Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Inherent Cost
Author: Alicia Cameron
Series: Hojer – Inherent Gifts #3
Genre: MM Dystopian
Length: 319 Pages
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: A train wreck outside Hojer injures Jere and Wren, destroying their anniversary bliss, and thrusting them back into the dangers of their home, where slaves like Wren are treated as animals. While Jere struggles for consciousness, Wren is seized with the other slaves. When Jere comes to the rescue he is furious to find Wren kenneled, neglected, and abused.
For the last two years, Jere has been using his status as a healer to protect Wren and his second slave, Isis. Wren’s controversial fire talent is getting harder and harder to hide, Isis is desperate to escape to her family in a free state, and Jere’s compassion is making enemies of powerful slave owners. Meanwhile, upcoming elections are stirring political unrest. Jere supports a reformation that could improve the lives of Arona’s slaves by treating them in human clinics like Jere’s, instead of sending them to animal healers. But the slavers are only motivated by the threat of an untreatable infectious disease spreading inexorably towards Hojer.
The more Jere becomes involved in politics, the more his clinic and his household come under scrutiny, prompting the Arona slave regulation board to harass Jere, questioning his ability to manage his clinic, and threatening to take away Wren and Isis. The two slaves are preparing to be evaluated, when Jere stumbles upon information that could separate the three of them forever.
Review: This is one of those stories that captivated me and pulled me into its very colorful world. In this third and final installment, Jere and Wren are doing well, are in love and getting by with life in Hojer, with their little family that now includes Isis, the slave girl Jere bought and saved in the last book. The three have a very symbiotic relationship. Jere is the healer with Wren his assistant in the clinic. Isis uses her memory skill to keep track of things and take notes for Jere, as well as help out around the clinic and house. She also provides energy recharging when Jere needs it after healing patients.
It doesn’t take long for things to start taking a turn. With Jere becoming more vocal and more involved in the anti-slavery goings on, things really start to heat up. Add to that some of their past experiences coming back to haunt them, and things get pretty hairy. There is a lot going on in this story, but it never feels like overkill. People are causing problems for Jere by way of complaints filed that bring the slave commission down on him and his clinic. He is forbidden from treating slaves (they must go to veterinarians), he must get himself and Isis certified for travel (a major undertaking which Wren works very hard to accomplish through training sessions), and Wren is put on the spot more than once. He continues to struggle to keep his rare second skill of firemaking a secret, while still suffering from memories of the death of his last Master.
Jere and Wren have a very unique relationship. They are madly in love, but Wren is still a slave, much to Jere’s denial. More often than not, it is Wren who is topping and being the dominant lover, and Wren is the one who keeps them all straight and on the right path. There is talk of freedom for slaves, and of Jere taking a job outside of Hojer which cause them to do some rethinking. They have some misunderstandings along the way, but they are most definitely devoted to one another.
So, again, a lot happens, from political powers and trying to push through legislation on the anti-slave movement and healthcare. I really enjoyed and found it extremely interesting to read a story about a society such as Hojer. This is a wonderfully woven tale and world Ms. Cameron has created, and while I was happy to see the conclusion, I was a bit sad the ride was over.
Overall Impression: I loved it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*