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REVIEW: “Esperanza” by Eve Ocotillo


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!!!

End NOTE: If you don’t like reading online you can convert this document for your e reader using Flag https://www.flagfic.com/sites



9307906Title:  Esperanza
Author:  Eve Ocotillo
Publisher:  Online (free)
Pages:  330
Release Date:  2009
Purchase Links:  Freefic

12 comments on “REVIEW: “Esperanza” by Eve Ocotillo

  1. syleegurl
    September 29, 2013

    I’d never heard of this one until you reviewed it. Dang you really loved it. Will I do you think? So curious…


    • shelley
      September 29, 2013

      Fangtasia said the setting was reminiscent of Stephen Kings The Stand, and I have to agree. I think you would like it if you where in the mood for MORE. This book is just so much more than your everyday m/m tropes. I would LOVE for you to read this. Even if it’s not your norm you will still be rewarded with the warm fuzzies but you will get so much from it – I promise.


  2. jenf27
    September 29, 2013

    Thanks for the review and the tip on flagflic!


    • shelley
      September 29, 2013

      I love flagfic it makes my life so easy now. No more copy and paste!!!


  3. Sheri
    September 29, 2013

    wow Shel….I love this review!
    sooo, how much non-con and dub-con are we talking about?? I’ve got kind of a ‘thing’ with that and I’m on the fence about this one


  4. shelley
    September 29, 2013

    Thanks Sheri. The dub-con is really not that bad, and there is not much of it – and what there is, is all relative in my opinion. The non-con is mostly flashbacks, so I don’t know if that makes it easier. I will say that neither is there for the sake of it, it has purpose, either to establish motive, fear or a shifting power dynamic … I think you will be able to look past the literal and find the authors motive. I hope that helps :)


  5. Sue
    September 30, 2013

    Thanks Shelley :) I’ve come across conversations regarding Ocotillo’s work in the past but this has sold me. Love the idea of sitting with a story and thinking about it’s different angles. It sounds FABULOUS. *fist bump*


  6. Allison
    September 30, 2013

    I haven’t heard of this author before, I will have to check it out.


  7. Kaje Harper
    September 30, 2013

    I hadn’t heard of this one – too many good books!, but her “The Violet and the Tom” is one of the best non-lightweight BDSM stories I’ve read. (And free :) Excellent writing.


    • shelley
      October 1, 2013

      I couldn’t agree more. And although Esperanza is not specifically BDSM there is a slightly twisted power play dynamic that is unpredictable and very credible – not something I come across too often. Esperanza is just everything that I want from a novel…. *sigh*


  8. shelley
    October 1, 2013

    And there you have it. ^^ A great endorsement from Kaje Harper. Eve Ocotillo is an excellent writer! It’s such a shame that books like this get no credit. It makes me want to make a banner and protest!


  9. shelley
    October 1, 2013



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This entry was posted on September 29, 2013 by in FanFic / FreeFic, PNR / UF / SF / DYS, Reviewer: Shelley and tagged , , , .

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