue eyes... eek.
As for the relationship, I only felt like there was any kind of connection between them after their escape. Maybe that was my fault for reading them as ace, I don't know.
To sum up, this was not a bad book (though I found it problematic in places apart from the lack of world-building), but it was a long, long way from the book I hoped it would be.
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