Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Silver: Humanotica by Darcy Abriel #review

Title: Silver (Humanotica #1)
Author: Darcy Abriel, 2010

We enter a fascinating future where those who have become modified with robotics – humanotics – over a certain percentage, are considered the chattel of the wealthy upper classes. Political decisions are made not only in governmental departments, but also through the sexual liaisons that can easily decide outcomes and tip the balance of power.

The humanotic Silver is our viewpoint character, and she is a trinex – possessed of both male and female aspects, and as humanotic, she is the chattel of her powerful, enigmatic and charismatic master Lel Kesselbaum. Though she still chafes at her lost freedom and being subservient to Lel, and is no better than a sex slave that exists as an object of aesthetic pleasure, she revels in her submission and the exaggerated sensuality of their relationship and her heavily modified body.

We also encounter Entreus, another humanotic, but one who is rogue and allied with a human resistance movement fighting to overthrow the current regime. He an Silver are obviously captured in an orbit of mutual fascination as the story progresses.

First off, be warned, various highly graphic sexual encounters form the mainstay of this novel. Also, Dacy Abriel’s vision allows for fluidity in gender and sexual preference, so if you’re a bit squeamish about the idea of a hermaphrodite who’s well-endowed and all too comfortable with her sexual orientation and appetites, then this might not be the story for you.

Essentially, we are faced with the inevitable coming together of these three main characters, and we eventually see the story from all three points of view. Lel himself does eventually reveal some dangerous secrets, and I so did not see these reveals, erm… coming.

Abriel mixes fantasy and SF in a heady melange. At times I was left with the sense that plot development and resolution was abandoned in favour of the highly eroticised encounters, but then this might just be a matter of reader’s taste and my own need for stronger narrative elements. My main feeling is that there could have been more effort put into heightening tension and elaborating on the closure, which definitely got overshadowed by the erotic elements. It’s also my feeling that the characters themselves weren’t challenged enough, but that being considered, this was still an enjoyable, entertaining read. Abriel’s writing and visualisation is highly detailed and evocative, and for that alone this is a treat.

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