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.
Bliss was an absolutely horrifying tale. Do note that I said the story was horrifying, not the writing. The authors have crafted an excellent sci-fi romance that is just a tad too believable, which is why it scared the bejeezus out of me. I could so see this type of justice system being corrupted in the exact way the authors have it occur in Bliss.
Beulah is an almost utopian society. Everyone works for the greater good and because of this, crime is practically nonexistent. But when laws are broken, the community works to rehabilitate, not punish the offender. At least that is what the majority of citizens believe. With Tate’ s induction in the rehabilitation program for assaulting Rory we learn quickly that the chip does far more than suppress violent urges as the public has been led to believe. It is Rory’s discomfort with Tate and Tate’s subsequent sexual advances that confirm what you already suspect, that Rory is a good guy. It’s also why you cannot help but feel sympathy for him later in the book when he is dealing with the guilt he
feels once he learns the true nature of the chip – he is as much of a victim of the system that Tate is. While Lowell’s behavior as he attempted to convince Rory of the benefits of having a rezzy were disturbing, it was what Lowell did to Aaron that truly disgusted me and forced me to walk away from my Kindle for a while. Lowell is an example of the adage absolute power corrupts absolutely and he is a large part of why this book freaked me out.
Because of the nature of the chip, nearly all of the sex scenes are nonconsensual. Despite that, some are very loving and touching, while others are hot. But some of the sex scenes are quite disturbing because of the way in which they were orchestrated. Fortunately, the authors include a fully consensual scene that is perfect and was exactly what I needed as a reader. Bliss is an excellent example of the gray areas in life. While there are a couple of clear-cut bad guys, there are also characters who are both victim and perpetrator and I couldn’t help but feel badly for them.
Bliss is a definite 5-star read for me. Not because it meets my reread criteria – because I’m not sure that I’ll ever read it again – but because it has left a significant impression on me. This is a book that I know will cross my mind many times in the future. I can only hope that it remains a work of fiction.
to read the first Chapter of Bliss!!!
Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.
Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.
When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her daughter or sipping a drink at her favourite coffee shop.
She also writes queer-flavoured M/F as Heloise Belleau.
Or contact her using good old-fashioned email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a copy of our first joint release — King of Dublin. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On September 1, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!