I must say, what attracted me to check this book out was the cover. I don’t normally do that and that surprised me, but the authoritative title and secretive series name got me to read the blurb.
In the dystopian future, two men discover attraction isn’t just dangerous, it’s deadly.
It is the year 2070. Generations ago, the world was annihilated by catastrophic environmental events. The survivors were driven to live in big city centers ruled by the Company. To rebuild the world’s population, the oppressive Company had one rule: all homosexuals must be exterminated.
Commander Caspar Cannon has a stellar military reputation—and a life-threatening secret. When a revolution rips through the territories, Cannon is ordered to escort Company executive Nathaniel Rice to a secure location. For months, the commander has harbored illicit desire for Rice, knowing he cannot act on his attraction. Privileged, polished, and groomed to one day take over the Company, Rice is drawn to the rugged, military man. Yet Rice has his own mysterious agenda, and he knows their love can be as dangerous as the wasteland they must traverse.
Now leaving the besieged city behind, the two men embark on a journey that becomes a minefield of sabotage, betrayal—and forbidden passion. But when danger catches up to them, can Cannon trust the secretive man who holds his heart—and his fate?
So with this blurb, how can I not read the book?
I like dystopian stories. I think we deal with various apocalyptic threats more and more lately and naturally our imagination runs wild, which seeps into written novels. However, with dystopia, the author must create a unique world that on one hand has to be extreme, yet appealing, and on the other hand – vague in its intentions.
In His Command takes place 60 years into the future. It’s 2070 and the United States is no longer. A Company is running the show, and they dictate the InterUnion’s regions agenda. After a destructive plague wiped out the majority of the world’s population, there are strict procreation rules, and derived from that is possibly the #1 law: Homosexuality is an abomination and is 100% banned. It’s illegal.
Unions between civilians must potentially produce offsprings, and every couple must publicly prove their physical union immediately after the ceremony because of that. The army’s people, enforcing the Company’s laws, are exempt from joining in unions, however homosexuality laws apply to them, as well. Each of the four major regions has an underground theater where unlawful acts are performed, and that’s where Commander Casper Cannon meets Nathaniel Rice.
I loved Casper. He lost his entire family to the plague and is alone with his secret identity, the only person knowing about it is his Second in command. He has already been burnt by the homosexuality law’s repercussions, and has closed himself off to the possibility of that kind of hurt repeating itself. He is charged with escorting Nathaniel Rice to the Outpost of the company, guarding him while they trek through the Wilderness, protecting him from dangerous nomads opposing the Company.
His tough guy act works well with the character, however I felt that the language could’ve been taken down a notch. At times, more during the first half of the book, he sounded like a macho know-it-all, a lot of military “badass” slang, that in all honesty – I didn’t feel contributed to his characterization.
Nathaniel has his own secrets. His identity is bit by bit revealed throughout the story, and is exposed in full right when the story approaches a dicey conclusion and his relationship with Casper is tested. What I liked about Nathaniel is his almost “high-schooler in love” behavior when he’s with Casper.
The creating of the world the story takes place in was a little underdeveloped and lagged during the first half of the book, which I’m quite positive will deter many readers. I think the love story between Nathaniel and Casper is important to the progression of the story; they need to overcome some personal and emotional obstacles, not to mention they’re going against the governing body that prohibits their relationship, however Rie Warren managed to add some sweet into the mix, which I very much appreciated.
I would recommend reading this if you’re looking for a unique setting, a challenging direction and don’t mind “suffering” a little through some parts in the story that aren’t as balanced with the rhythm of the rest of the book.
I sure hope that in 2070 homosexuality isn’t banned. That would be really depressing in light of all the progress achieved so far.
NetGalley and the publisher, Forever Yours, were kind enough to provide a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.