Author: Valentina Heart
Publisher: Loose Id
Rating: 4 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Jared, a guard on one of the many penal space stations, is good at his job, but painfully naive. Getting convicted for a crime he didn’t commit and being sentenced to a life in prison did not feature in his vision of the future. When he gets rescued, then promptly claimed as property by Sar, the most dangerous and biggest man on the penal station, he’s just about ready to gracefully faint.
But Sar is apparently a genius with a hidden face and big expectations. Sar wants Jared to learn to fight, he expects Jared to serve his sexual needs, and to socialize with Sar’s friends. So while Jared works on his stances and apparently can’t get enough of sex, he still has trouble cheerfully conversing with the same men who would rather kill him or claim him for their own.
All of that changes with new arrivals, a kidnapping, and secret agendas. Will Jared survive torture and is Sar bad and mad enough to rescue him, or are they more likely to perish when the clock ticks off and the station blinks out with the sound of an explosion?
Review: Jared was railroaded and sent to the worst prison in the penal system. Sar doesn’t know why he saved him, but he did. Jared is terrified. Of everything. He went from being a guard to being property, branded and owned. Jared finds he’s surprised at how not awful life with Sar is. He’s bored most of the time, but Sar is teaching him a lot and keeping him safe. Jared begins to adjust to his new life in prison. That’s when things get weird. And unscheduled shipment of supplies and new inmates are not what they appear to be. Jared finds out he may not be what he appears to be. The new inmates are convinced he has the codes to take control of the station. Jared is shocked when he learns he does.
Rape is a big subject in this book. I can’t overstate that. They are presented more as a horror and reality of prison life than titillation. There is also some torture on the page. This book isn’t for the squeamish. Despite all that the relationship that’s developing between Jared and Sar is quite sweet. Neither man expected to find love at Penal Station 05. In addition to being surprised to find love, both men are surprised Penal Station 05 seems to be at the center of some kind of conspiracy.
Jared and Sar are firmly established as a couple by the end of the book, but there is a lack of resolution. Neither man has in any way dealt with the injustice that has been served to them. At this point their whole goal is to simply stay alive in an unfamiliar environment. Justice is hardly the first thing on their mind. They don’t know everyone and everything that will view them as prey.
As the first in a series a lot of this book was spent on world building and character introduction. The stage has been well set for the rest of the series. I’m curious to see where it goes.