Review: Anton’s Grace by Regine Abel

Reviewed by Ronelle

Grace Hopper is in the deepest trouble of her life. Stranded on Venus Hive and hounded by her manager/ex-boyfriend’s creditors, she sees Anton Myers as her only way out. She’s knocked on a lot of doors already and his is the last one left.

The wealthy and ruthless owner of the Hive Network agrees to bail her out…for a price. In exchange for paying Marcus’ debts, Grace must sign a contract agreeing to do and give Anton anything he wants for the next six months, no questions asked.

Grace doesn’t know how long Anton has waited for this moment. She doesn’t remember him, but he’s never forgiven or forgotten her rejection at their first encounter. Grace is about to pay for her childish arrogance and indiscretion… with interest.

***

This was, at times, a hard book for me to read and a hard review for me to write, but not because the book was bad. In fact, Anton’s Grace was an amazing read. What made it difficult was the subject matter (which I was warned about ahead of time by Ms. Abel herself and the disclaimer she provided in the front of the book). When it started, I was afraid I’d just picked up 50 Shades of Grey…IN SPACE, but that fear was quickly put to rest in favor of something much, much more intriguing and thought-provoking.

Ms. Abel created a vivid sci-fi world of humans, varying species of alien, and sex among the stars. Her descriptions weren’t over-long or flowery, but gave a stunning picture nonetheless. Entertainment barges were extremely lucrative and popular while indentured sex servitude was an accepted part of the society and often treated as a business arrangement. Slavery did occur, but contracts between the involved parties was apparently more normal. BDSM appeared to be commonplace and the participants were quite open about it. There were definitely darker, seedier activities hinted at, though they lurked on the fringes of the story for the most part. Venus Hive was an interesting place and I could see more stories taking place there or on one of its sister Hives.

I feel the need to address this right away: Anton’s Grace contained scenes of rape, an attempted-and-partly-successful rape, demeaning treatment of women, and graphic violence. And before you ask, no, I don’t think Ms. Abel was glorifying, condoning, justifying, or excusing any of it. This was a fantasy couple in a made-up world, which for me at least, made all the difference in this bearing a resemblance to ‘real life’. Each reader will need to decide for themselves, however, and even those who are okay with the above subject matter may find scenes that make them uncomfortable. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.

As for the characters…we get quite a cast. Grace and Anton were fucked up in their own unique, complicated, heart-breaking ways. She had dependence issues, low self-worth, and an addiction to attention of all kinds. He was angry, controlling, and a slave to the customs and dictates of his people (despite their utter disregard and contempt for him). Both had awful childhoods and were desperate for love and acceptance and belonging, but they handled those needs in different ways. From the jump, he had all the control and he certainly misused it a few times. The scenes of Anton abusing Grace were uncomfortable and anyone with triggers regarding sexual and physical violence should steer clear. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried for Grace at one point. I also cheered when William stepped in and put Anton in his place. It was needed and very well done when dubious consent turned into flat-out non-con. It was a relief to watch as Anton and Grace grew and learned as events progressed. Did that make his behavior okay? Absolutely not and each was well aware of it. However, by the end, they were completely different people than who they were when we met them. Redemption and forgiveness were two of the brighter notes of this tale and they struck such a poignant chord.

As for typos, there were several—although I think I may have received a pre-publication ARC (which was fine). For that reason, I’m not going to detail what I found and hope that those errors are fixed before the release date.

Bottom line: This is not for the squeamish, faint of heart, or easily triggered. That being said, I highly recommend Anton’s Grace for lovers of sci-fi/fantasy and those who don’t mind dark content. Just heed this disclaimer, folks.

Rating: A

Click to purchase: Amazon

Anton’s Grace
by Regine Abel
Release Date: June 9, 2017

Comments

  1. This sounds really unique and interesting in a strange way!

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