Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The Inventor's Companion - Ariel Tachna
Title: The Inventor's Companion
Author: Ariel Tachna
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 2011
Page Number: 338
Gabriel Blackstone is an inventor in the merchant caste of his society. Lucio is the companion from the pleasure caste that Gabriel's assistants bought him for the night as a gift. The two were meant to meet up, have dinner, get what was paid for, and part ways. Instead, Gabriel refuses to touch Lucio in the name of his honor and support for Caste Equality. Thus Gabriel secures a place in the heart of the companion, and the two struggle to keep their love strong when their very society seems to be against them.
The Inventor's Companion is a novel about the love of two men and the lengths they're willing to go to make their relationship work. From the very first chapter, the relationship between the two main characters is visibly strong and very sexually charged. Despite this, the relationship is developed, not just assumed and pushed onto the readers in the way of many novels in today's romance genre, something I appreciated.
The characters of the novel appealed to me early on. Gabriel is an honorable man with a love of machines and creating. Lucio is a surprisingly innocent character for the profession he follows, a product of the novel's setting. More than just the main couple, the side characters were lovely and fleshed out throughout the story as well, instead of just being a backdrop for the romance. Lucio's friend in his trade, Cressida, was probably my favorite character in the novel despite not being a main star, and Lord Stuart and his guardian friend are equally appealing.
What makes so many of the characters of this novel interesting is likely the world they're settled into. Tachna's vision is an endlessly alluring, from the caste system which is represented by tattoos--or lack thereof--on each of the characters to the fan system used for communication among the society. In Tachna's world, the caste you are born in dictates everything in your life from the people you can marry to the job you have to work. This is despite the fact that you may not like or even be suitable for the profession, such as in the case of one guardian in the novel who can't get work because he has such a small build. I adored reading about the companion's lives, essentially the sex slaves of the world. I loved the absolute grittiness of the caste, the breeding farms, the life.
I started The Inventor's Companion prepared for it to be the typical drivel I've come to expect from so much of the romance genre's world. I was prepared to enjoy it as a nice way to pass the time, but I was not expecting what I received within the pages of Tachna's work. Despite actively looking for something to dislike about this book, at one point, I find it may have earned itself a place on the bookshelf I keep for only my favorites, and the only flaw I can find is that the book actually ends. The ending matches the story fine, mind, but it simply isn't enough. I can only hope that there ends up being a companion work where the world is The Inventor's Companion is further explored and explained, and where I might see some of my favorite side characters get their own happy endings.