Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: The Pawn by Kate Sherwood

The Pawn (Against the Odds #1) by Kate Sherwood
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 216pgs
4.25 Pants Off

Adam Challoner was born a member of the wealthy elite, but he can’t forget that his power and comfort come from the suffering of the vast underclass—people oppressed by the very regime that keeps him safe. Living with that knowledge is uncomfortable to say the least. When Adam meets Remy Stone, his discomfort becomes intolerable.

Get in, seduce his target, give him all he could ever dream of, then get out—that’s Remy’s assignment. No man has ever been able to resist Remy before, but Adam Challoner is unlike any of Remy’s previous clients. In a world where Big Brother is always watching, Remy needs to perform his assigned duties in order to survive, but Adam seems to be as oblivious to that as he is to Remy’s charms.

Luckily, Remy’s determination to accomplish his mission piques Adam’s interest. But just when Remy’s hard work starts to pay off, a rebel bomb attack interrupts their would-be tryst. Unforeseen circumstances force them apart, then throw them back together. And just as they discover new reasons to live, they realize some things are worth dying for.

When I first started reading The Pawn, I was bored out of my mind. I felt like it was dragging on, and I wanted it to pick up quick and start a romance. I guess my surprise came when I realized it’s not quite a romance yet, and it wasn't a case of rentboy rescued by a rich client. The world Miss Sherwood is fascinating but equally disturbing. Where the rich rule, the poor have no rights, and there is no freedom for those who can't buy it.

Remy Stone has been sent to seduce to the very wealthy Adam Challoner, but his effort is going unnoticed. But he keeps trying because his boss Mr Barrowman will want to hear about it, and if he walks away unsuccessful the punishment might be more than he handle. Remy is a prostitute and has been one for a very long time, so he knows his skill of seduction is excellent but Adam is resisting all his effort. He finally wears him down and gets invited to stay but what happens next is nothing of what he expected. Adam never comes for a sex, and Remy wakes up to sound of a bomb going off and all that matters now is getting out and getting home. Until he runs into an old childhood friend, who most definitely is a part of the resistance and the reason for the bomb and just that brief conversation will bring Remy under suspicion and grueling interrogation. The events that follow will lead Remy to question many things, and possibly cause him to lose his life if only for the tiniest bit of freedom.

I have to say how very impressed I am with the overall the story, I never saw it coming and Ms Sherwood proved with The Pawn her diversity in writing. The Pawn is science fiction read, with a post apocalyptic feel (if you can imagine the destruction being caused by a government that only cares for the rich), and really rich characters with a story to tell. I really thought I would get the whole "rich guy saves poor desperate rent boy and teaches him about love" but Remy story is more complicated than that. It delves in about a man waking up from the dark and seeing his true potential, and another born to be a leader because of his compassion for the people.

Remy's life as a prostitute was hard for me to read, because for most of it he wasn't aware. There is a pill for him to fell aroused, a pill to orgasm, and the drugs that take away pretty much everything. So he has no clue about his body, and what it really feels like to want. So yes, the romance is pretty low on the scale, and sex comes in the form of him getting it on with various clients. It also makes it the strongest part of the book, because the age that Remy became a prostitute is shockingly sad and his reaction to sex without the aid of the pills is very understandable.

In some way Adam does come in and changes Remy, but not with the physicality of sex and such. He changes his mind/heart, which leads to Remy believing that he is more than just a sex toy and he could get out and possibly save many for the life that he's lived. Adam and Remy relationship is a budding one, and I am excited to see where it goes in book two. There is so much for the men to overcome.

Should You Read It? I am saying a quick yes for this one, it was slow going in the beginning but that all changed and I ended up really enjoying it. There is something very sad about the story, an age old tale of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. It’s also has the elements of a political, but since this was Remy's story I only get snippets of it. I am really looking forward to reading book 2.

Warning: This book deals with drug use, mentions of suicide, and implied underage sex (Spoiler: Remy is nine when he signed his contract to be in the business).

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