Publisher: Loose Id
Rating: 5 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Apprentice Sebastian has long cherished his love for his master. For years, Master D’arcy Qyn has respected Sebastian’s right to choose whom he embraces in the sexual arts known to the Fellowship of Servitors. But when the fashions and opinions of other Servitors are no longer enough to keep them apart, they rely wholeheartedly on the vows that have made them student and teacher.
Abiding dutifully by the formal roles prescribed for so taboo a relationship, each must find his way with desires and pleasures they would not otherwise enjoy. Together they must prove their love in all its expressions without shame and eternally beyond reproach.
Review: Sebastian has long been enamored of his master, D’arcy Qyn. Or, rather, he’s enamored of the idea of an apprentice having a torrid affair with his master. Sebastian has a lot of ideas about what that would be like, and what it would entail. D’arcy fulfills Sebastian’s fantasies. Of course this doesn’t happen in isolation. Something blew up and all the Servitors felt it. It rapidly becomes clear someone has been messing with technologies they shouldn’t be, and D’arcy likely knows who is involved. Not all Servitors are in agreement they are in a time of peace. Despite all the evidence that shows otherwise, a lot of people got really attached to the Oracle’s prophecies. Seriously, it’s craziness their adherence to Sarafel’s ramblings. Meanwhile, back at Trine Ria, Sebastian and his fellow apprentices are a little frustrated with how the university is run. Things have been pretty lax for the last few thousand years, and now that the time of peace is upon them the apprentices decide things are going to shape up. It doesn’t work out well for everyone.
This book can be picked up and read without having read The Secret Art of Failure trilogy. However, I would strongly encourage you to start with Volunteered to the Future to really understand nuance and importance of significant events.
There is so much here I don’t even know where to start. In many ways this is an NA story. Sebastian is a young man who falls for his teacher, and has lots of hot student/teacher fantasies. We get to watch as Sebastian grows up. No one really knew how involved growing up would be for Sebastian. He gets some surprises. He’s got a last name now, and memories of his father. Sebastian’s world isn’t what it once was. Sebastian isn’t who he once was. The reader knows Sebastian still has a long way to go. He may have all these sexy student teacher fantasies, but D’arcy was acting out Sebastian’s fantasies, not so much his own.
As I said before, this book can be understood without reading any of the prior books, but it helps to know how out of touch with reality Rue Torlamin really is, and why Corubia chose her. It also helps to know how deeply odious Arden Methes is. I want bad things to happen to him. D’arcy is still haunted by his mistakes. It doesn’t help that Methes is still interested in him and Rue Torlamin still spends a lot of time finding a reason to be near Sebastian. The mistakes D’arcy spends the most time dwelling on aren’t the most disastrous. They’re small scale and can’t easily be remedied. D’arcy misunderstood Sebastian once, and carries a memento of the occasion to remind him. He is also still haunted by not realizing Kato “Vanni” Giavanni wanted him for a teacher. As much as this is an NA tale it’s also a redemption tale.
I love this universe, with Servitors, Colleges, and the Telsma. It’s easy to view this as science fiction and miss the very real and human stories of the men behind the hotguns. These men are a mix of the military and a religious order, they instill both fear and hope in people throughout the universe, and they’re just as messed up as the next guy. They’re lonely, trying to figure out who they are, socially awkward, and doing their best while hoping it’s not a huge mistake. This book was a wonderful addition to this universe. So many things that began books ago are coming back or finally coming to a head. I was riveted. I didn’t want to leave these people and this world.