On the 4th of July in the year 2115 sixteen year old Spartak Jones, an Olympic bound athelete is betrayed, drugged, kidnapped and sold, the first legal slave since the Civil War, just as America splinters into a bloody power struggle between the families of the ruling elite. Fighting for survival freedom and love, he proves to be a lethal warrior, resourceful, fearless, loyal and not shy about his sexuality. His exploits awaken a long dormant liberal underground and he becomes a symbol of hope a handsome flesh and blood icon for an America that used to be and might be again- if he can endure.
Received this book from netgally and the publisher in exchange for an honest review this has in no way affected my opinion.
This is about the poverty gap which is great in a furturistic USA and as a poor but gifted student Spartak does all he can to keep his family alive and healthy. He is talented in the arts and goes to a special school on a government grant he knows the horrendously rich control his destiny.When politics take a turn for the worst and the government makes it legal for the upper class to own the poor class as slaves for “their own good.” Spartak is the first person to be forcibly taken, have his family threatened with capitulation and be thrust into slavery. Those he could trust can no longer be trusted but in his new life he finds friends in unexpected places and with his natural charm and perseverance he fights for his rights to be his own man.
I’d label this Science Fiction and let me explain my ambigious genre classing. this book is listed as LGBT Young Adult Science Fiction but in my opinion it wasn’t young adult at all. When Spartak is sold as a slave he’s sold as a sex slave to a young baron, not only is the content graphic but the idea itself strays outside of the YA boundary a bit especially considering Spartak is sixteen year old. But because he was sixteen I hesitated putting the m/m tag on it though it gave me more of that feel with the very present slave to lover trope I didn’t even put LGBT on it. even though yes technically Spartak is bisexual because… his sexuality didn’t seem to be as much of an issue to the worldbuilding as the fact he was raped constantly since he was a boy because he was poor.
Despite his difficulties , Spartak is quite a special sixteen year old. Not only is he mentally and physically gifted but he’s completely selfless .He protects his poor family to his own detriment including being raped by the authorites while he tries to smuggle clothing and food into the projects, His parents lived in an abandoned mini golf course or something similar which gave the world an interesting apocalyptic carnival feel very The Hunger Games and even when Spartak is a slave and essentially powerless he draws allies to him and constantly fights for other peoples rights. it’s more than generous to say he’s a Mary sue or Gary Stu and the abuse he endures is unending because of this Gary Stu wish fullfilllment even though he suffers greatly and surely deserves a happy ending when he is victorious it feels a bit tired .
I’m not going to say you shouldn’t read this if you are under the age of sixteen because frankly I was reading books with graphic violence and sexual acts when I was younger but I will say this didn’t strike me as YA with its more adult themes. If you love The Hunger Games and you want a bit more of a gritty and adult feel you may love Rising Son