When Jacob Dawes is Selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he’s catapulted from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is something no one can forget, or forgive. His growing scientific renown draws the attention of the emperor, a young man Jacob’s own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in an unlikely, and ill-advised relationship. Jacob may have won the emperor’s heart, but it’s no protection when he’s accused of treason. And fighting his own execution would mean betraying the man he loves.
Leah Petersen is giving readers everything they could ask for in her debut release, Fighting Gravity. What starts out as a story with a dystopian feel soon morphs into a teenage boy/girl romance and then segues into a m/m love story with the entire book wrapped up in a sci-fi/futuristic bow. The action moves along at a nice pace presenting a young man's life told from his perspective and the events that befall him good and bad.
Jake Dawes is an intriguing character that practically grows up before our eyes. He came from the unclass and as such was treated shabbily by many. For him to succeed as he did was quite the nose snubbing to the upperclass. I enjoyed seeing him excel when so many thought he'd fail and said he wasn't worthy of trying to better himself. His spontaneous comments and political views sometimes condemned him to some bleak circumstances and I kept wishing he'd learn from those moments, especially when he kept saying he'd learned, but I was continually left frustrated by him.
The Emporer, Pete, is an equally likable character. He's a just leader and tries to always give Jake what he wants. Whereas he understands how precarious the line is when it comes to socioeconomic status, Jake bulldozes through a situation which is why he's always in trouble. Pete's always left trying to reign him in. The connection between these men was palpable from the first time they made eye contact. Being with Jake makes Pete feel more human, more real, since everyone else is bowing down to him. When they're together it's like everyone else doesn't exist.
The romantic life of Jake permeates through the entire story starting with Kirti with them coming together to assuage their loneliness. What he and Pete have is a more mature and lasting relationship that defied every horrible incident that befell them. The romantic interludes were romantic but not at all graphic. There was a sweet edge to the scenes in fact.
Amongst the romance was plenty of political intrigue with a few nasty villains rearing their ugly heads. Amongst the upperclass are plenty of superficial people who could become a villain at any moment. This leads to a feeling of constant tension with every scene that takes place in the capital.
This story grabbed me from the very start and although the early parts set in the school seemed to drag a bit, the story definitely picked up the pace in the latter half. The characters, both primary and secondary and hero and villain, are memorable and written in a realistic manner. Just when you think happiness reigns be prepared for a tension-filled cliffhanger that has me tapping my toe in frustration and anticipation.
My rating for this is a B+
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.