I’d heard a little bit about this one before Angry Robot reached out and asked if I’d like to review it on a blog tour and it sounded right up my alley!
So thanks to the author, as well as Angry Robot for the review copy!
Valentine Weis is a salvager in the future wastelands of Utah. Wrestling with body dysphoria, he dreams of earning enough money to afford citizenship in Salt Lake City – a utopia where the testosterone and surgery he needs to transition is free, the food is plentiful, and folk are much less likely to be shot full of arrows by salt pirates. But earning that kind of money is a pipe dream, until he meets the exceptionally handsome Osric.
Once a powerful AI in Salt Lake City, Osric has been forced into an android body against his will and sent into the wasteland to offer Valentine a job on behalf of his new employer – an escort service seeking to retrieve their stolen androids. The reward is a visa into the city, and a chance at the life Valentine’s always dreamed of. But as they attempt to recover the “merchandise”, they encounter a problem: the android ladies are becoming self-aware, and have no interest in returning to their old lives.
The prize is tempting, but carrying out the job would go against everything Valentine stands for, and would threaten the fragile found family that’s kept him alive so far. He’ll need to decide whether to risk his own dream in order to give the AI a chance to live theirs.
World Running Down is the story of Valentine, who is a trans man and a salvager in the future dystopian wasteland that is Utah. He and his partner Ace drive a run down van back and forth from settlement to settlement trying to avoid the pirates of the Salt Flats along the way. Valentine dreams of making it into Salt Lake City, which is pretty much an oasis in the desert. Salt Lake City is run by powerful AI, and Osric was once one of them, until he was put into an android body and sent to find Valentine to offer him a job. The reward is a visa into the city, and so of course, Valentine is all over it. Of course, the job is going to be full of shenanigans, and tough decisions on top of them.
I really enjoyed my time with World Runs Down. I don’t typically love dystopias, however this one was done in a way that I absolutely latched on to Valentine and Osric, and from there, it didn’t matter what the setting was. I did end up really enjoying the setting itself though, with there being mormon pirates, and hybrid animals wandering around dystopian Utah and all.
But as I said, the real thing that kept me reading this one into the wee wee hours was Valentine and Osric, and most especially the relationship between them. Valentine is trying to navigate who he is and fighting to make enough money for the hormones and surgery he needs. Osric has been forced into a body that he doesn’t want and is trying to come to terms with that on top of having the feels at Valentine. To be honest, it was friggin adorable watching these two flirting.
Me at first: hmmm… gay AI romance tho?
Me at the end: mmm, gay AI romance tho…
I gobbled this book up in two days, and I gotta say, this might be my favorite Angry Robot title to date. I recommend it to anyone that is into dystopias, books with great trans rep, and adorable AI romances. 5/5 stars!~
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