Title: Being Amber
Author: Sylvia Ryan
Series: #1 in the New Atlanta series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (March 27, 2013)
Source: Purchased/Kindle Freebie
Synopsis: Jaci Harmon was born a Sapphire, but after she’s summoned to receive her final designation, the testing reveals she carries a gene slated for eradication. Within a day, she’s sterilized and dumped in the Amber Zone, where the damaged are corralled away from the rest of New Atlanta. Scared and alone, Jaci would rather die than face her future as an Amber.
Born in the Amber Zone, Xander Dimos is a product of a lifetime spent under the oppression of the Repopulation Laws. Decades of suffering have taught the Ambers to make the zone a place where touch, sex, and unconditional acceptance ease the pain of their fate. Jaci has a lot to learn about her new home, and it’s Xander's responsibility to guide her through the differences and the dangers safely.
With the simmering undercurrents of sexual chemistry growing between them, and in the midst of discovering the Gov’s true motives, Jaci and Xander must overcome his secret and accept their love as undeniable...even if the time allotted to share it is short.
My Thoughts: The Dystopian theme of this book really spoke to me. The world building was interesting and kept my interest throughout the book.
The Good Stuff: In the near future, when an influenza pandemic breaks out killing over 90% of the world's population our governments decided it was imperative they repopulate with only "perfect" specimens. Why is this good? Well, it's not but the world building surrounding this fact was actually really good. The government tests all humans as they become of age and determine if their genetic makeup is good enough to breed. If so they are designated an upper class. However, if they find a defective genetic marker the citizen is sterilized and designated Amber. This idea is truly terrifying. In addition to the Gov looking for potential unwanted genes, if you're IQ is low, you also get the boot to Amber. I have to really hand it to the author, she sucked me in to her world and I enjoyed learning about it. I also liked how she incorporated touching and comforting into the Amber world.
The Bad Stuff: Being an erotic romance there is quite a bit of sex. Now, erotica is not a favorite genre of mine and I don't read much of it but I didn't hate the sexual aspect of this book. However, the first sex scene happens rather quickly after we learn about Jaci's testing and subsequential fall to Amber so it feels completely out of place and it felt like I ran head long into a brick wall. Just a note, Jaci is not involved in the scene. In addition, the scene was a ménages à trois m/f/m and the author makes it a point to say that both men were for the female's pleasure as being gay and having gay sex were against the law. However, this apparently doesn't include sex between two women as this happens later in the book. This inconsistency really bugged me. Jaci's character was also not a great aspect of this book as she pulls several TSTL moments in a world she really knew nothing about.
The Stuff That Could Have Been Better: The mystery surrounding who was killing the fallows (those who were sterilized by the government) could have been fantastic. Unfortunately it took a back seat to an unbelievable romance that happened over an extremely short time. When the murderer was unveiled it was interesting but felt sudden and the reasons behind the murders are never fully explained. In addition, the fact that the Amber Zone is full of genetically unacceptable people and those with lowered IQs it made it seem really weird that the apartment building Jaci was assigned to was full of open door orgies. Where's all the creepy mutants? Wish this would have been explained better.
In a Nutshell: Despite the less than satisfying stuff I really did like the world Sylvia Ryan created and will probably read more in this series.