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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Blog Tour Review - To Cage A God by Elizabeth May

 Blog Tour Review - To Cage A God by Elizabeth May

To cage a god is divine.

To be divine is to rule.

To rule is to destroy.

Using ancient secrets, Galina and Sera’s mother grafted gods into their bones. Bound to brutal deities and granted forbidden power no commoner has held in a millennia, the sisters have grown up to become living weapons. Raised to overthrow an empire―no matter the cost.

With their mother gone and their country on the brink of war, it falls to the sisters to take the helm of the rebellion and end the cruel reign of a royal family possessed by destructive gods. Because when the ruling alurea invade, they conquer with fire and blood. And when they clash, common folk burn.

While Sera reunites with her estranged lover turned violent rebel leader, Galina infiltrates the palace. In this world of deception and danger, her only refuge is an isolated princess, whose whip-smart tongue and sharp gaze threaten to uncover Galina’s secret. Torn between desire and duty, Galina must make a choice: work together to expose the lies of the empire―or bring it all down.

This is a stunning new fantasy epic! It's an idea I've never seen before, people with god-like dragons caged within their very bones, a symbiotic relationship between a human and something incredibly powerful but as fickle as a cat. 

Most of the people with this power are nobles, with the exception of the two heroines, Galina and Sera, who have the power as a result of dangerous and painful experiments done on them by their mother when they were young. And at its heart, To Cage A God is a story about inequality and revolution. The empress is both incredibly powerful and incredibly evil, a true villain to be despised and hated, and definitely feared. When Galina infiltrates her world, her court, the sense of danger is wonderful. It's a world where people are horribly killed because the empress is in a bad mood, so Galina and those around her always felt in peril. 

This is a book filled with peril, excitement, danger and action. There's intrigue, but the politics is pretty clear and it's more spy action than political manoeuvring. There are people with conflicting ideologies and methodologies forced to work together, there's suspicion and betrayal, but because most of the main players are point-of-view characters, as a reader I knew who I could trust and who I couldn't. There are compromises, but not a lot of exploration of morally grey areas. 

What there is, instead, is some scintillating romance! Any fans of the enemies-to-lovers trope is going to love this book! There are sexy, dangerous assassins with witty one-liners and sharp cheekbones to fall in love with. There's the princess of an evil empire, a member of the ruling elite, to fall in love with. There are two sisters caught in the middle of a conflict who find themselves drawn to people they've been fighting against. Old flames rekindle while new flames burst into life in captivity. As I was reading it I decided it wasn't so much about love, though I think that comes in by the end. It's about need. It's about seeing someone and having to have them, to possess them, to conquer them, to love them with a desperate need, even though every instinct is screaming at you that it is a bad idea. Every instinct maybe, but not the ancient, god-like dragon bound within your very bones who also feels that need and draw. And as this is adult fantasy, it goes beyond just yearning need and there's a bit more action there too.

I loved how the dominance of the ruling nobles was portrayed. One of the really clever things this book does is show how they asserted themselves through the destruction of the university, the banning of the language of the common people, and the control of the press. It's subtle and clever, and echoes reality really well. The battle is for the hearts and minds and although there are nobles who can destroy whole towns with godfire, the destruction of knowledge and tradition is just as important for them. In fact, the book does clever things with language throughout, with different tongues differentiating between status and being linked to the godpower. 

And finally, I loved how effectively it portrayed chronic illness, something rarely seen in fantasy where magic is thrown around almost carelessly. There's one character suffering from chronic pain, and there's a really sensitive depiction of it, from the attitude of her mother towards her condition, to the treatments she takes, to the price she has to pay to do things, the time each public appearance takes her to recover from, the pain that follows. It never defines her, but is an immutable part of her and her daily life.

Caged dragons, an evil empire and lots of enemies to lovers spiciness. I loved To Cage a God and can't wait for the next instalment in the series!


To Cage a God by Elizabeth May is out on 20th February 2024 from Daphne Press.

I was given a review copy in exchange for an honest review and participation in this Black Crow PR blog tour.


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