Series: A Policy of Lies #2
Author: Astrid Amara
Genre: MM Military Romance
Publisher: Loose Id
Ten years ago, lovers and best friends Ivo Toreli and Robert Mackenzie were separated by death.
But sometimes life gives you second chances. Life…and a lot of cybernetic enhancements.
Trust Agent 505 may not remember who he was before he worked security for Trust Insurance, but now his prisoner thinks he knows him. This revolutionary named “Mack,” who has stolen one of Trust’s prized possessions, seems to think Agent 505 is named “Ivo,” someone from his past. Someone he once loved more than anyone on any of the inhabited worlds.
Ivo doesn’t remember any of it, of course. But if he’s going to get Trust’s property back from the revolutionaries, he’s going to have to play along.
And if playing along also means sleeping with a handsome, humorous, and slightly dangerous ex-soldier, all the better, right?
All in all, I enjoyed this story. It was a somewhat simple MM Military Romance with gritty diction and stark themes. None of the technology was extremely advanced, so it had more of an urban science fiction feel, but you could tell humans had been bopping around the stars for some time. Even though the science fiction was light but well-thought out and there was blood and guts and violence, the story was very much a Romance. There’s even love and puppies and other mushy stuff. It read quickly–I finished it in a few hours–and didn’t seem as layered as what I’m used to with Amara’s work.
I can’t really say I connected two either of our protagonists, Ivo and Mack. They seemed a bit sickening sweet to each other in the beginning (which may say more about me than the work itself) and the transition into ten years later didn’t feel as long or as heavy as it should have felt. Part of me wonders if that was a point of view problem but maybe it’s just me. Like I said, this was an easy plot and it chugged along nicely.
This is sort of standard MM Romance, with not too many gay contemporary issues dealt with. You could have made the characters straight and it wouldn’t have changed the story much, but this takes place in the future so maybe they are more socially advanced than we are. Something I did find interesting, was that Justin didn’t remember he was gay at first, or at least he’d never considered it; being hooked up to so many drugs it was impossible for him to remember the day of the week, let alone his normal sexual response.
Even though there was a strong military romance theme, I think I would have liked more military themes and more science fiction, also less romance in the beginning and a longer slow burn. I wasn’t completely buying the lovey dovey stuff, but ignore me–enjoy your ooey gooey love fest!
Even though this is a part of a series, it’s a standalone. Similar works: Shadow Fray by Bradley Lloyd, Gryfalcon by Anna Butler, or if you want something a bit more erotic, Dark Space by Lisa Henry. All three are MM military romances with Shadow Fray and Gyrfalcon both being lighter on the explicit sex, while still mentioning cock and ball bits… and so I don’t end a review with ‘cock and ball bits’, I’m going to finish writing this sentence.
Ben Brock is a reviewer for The Novel Approach and Queer Sci Fi. He enjoys running, whisk(e)y, the mythical gluten-free doughnut, and fills his life with bent bunk. He especially loves to discuss LGBTQ+ literature. His website is http://www.babrockbooks.com. You can find him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/BABrockBooks.