Published by Riptide Tin Man (Bliss, #1.5) on July 20th 2015
Petty thief Ashoka “Ace” King knows better than to get in the way of Tophet’s Anti-Terrorist Unit. Rightfully feared in Tophet’s crime-ridden underbelly, a face-to-face encounter with an ATU is almost certainly a death sentence. But Ace has never been one to follow the rules.
Soren Lau might be an ATU rookie, but he’s not naive enough to believe everything his superiors tell him. Then again, he’s not stupid enough to disobey them, either. If he doesn’t shoot and kill as ordered, he might be next on their list.
But when Soren meets Ace, a moment’s hesitation is all it takes to put both their lives on the line. They don’t know each other, they don’t trust each other, and there’s no way in hell they can both walk away from this alive. But with suspicion and mortal danger mounting against both of them—and the forbidden attraction blazing between them—there’s nothing they can do but try.
Tinman was an enjoyable novella set in dystopian world with two characters on opposite sides of the law. Tophet is a society that has its strict moral laws forever encroaching into people’s basic human rights in all aspects. So called criminals known as “Crims” are now being eradicated by a unit called the ATU.
Ace is homeless and is forced to a life of crime because of Tophet’s inhuman way of life, which took an awful turn for the worst when he was a child. Leaving his family home of his choosing after his father got into trouble, Ace’s life for so long has been stealing and petty crime just to starve off the hunger in his belly. Soren is a member of the ATU and his life has been that of somewhat privilege because his family have managed to stay on the right side of Tophet’s rules. Soren has a secret, one that could have him permanently off the squad. He may even be killed if they find out he is gay.
I enjoyed the characters and the world Henry and Belleau created. The writing was sharp, engrossing, and I loved the dark and gritty tone. While it’s everyone for themselves, there is a community amongst the Crims who have their own system inside Tophet. To the ATU there is no distinction between Crims and they’ve now lumped into the same category as terrorists. If you’re on their list there is no appeal or reasonings with the ATU officer. Ace and Soren meet in a tangle of punches and limbs when Soren chases Ace and a friend of his, Chet, who looks after the kids left to fend for themselves in Tophet. Able to get an upperhand on Soren, instead of letting Soren fall to his death, Ace’s conscious cannot allow it and through his action, Soren and Ace engage on a path that could lead to both of their deaths.
While I enjoyed both characters I struggled with their instant attraction during the aftermath of the chase, in which they beat each other bloody, and with Ace lying on top of him, Soren becomes super hard. Ace sees this and with some aggressive talk back between them, Soren gives Ace a smoking hot BJ. Even though I really enjoyed the writing, their first meet and start of their attraction came off somewhat jarring, and I struggled to see what drew each them to each other when they were literally both fighting for their lives. They risk the wrath of the ATU by continuing to see each other, despite some horrid interrogations Soren goes through. There was almost a reckless abandonment between the two, with Soren finally realising what he suspected before about the ATU. But I enjoyed the action and the story continuously moved forward with both Soren and Ace leaning on each other to survive and the vulnerability between them both grew and I really got stuck into the story and their romance.
Even though I struggled with the beginning of their romance, I enjoyed Tinman. It’s worldbuilding packs a sturdy punch in a novella. I give it a C+
I double-checked on Nook but it doesn’t seem to be available there.