REVIEW: Trustworthy by Astrid Amara
Ten years ago, lovers and best friends Ivo Toreli and Robert Mackenzie were separated by death.
But sometimes life gives you second chances. Life…and a lot of cybernetic enhancements.
Trust Agent 505 may not remember who he was before he worked security for Trust Insurance, but now his prisoner thinks he knows him. This revolutionary named “Mack,” who has stolen one of Trust’s prized possessions, seems to think Agent 505 is named “Ivo,” someone from his past. Someone he once loved more than anyone on any of the inhabited worlds.
Ivo doesn’t remember any of it, of course. But if he’s going to get Trust’s property back from the revolutionaries, he’s going to have to play along.
And if playing along also means sleeping with a handsome, humorous, and slightly dangerous ex-soldier, all the better, right?
Dear Astrid Amara,
I always look forward to a new story from you, but when I heard that this one would be a sequel to your 2008 book “A policy of lies” I was a little disappointed. I could not finish “A policy of lies” years ago and when I tried to read it again, all I managed was to skim it. It was not horrible by any means, but it paled for me in comparison with some of your other books.
I did not feel that I was confused when I started reading the new book, though, so I think the readers could easily read this book without reading the first one. It takes place in the same world, and we do get to meet the couple from the first book briefly at the end, but the events in “Trustworthy” take place twenty years later and those events can be easily understood on their own.
The blurb describes the set up very well. Two boys had been friends with each other since they met in the orphanage when they were six or seven. They grew up together and joined the Army together, and we meet them in the prologue of the story when they are both about twenty five and their unit is assigned to fight an unexpected raid by revolutionaries. Ivo dies during that assignment and then the next chapter opens up with a “ten years later” note.
The prologue took maybe fifteen percent of the story on my kindle and I am a little torn about what the author was trying to do here. Ivo narrates the whole story and in the prologue he is still Ivo, he is still in full control of his memory, and among other things we are supposed to see how much these guys are in love with each other. From the blurb we know that a major part of the story is about Ivo not remembering the love of his life for some very good reasons and then eventually reuniting with him after all the action has taken place. Of course in the prologue the reader needs see their love so that it will be all the more painful to watch Ivo struggling after all that time.
Initially I was not sure how much of their love I *saw*. I sympathized with Ivo right away, clearly the guy had a hard life and he supposedly had a deep and powerful connection with his best friend. I saw Ivo’s love pretty fast, but I did not see the connection as clearly.
“When we finished our burritos and Mack got up to use the restroom, I went ahead and ordered him a flan because I knew he’d want one. I paid for our meal before he could protest, because he spent his credits on osys upgrades, virchworlds, books, instruments, gadgets, whereas I saved every penny so I could buy Mack shit. When Mack came back to the table, the bill paid for, the flan, and sugary Mexican coffee awaiting him, his look of boyish delight melted my heart.”
When the story picks up ten years later, Mack and Ivo are on different sides of the barricades, and Ivo is not even aware that he is Ivo anymore. He works for “Trust Insurance” company and he is Agent 505. When Mack is attacks the train which Ivo and other agent are guarding because it is transporting a valuable item, Mack does recognize Ivo even though he saw his lover die in front of him, but Ivo has no idea.
During the attack Ivo takes Mack prisoner. Mack supposedly threw away the item during the attack, but he knows where it is and he and Ivo need to hire a transport and get there together since there is nobody else left to do so.
In the meantime Mack keeps telling Ivo stories from the life he does not remember, and here and there Ivo seems to catch fleeing impressions from the past, but they disappear frustratingly quickly.
Will the men reconnect? Will Ivo remember all that he had lost? Why is he alive when his last words in prologue are him feeling as if his back was breaking? What did Trust do to him and to the other agents, who do not even have their names anymore? Stay tuned to find out!
I want to note that while this book has plenty of action scenes and the setting can be characterized as science fiction, to me it is first and foremost a romance. Don’t get me wrong, I did not feel that the setting was lacking anything; I thought the author shared just enough to write a satisfying romance. Just don’t go in expecting hard science fiction, all that I am saying.
The romance was indeed very satisfying for me and despite what I wrote above; I think it is not a spoiler to say that the men do come back to each other, because once again it is a romance novel. I realized something as I was writing this review – I think it was by design that in the prologue we mostly saw Ivo’s love for Mack because he was the POV character, but even though he remains the POV character throughout the whole book in the rest of the story Mack’s love for him shines through as well.