Title: Fall into the Black (A Planet Called Wish: Book Three)
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 145 pages
At a Glance: A wonderful sequel that questions whether or not rules can truly be black or white with no shades in between.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: Sometimes there’s a difference between duty and doing what’s right. And sometimes doing what’s right comes with a high price.
Every aspasian at Asiq adores the handsome peacekeeper Resan—all except for Arin. While the other workers vie for Resan’s attention, Arin avoids him at all costs, which rouses Resan’s suspicion. When he discovers Arin is a runaway slave, Resan is bound by law to return him to his master. It is only later that Resan realizes what he’s done. Arin’s owner bought him at twelve, married him, and not only violated Arin himself, but loaned him out to his friends. Resan has returned him to a life of rape and abuse, and now he must make a decision: free Arin and abandon the oaths he swore as a peacekeeper, or leave him to languish and abandon his own conscience and heart.
Review: Having read the previous book in this series, I was thrilled to read Arin’s story. He appears briefly in Fantasy for a Gentleman, and Resan, the peacekeeper, is in it as well. I wanted to know why Arin avoided Resan, unlike every other aspasian in Asiq.
This story has heavy themes of rape, non-con, and allusions to underage rape. While the characters are all of age in this story, Arin’s background is dark. Though the rape is not detailed, it can be tough for some readers, so keep that in mind when reading if this content triggers you.
As a peacekeeper, Resan is bound by a strict code of laws. He knows that some things are wrong and should be illegal, but since they are not, he cannot do anything but uphold the laws. He feels that since it is his job, he cannot pick and choose, like his partner, Em, who is a bounty hunter. When he learned that Arin is a runaway slave, he does what needs to be done: returns him to his owner. However, upon learning the truth of Arin’s slavery, he realizes what he has done is far worse than failing to report the runaway. He’s returned him to his abuser, a man who married him to prevent having to release him from his slavery when he turned of age.
As a result, Resan goes back to get Arin, with a plan in mind that allows him to keep his peacekeeper codes. However, Arin is done being a victim, and he does what he needs to do. And now Resan is faced with an even more difficult decision.
I really liked the question of morality in this story. Even if something is the law, do we allow it to happen or do we go against the laws to fight a system that is corrupt? With today’s current political climate, I felt my reading of it now was pretty timely.
There were moments when the book did seem repetitive. Resan constantly brought up his need to uphold the law, which I felt frustrating because I got it. I knew he had to because of his job. It almost felt like he was trying to remind himself and justify his actions. If that was the author’s intent, then kudos. I also wanted Arin to come clean and admit what happened, but when he didn’t, I realized it was because, as a victim, it was hard for him to talk about his abuse.
Finally, the other thing that I truly appreciated about this book was Arin gaining a voice to admit he did not enjoy penetrative sex. Too many times in m/m fiction, the story’s climax is when a previously unwilling partner decides to allow his lover to have sex with him. Or the top decides to “make that sacrifice” and bottom for his lover to show how much he loves him. That drives me crazy because not all relationships need to be like that. In this one, as an aspasian, Arin does have a lot of sex because it’s his job. He even has sex with Resan. However, once it becomes clear that he does not enjoy it because of his history, Resan pulls back and helps Arin advocate for himself and teaches him now to say no. He shows him that they can still have intimacy and even sex without penetration. I loved that part so much. I wish more books had moments like that.
Even though this is a series, I don’t think you need to read it in order to understand events. This book focuses on Arin and Resan, and while Corbin and Em are present, as well as Monroe and Thierry, you don’t really need to know their story to understand this one. I highly recommend this book for sci-fi fans!
You can buy Falling Into the Black here:
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