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Nearly a century after an engineered virus wipes out most of Earth’s population, Tesla is a drifter, moving from town to town, staying alive as best he knows how, and leaving when residents begin to suspect his secret. He’s heard stories of the heathen traders, of their societies and their sinful ways, and when two arrive at his latest village, he decides to follow them. He expected many things, but not that they’d make him prisoner for his genes.
A homoerotic romance. Warnings for offscreen violence, racism and homophobia, and dubious consent.
Esperanza: So much more than an M/M romance.
I promise I’ll do my best to restrain myself from going on too long, but there is just so much food for discussion here AND it’s not often I REALLY love a book so much. But I’ll behave … kind of :)
Esperanza begins with a deliberate unveiling of a post-apocalyptic / post- virus world through Tesla’s eyes as he drifts from one village to the next, never staying long for fear of being discovered for the sinner he is. Alone, always alone. Hiding.
Just allow me to quickly give you a glimpse of Tesla and his world … because this is what they said…
“A long time, anyway, but not so long either, since the Scourge. When the fist of God had come down, that’s what they said…spreading a pestilence to punish his children for a host of depravities: greed, science, abortion, adultery, sodomy—oh yeah, especially sodomy—and other things that God found hateful. Apparently, God hadn’t done a very good job of it, because that list had Tesla on it, and somehow he was still here, along with others like him. But anyway. That’s what they said.”
Eve Ocotillo gives her characters a voice that reaches right into your soul – totally naff thing to say – I know! But it’s true! When I read Violet and the Tom she not only blew me away – she sang to me! I think Esperanza is just as good but in a different way; it’s more of a … thought provoking wholeness that … hums.
I’m SO impressed with her willingness to go the extra mile by creating vision in symbolism; and then giving her stark setting the scope to not only denote the atmosphere, but enhance the raw gritty characterisation of our MC’s – so well done! There is no scaffolding to prop any element of this story; each and every aspect has the strength to hold its own – such is the realism. And may I just insert a big fat … HUMPH!!! … Because there are not many writers who have the ability to beat my sceptic cynicism into submission so completely.
The relationship between Coyo and Tesla is (affecting) antagonistic from the start – fraught with angry sexual tension that (literally) bites! Ha! But there is more than the issue of being able to love freely. Esperanza might offer acceptance, but it comes with a heavy price and Tesla doesn’t really have a choice but to (seem to) submit to the duty of village cum-cow. I’m not sure what the drama was – I mean – I thought the job had its … perky benefits. Hahahaha…. Sowwwy – I’ll behave …
There is a lot of sex here (Yes! *fist pump*), but there was nothing ‘insipid’ about it at all; each scene functions because of its luscious power – whether it is a display of dominant control or tender loving – the sex counts – and not just to add points to the hotometer. I’m not saying it’s not hot … IT IS! My God …Eve Ocotillo gives really good tongue – I swear!
Now remember I said that this is more than an M/M romance, and it really is. Esperanza is also a thought provoking study of humanity in its most basic environment. Survivors have reverted to insular views of religion, sexuality, and racism. Social equality is undone! Hate and prejudice reins and it’s a case of fear coupled with ignorance – which fuels paranoia – which leads to extremism and ultimately … evil. It is a most credible and terrifying depiction of our future and it just about gave me nightmares thinking to deeply about it. But again, I can’t help but be blown away by the detail in making this a realistic ideology.
Esperanza is a free unpublished work that is not perfect, but I don’t care. I don’t even care that it DID slip into emo meltdown territory at the end – and yes – I would have liked more (I always do) Esperanza just has EVERYTHING that (for me) makes a great read. It’s poignant (<- I hate that friggin’ pretentious word, but I’ll use it), angsty, scary, insightful, swoon worthy, SEXY and beautiful … the landscape, the ideology … everything … it was just … lovely!
Authors Note: Some non-con (in flashback) and dubcon (depends on how PC you are), semi-explicit violence and references to torture (not much worse than first chapter). Themes of religion, racism, sexism and extreme homophobia. Also drug use, illegal today, but anarchy in story time means legal everything. ^^ I wrote this with an eye towards realism, but honestly, there are some ‘yeah right, in your dreams’ moments. Sue me. I’m an amateur.
I have to protest: SHE’S NOT AN AMATEUR!!!
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Author: Eve Ocotillo
Publisher: Online (free)
Release Date: 2009
Purchase Links: Freefic