Counterpunch by Aleksandr Voinov

Title: Counterpunch

Series: Belonging 03

Author: Aleksandr Voinov

Genre: Slavery, Speculative fiction, Violence, BDSM

Length: Novel (178pgs)

Publisher: Storm Moon Press (4th November 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Fight like a man, or die like a slave.

Brooklyn Marshall used to be a policeman in London, with a wife and a promising future ahead of him. Then he accidentally killed a rioter whose father was a Member of Parliament and had him convicted of murder. To ease the burden on the overcrowded prison system, Brooklyn was sold into slavery rather than incarcerated. Now, he’s the “Mean Machine”, a boxer on the slave prizefighting circuit, pummelling other slaves for the entertainment of freemen and being rented out for the sexual service of his wealthier fans.

When Nathaniel Bishop purchases Brooklyn’s services for a night, it seems like any other assignation. But the pair form an unexpected bond that grows into something more. Brooklyn hesitates to call it “love”—such things do not exist between freemen and slaves—but when Nathaniel reveals that he wants to help get Brooklyn’s conviction overturned, he dares to hope. Then, an accident in the ring sends Brooklyn on the run, jeopardizing everything he has worked so hard to achieve and sending him into the most important fight of all—the fight for freedom.

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Review: This book is part of a series but can be read as a stand-alone. Brooklyn was convicted of murder and he lost everything, even the potential of freedom in the future as he was made a slave with no hope of redemption. Nathaniel buys a few nights with Brooklyn and the two become close but after Brooklyn makes a mistake in the ring Nathaniel backs off and Brooklyn finds out the truth of who Nathaniel really is.

What a brilliant book, it’s based in the same universe as Rachel Haimowitz – Anchored where slavery is the norm and slaves have no basic rights. Brooklyn has had everything stripped away leaving him with rage, anger and regret.  He was done an injustice when he was convicted of murder and made into a slave, all to please the dead girl’s father who just happens to be an MP. Nathaniel somehow managers to get through Brooklyn’s shell and make an emotional connection with him but when the truth comes out, Brooklyn and Nathaniel have to come to an agreement as to what will happen next.

I love this story as it’s got boxing, slavery, controversy, love, rage, anger, slight BDSM and great characters. I loved that the story-line and plot was so solid and even though slavery is fiction, the way that the justice system jumps on the police is not… that is pure fact.  What was fiction was police protecting their own; ha they would sooner stab them in the back then help a fellow officer (sorry bugbear of mine). The entire book was detailed and you really ended up feeling just as angry and frustrated on Brooklyn’s behalf as Brooklyn was and I must admit I really wanted Brooklyn to smash Curtis’s face in just once.  God, that man enjoyed his work way too much.

I liked how the relationship progressed between Brooklyn and Nathaniel and I really could understand why Nathaniel backed off.  There was just too much to lose for both of them even if Brooklyn didn’t know why. I also loved that this book was written in English… err, I mean British English as it was a really smooth read as I didn’t keep thinking that there were spelling mistakes everywhere.

So there is a lot of stuff in this for everyone, I don’t think it really leaves anything out it’s got grit, violence, romance, hope, fear, rage, betrayal, slight BDSM, abuse, controversy, strong characters and love… it didn’t have revenge though (I do like a bit of revenge) so I recommend this to everyone… it’s a bloody good read… so read it.