Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Counterpunch (Belonging 3) by Aleksander Voinov

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.

Reviewer: Carolina Fruitfly
Counterpoint is the first book I have read by Aleksander Voinov, but it will not be the last! At first, I was afraid that I would be lost, because Counterpunch is set in the same world as Rachel Haimowitz's Belonging series, however, this was not the case. Voinov fit his story so seamlessly into Haimowitz's world, I would have thought he invented the whole thing himself. The descriptions of the boxing, the brutality that Brooklyn lived in just jumped off the pages for me. You could almost smell the sweat and the blood as it flew, and you could feel Brooklyn's despair at how far he had fallen.

Set in a kind of alternate universe to ours, one where slavery is legal, and is often a punishment for severe crime, this world is both believable and frightening. Brooklyn Marshall was a London policeman until a riot and an accident that took it all away. His job, his wife, his freedom, gone in the blink of an eye. Now a slave, Brooklyn is making his way up the ranks in the slave boxing world. He is nothing more than a moneymaker to his owners, and this is never more apparent than when you find out that, along with the boxing, they also pimp Brooklyn out to whoever wants to pay to "subdue" the tough, strong boxer.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and will be picking up more books by Voinov, as well as the other books in the Belonging series. 4 stars out of 5.

Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Review Courtesy Of: ManicReaders


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