Reviewed by JustJen
Author: Alicia Cameron
Series: Demoted #1
Genre: MM Dystopian
Length: 209 Pages
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: In a world where intellect and achievement are valued above all else, a young man risks everything to save his brother from a life of slavery. Thrown into a harsh, unyielding world where slaves are treated as less than animals, Sascha struggles to come to terms with everything he knows being ripped away from him, but a life of success could never prepare him for his life as one of the Demoted. Sinking lower and lower, Sascha begins to lose hope, but the whim of a mysterious, wealthy man has the potential to change all that.
Cashiel has a dark history that he guards carefully. Between family and business and politics, he rarely has time for a slave, much less a lover. But when he sees a young man who reminds him of the very history he is trying to escape, he makes an impulse decision that he’s not sure whether to regret or not. The slave could expose everything, or he could be the most valuable asset that Cashiel has ever acquired.
Cashiel and Sascha share desires, hopes, and a home. Each man is limited by status, hindered by history, and desperate to succeed. The question is, will that be enough?
Review: This was a really interesting story that kind of reminded me a little bit of the movie Divergent. It has that same feel. People are forced to take a test at a certain age which basically decides their fate of being free or being Demoted. Demoted is basically another term for slavery, of which there are a number of categories. Typically, those deemed less intelligent are the ones Demoted.
Knowing his brother was not likely to pass and not as able to survive being Demoted, Sascha, the more intelligent of the two, swapped their tests, thus sending him into a life of servitude. Unfortunately, when he tries to use his smarts, it works against him, and he is used and abused and sent to work in one of the lowliest brothels where his torture and torment continues. This is where Cashiel finds him.
Cashiel is not all he seems. He reluctantly takes on a slave in order to keep up appearances, when, in actuality, he is against the treatment of slaves. He has ties through his family to the slave conditioning centers and much of the story centers around that and his secret plan to change the way things are done. He must be very careful, trust very few people, and maintain all appearances otherwise to hide his activities. His mother is a very important and evil player here which only makes things more difficult for Cashiel, and, in turn, Sascha.
This is a very intriguing world. There is very little in the way of romance or even an actual relationship with these guys. Though Cashiel eventually learns about and utilizes Sascha’s skills and intellect, the two maintain a very strict distance from one another. It isn’t until close to the end that they find themselves on the same page of wanting more.
I found this story quite captivating, even through the harsh brutality that happens in the beginning and even at stages throughout. It is well written and kept me on the edge of my seat more than once, especially at the end. I’m very excited to see how this all plays out and am really looking forward to the next installment.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*