I always said, "I don't do science-fiction / dystopian." Well, now I can say, "Converted!"
Short and compact, but this little gem fits a lot into a few pages.
A securtiy guard, Antho, is watching an assassin on his monitor and is immediately attracted to him. Probably due to his own loneliness and living conditions. After an accident Antho takes the assassin back to his room, all in fear of his life a relationship develops that is as heartbreaking as it is hopeful. The assassin suffers from acute memory loss and keeps forgetting where he is, but Antho is always gently reminding him in a caring way."You were hurt. I brought you here to take care of you. You were safe here. You are safe here."
This was repeated several times, like a mantra, throughout the book and I could feel the caring in Antho, if not a little desperation in his own lonely existence looking for a soulmate. The situation is inevitably hopeless and it has a bitterweet ending where Antho leaves this story as a letter in one of the pockets of the assassin for later. For me it was like Antho was giving a part of himself to accompany the assassin on his way that he should never be forgotten. You could feel longing, desperation, loneliness, companionship, love and loss. It was all there in one compact little bundle.
It wasn't the plot that carried this book for me, but the style of writing. Short, staccato sentences, using only a minimum of tenses gave it a futuristic, digital feel to the story. However, it was also poetic in it's own right and the emotions came across all the more stronger for it. Julio creates a totally futuristic and believable world and I found myself engrossed. Has left a lasting impression on me.
Yep, this story has left me thinking maybe I should try another science-fiction / dystopian book. If thirty-five pages of intense prose can change my preferences to this sub-genre of M/M romance then maybe I'm ready for another go.