They’re always happy.
Rory James has worked hard all his life to become a citizen of the idyllic city-state of Beulah. Like every other kid born in the neighboring country of Tophet, he’s heard the stories: No crime or pollution. A house and food for everyone. It’s perfect, and Rory is finally getting a piece of it.
So is Tate Patterson. He’s from Tophet, too, but he’s not a legal immigrant; he snuck in as a thief. A city without crime seems like an easy score, until he crashes into Rory during a getaway and is arrested for assaulting a citizen. Instead of jail, Tate is enrolled in Beulah’s Rehabilitation through Restitution program. By living with and serving his victim for seven years, Tate will learn the human face of his crimes.
If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Tate is fitted with a behavior-modifying chip that leaves him unable to disobey orders—any orders, no matter how dehumanizing. Worse, the chip prevents him from telling Rory, the one man in all of Beulah who might care about him, the truth: in a country without prisons, Tate is locked inside his own mind.
Worldbuilding: The apparent utopia of Beulah was a fantastic world, all very eco, environment-friendly, a rather innocent and trusting community. Of course, underneath it all, there’s plenty of filth and abuse, because you can surely trust Heidi Belleau to deliver some sound mindfucking, from my experience. Awesome, awesome world!!
Characters: Rory and Tate were adorable, though not innocent. I loved the blurred lines of good and bad as they progressed as a couple, and on their own, and the whole chip thing had me riveted. I admired and loved them both, and when their happy ending finally happened, I felt they deserved it entirely.
Their one on one was hot, twisted (again, the chip), and delicious. Though one might have ethical questions about it later on, like Rory did, the moments were hot and awesome and I especially loved their one on one at the end there, for obvious reasons you’ll get once you read the story :p
Plot: The story was totally awesome, I consumed the novel in one read and kept telling a friend I was chatting with now and then “Omg, this is terrible. I LOVE it!!”, in various ways, lol.
Writing: Third person narrative, past tense, his and his POV. I loved Tate’s POV especially, because of the chip, and definitely loved getting both perspectives.
Curb Appeal: Hot cover, hooking blurb, and awesome author name => impulsive buy material.
All in all, this was a fabulous mindfuck read, and I fully recommend it if you like Heidi Belleau’s stuff, which is to sway dark, twisted, delicious, and with a happy ending that will have your grinning from ear to ear 😀