Retired military officer Malcolm Torvik runs a rehabilitation facility for malfunctioning pleasure cyborgs. When WLF-6759—Wolf—arrives at Reboot Camp, the former battle cyborg presents problems Malcolm’s never faced before. Most pleasure cyborgs are sensation junkies, constantly high on the chemicals sex releases into their bloodstream, but Wolf’s faulty refit means it’s spent a decade suffering through unwanted encounters—and sometimes fighting back despite the consequences.
At first Wolf’s rebellion frustrates Malcolm even as Wolf’s undeniable physical perfection draws him. Then Wolf’s unexpected vulnerability and need open a whole new dynamic between them, and Malcolm finds himself feeling far too much for something that isn’t even human. Or is it? Could Homo sapiens technica be just as human as Malcolm is? And if it is, what’s Malcolm supposed to do about it? Malcolm’s been alone for so long…. Is it possible he’s found love with a cyborg? How far will he go to ensure Wolf’s freedom? Malcolm knows what he must do—for both of them—but it might cost him much more than his comfortable life.
This is a story that I had a problem rating. I despised Malcolm from the very beginning and completely empathized with Wolf’s plight. A part of the issue was I couldn’t understand a society who would willingly take a people and draw a line about what was and wasn’t human. Malcolm had a superior attitude that grated. Even though his attitude changes as he comes to understand Wolf, I still held a sliver of dislike for Malcolm that I couldn’t get rid of.
Wolf on the other hand I wanted to steal away and then raid the cyborg “factories” and save them all. Revolution! I understand that both Malcom and Wolf were raised in cultures of warped right and wrongs but where was humanity’s compassion? Some of the scenarios of abused cyborgs that Malcom relayed horrified me. And seriously, if you have to drug something/someone in order to get them to accept “programming”… See, I just can’t let it go. And perhaps that was the author’s intent. To write in a social message that would get the reader thinking. In my case, that social message ruined my enjoyment of the romance.
Despite everything I hated about the culture, the world building was fantastic. The pictures drawn for me about the era and how people lived were very well done. It had many things I love to find in sci-fi reads, but in the end, this really wasn’t the romantic story I was hoping for.