Redemption

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Title and Link: Redemption
Author: Olivia Duncan Craig
Cover Artist: Olivia Duncan Craig
Publisher URL: self published
Amazon Buy Link
Genre: Urban Fantasy, science fiction
Length: 101K words/205 Printed Pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Review Summary: The world and the characters were equally vivid and I didn’t want to leave. A gem.

THE BLURB

It’s a different world. Space has been colonized, the wealthy fly to work rather than drive, and slavery is legal.

Jason’s family has been ripped apart by tragedy. The only way he can save the ones left is to offer himself up as a bondmate. The more he’s willing to give, the higher the price he can command. And Jason is willing to give a lot.

Devin is wealthy and heartbroken after the wife he adored walked out on him. He isn’t looking for love. All he wants is a relationship he can control. Buying a bondmate seems like the perfect solution.

Yet when he purchases Jason’s contract, Devin gets more than he bargained for.

THE REVIEW

This was a surprisingly enjoyable book, surprising because I didn’t expect much as it is self published and my experience with self publishing to date has been up and down, mostly down, although I admit that I found a few gems over the past year and this is among the bright spots. Despite the theme of human slavery in a futuristic setting, a topic that does not appeal to me at all and I rarely read books with this as a main plot, I found the story to be original and fresh and the characters really showed depth and growth. In the end I didn’t want to leave Devin and Jason because I fell in love with them.

At 28 Devin was heir to the most successful interplanetary mining company in the galaxy. When he and his wife divorced a year ago his friend Mike suggested that he purchase a Class One bondmate, sort of a two for one deal, a personal assistant and bed partner. Redemption, a firm that specialized in transactions of this type, was the obvious choice as the source of said bondmate and they produced Jason who seemed like the perfect choice  — attractive and biddable as well as very intelligent.

At the conclusion of the protracted negotiations with Redemption Devin left with his new companion and employee, his bond mate for the next 20 years, if he decided to keep him.  The 20 year commitment was not carved in stone as there was an option to return Jason to Redemption at the end of 72 hours if they decided that it wasn’t going to work out, and the contract would be sold to someone else. Jason was not forthcoming about why he was selling himself but he seemed to accept his role. The bracelet he wore as well as the GPS tracking device in his neck signified that he was Devin’s property and he knew he had to accept his new status because he had no choice. Jason’s parents had recently been killed in an accident and he had also lost his brother Aaron in another  mysterious accident, so he was alone in the world except for his teenage sister who was offworld with Aaron’s widow and son.

Jason was well educated, studying for his Masters in Art when he became a member of Devin’s household. As a bondmate he had no property other than a couple of suitcases that contained his personal belongings, so he was entirely dependent on Devin. He wasn’t a guest, as Devin called all the shots even when and where they had sex. If he passed the 72 hour trial period he would belong to Devin for however long he chose to keep him.

At first I thought that the relationship between Jason and Devin would be cold and one sided like any other business deal because Devin had been advised by Redemption to keep his dealings with Jason on a businesslike footing, otherwise he might have to deal with a love struck bondmate should he ever want to get married again, have children and get rid of Jason. Devin made it clear to Jason that he was expected to be completely faithful but that he, Devin, could have as many lovers as he wanted. After initially keeping his distance, gradually Devin started to warm up to Jason who got under his skin. He no longer thought of him as property and started treating him as someone he cared about, seeking him out when there was no need, and because Jason loved to eat, even bringing him treats like fettuccine alfredo :), which surprised and charmed him.

What I loved about this book was the level of detail in the worldbuilding. This is a world where natural food such as steak, fish, vegetables or pasta or any of the foods we eat were luxuries as everyone lived on liquid supplements, even the rich, because it was quick and nutritious. Only a few high end restaurants served natural foods as a special delicacy and there was hardly any need for chefs since very few people actually cooked or ate. Devin didn’t drive to work – his pilot flew him in his private plane. I guess there was no traffic jam in the skies. :)

The protagonists were well crafted. Jason’s initial nervousness and uncertainty came through clearly, not only about having sex with someone he didn’t know especially since this would be his first time with a man, but about everyday questions such as what to call Devin, privacy issues, being totally dependent on another person when he had been accustomed to supporting himself, not having any credits (money), and a whole host of things that on the surface seemed easy enough but in practice were not quite as clear cut to resolve. Devin also had to deal with living with someone else (a man) after being married for 2 years to a woman whom he loved and subsequently divorced, fending off a controlling father, a high profile and demanding job that was almost 24/7 if he let it take over his life, and being with Jason who was fast becoming important to him.

Just when they were getting to know each other well and tender feelings emerged on both sides, disaster struck. What Jason feared came true and he had no hope of ever seeing Devin again, the man he had come to love.

This is Olivia Duncan Craig’s first published novel and I thought she did a wonderful and credible job. Her characters were three dimensional, even the supporting ones, and everyone had enough face time for me to get to know them.

My main issue was the frequent use of the words “bondmate” and “contract-holder” which got a bit tedious after a while. It would have been less repetitive if the protagonists were referred to by their names but I suppose the author wanted to emphasize that the relationship was one of master and slave. It didn’t spoil the book for me but it was annoying. There were a few spelling errors and one name switch, but considering the length of the book (101K) and that it was self published, I think the editing compared very favourably to books released by major epublishers. Last, there were a couple of spots where the book dragged just a little but again, not so much that it spoiled my reading experience.

Some scenes in the end were tough to read and might be a little difficult if you have a hard time with violence but they were essential to the plot.

The world created by the author was completely different to what we know but was entirely believable, and little touches brought it to life and made it sparkle. The writing was crisp and the characters moved me so much that I didn’t want to put this book down. A wonderful debut novel and I can’t wait for Olivia Duncan Craig’s next book.

 

23 thoughts on “Redemption

        1. Wave Post author

          GR
          The author informed me that she plans to release this book through Smashwords in 90 days so all formats will be available then. Apparently she’s committed, because of a previous agreement, to only releasing it in Kindle format until that time.

    1. Wave Post author

      Lee
      Please see my comment below to GR. The author intends to release the book on Smashwords but not for 90 days because of contractual obligations.

        1. Wave Post author

          I’ll ask the author to let me know when this book is available at the usual outlets and I’ll post something in the Weekly Updates and on the review.

  1. asherlev1

    I…swear I’ve read fanfiction in the Supernatural fandom that had an eerily similar plot to that story. Now I’m wondering if the author decided to convert that work into an original story, since, to be honest, it basically was a stand alone to begin with and could have read like an original story.

    1. Melissa

      It was indeed a fic from that fandom, written a couple years ago; I recognized it as well. The author’s fandom journal has a note about her decision to convert it and self-publish.

  2. Wave Post author

    Hi Guys

    I’m not familiar with the protocols about converting fanfic to published novels, but here’s a post written by Erastes almost 3 years ago for this site on this topic:

    http://tinyurl.com/4q3avqx

    It seems that many writers of fanfic become published authors and some are quite well-known. One publisher in particular has been criticized about publishing previous fanfic without noting it on the book.

    Regardless of the origin of this book it appears to be an original work by the author and as such qualifies to be reviewed on the site as a standalone story. According to Melissa, Olivia did mention in her fandom journal that she was going to convert the book and self publish so she was not deceiving anyone, other than not noting the origin of this story on the book that was released (I checked).

  3. Livvie

    Hi. I thought perhaps it might be a good idea to pop in and comment on the fanfic issue, because I don’t want folks to feel as if I were trying to either break copyright or cheat readers of the original story.

    It’s true Redemption is a novel that began its life in fandom. However, it was never tied to a particular canon. It was an actor AU, so other than physical descriptions of the characters and the names of the actors in question, it had no connection to anyone else’s fictional world.

    In adapting it for the m/m romance market, I made a point of not changing the name of the story or even its marketing blurb, and I alerted people on my fannish journal as to what I was doing (while at the same time pulling the original version off the web). I certainly don’t want to trick anyone. But I also didn’t think it was a good idea to call attention to the story’s origin.

    I’ve read a lot of fic over the years, so I know how good some of it can be. But I worried that an unknown author self-publishing something labeled as reworked fanfic would turn off readers who might otherwise give the story a chance.

    I’m currently working on a story that’s entirely new, and had thought Redemption, which people had seemed to like in its previous incarnation, might be a good first effort. I thought if nothing else, it would give me a chance to make mistakes.

    I’m not sure if I’ve made one now. :smile:

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Olivia

      I appreciate you stopping by and clarifying your position.

      I understand why you didn’t initially indicate that this story started out as fanfic, but it might be a good idea to do so now in the book since some readers are already aware of its origins.

      I certainly think highly of the book and will continue to recommend it. :grin:

    2. Lasha

      I see absolutely nothing wrong with you marketing Redemption as original fiction. As you said it was an actor A/U in an original universe that had nothing to do with J2. You created the world, plot and characterizations. Plus you informed readers on your blog about its origins. IMO, you covered all bases.

      I liked it when I originally read it, and I will probably go and buy it in this format for my Kindle. Thanks for being honest and not hiding your fanfic origins. They are so many wonderful m/m authors who started out in fandom.

  4. Enny

    I personally couldn’t care less if a story started out at some fandom as long as it’s full of original ideas and is one hell of a story. Nothing in the blurb and review made me think of Supernatural and it sounds really good.

    Pity it won’t be released anyplace else for such a long time. I boycott any books that are on Amazon’s stupid KDP Select program since I believe the last thing we need is more monopolism.

  5. monica

    I agree with Enny. As long as the story plot is good and one hell of a story, whether it’s fandom or not, I will get it ( which I did lol yesterday thanks to the review here )

  6. Monika

    I don’t buy self-published books unless I know the author’s quality standards or they come recommended by sites like this, but even so I was surprised by the high quality and how much I enjoyed it.
    I wouldn’t have known it’s scifi from the cover, however. It looks (good, but) contemporary to me.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Monica

      I, too, was surprised by how much I enjoyed this story and the depth of all the characters, especially the protagonists. I’m so glad you bought the book. I’m really looking forward to Olivia’s next book.

  7. Nithu

    Thanks for the heads up on this one – I really enjoyed it. I particularly liked the way the author handled the initial awkwardness between Devin and Jason.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Nithu

      I always enjoy books that are unexpected and exceed my expectations. As I said in the review, I was quite prepared for a “meh” experience and instead the book turned out to be a lot better than many stories I’ve read lately. I’m so glad you enjoyed Redemption. :)

  8. Sirius

    This was a wonderful story, thanks for the recommendation Wave. I did not want to leave Jason and Devin myself and you nailed it – great worldbuilding indeed.

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