Cover Image: Cygenic

Cygenic

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Member Reviews

3/5 

This is a multiple point of view M/M erotic romance novel set in a distant future where Cynenics, human-like sentient robots, are systematically oppressed by humans. 

In the story we follow Dante, a Cygenic, who was created as a Professor Cunningham as a new type of cygenic that can learn and be more human like. When his 'master' dies , Dante is placed as an orderly until he is kidnapped and sold into prostitution. He eventually meets Nate, a human working for an organization dedicated to uplifting Cygenics. Romance ensues. 

The beginning of the book felt a little scattered as there were several time jumps and ending felt rushed and abrupt but overall it was a fast read.

TW: rape, prostitution, lack of consent, molestation
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I absolutely loved this book. 
It had a very unique premise and the emotional connection of the characters was fascinating. 
The main question throughout was the humanity of the robots and their ability to feel love with humans. The very real trauma Dante and his friend go through juxtaposed to the relationship drama Nate goes through makes the characters very real and relatable to modern day human rights. 
Dante especially is amazing, given his initial purpose in life (research) which raises him a bit above other cyborgs, and then being thrust into the very lows of existence, yet persevering through it and fighting for the rights of his people. 
I almost forgot this was a erotic romance novel  :) Though I was definitely caught up in the romance!
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3.5/5 This was a slow start book for me and my enjoyment steadily grew to full enjoyment by the end. 

I enjoyed the writing, the plot, most of the characters, and found I was incredibly engaged throughout. My concerns came in the initial 30% in which our Cygenic MCs were ‘living’ particularly bleak lives, in which rape, physical abuse, and slavery was the foreground of their existence. I think the pacing could have been tightened up here as well to get on with the convergence of the three POVs and how they engage. It was tough to read, but as the story progresses, it becomes about how they transition to a life free of such regular traumas and navigate a world of trust among humans, and the whole first part is then so incredibly relative and important. 

I’ve read a bit of Sci Fi and am getting more into it, but this was the first AI/Cybernetic being story I’ve read in which rights, slavery, and general issues about consent was the main theme throughout. It certainly evoked a great deal of rage in me, and I hated more or less all of the humans in this story at any given time, but I will definitely be looking into more similar stories now.

I loved Dante’s character. He was a perfect sympathetic character; you wanted him to succeed, you understand his unique past and heightened capacity for human emotion and intelligence, and your heart simply shatters for him and all he has to go through. He was so very real and I would have been happy to read a whole series about him. ‘Taire on the other hand was tough to read. He had never known kindness or even human decency, so to watch him struggle to trust was painful and uncomfortable. Necessary, but difficult to comprehend.

Nate, our human MC, was the toughest one to understand. he made incredibly poor choices all throughout the story, but then I suppose there was a certain alignment between his backstory and that of the abused Cygenics he befriends, **SPOILER** in that he was abandoned, paid off by someone who should have loved him, was emotionally abused by a lover, gaslit, and just had not sense of how to be treated by human beings. I hated his initial partner with such a fiery passion!

Excellent writing from Monique Poirier with excellent worldbuilding that I would be very glad to visit again! (Oddly, I think the book cover has spelled her surname incorrectly?)

*Warnings for non-con, abuse, gaslighting, underage sex, trafficking, alcohol abuse.

Thanks to NetGalley, Monique, and Circlet for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Cygenic is a brilliant and very interesting book, with lovely characters and a precious and touching slow-burn romance.

Among the characters, I particularly loved Dante. He is gifted with great sensitivity, he is extremely intelligent and cultured, but he also knows how to be a little mischievous and flirty. Definitely a fascinating MC.

{ "As a point of fact, I don't deserve anything," I said bitterly. "Deservedness isn't a concept applicable to cygenics. We are purpose-built to serve the wants and needs of others. We're not supposed to want or need for ourselves. Anything granted to us is a mark of human kindness, not to be expected and certainly not deserved." }

The book in general is very well written, and presents philosophical, psychological and technological references, which make it even more interesting and enjoyable, and in the course of the story it shifts the reader's attention several times to the ethical aspect concerning artificial intelligences and their role in society. I found this aspect very pleasant, which makes Cygenic not just a simple M/M novel, but an all-round reading experience and a good food for thought.

To conclude, speaking of the love story, I must admit that the result was somewhat unexpected, but very welcome and sweet. I really enjoyed the interactions between the characters and how the author handled things between Nate and Dante and 'Taire. I don't want to go into too much detail to avoid spoilers, but I especially appreciated how, in their moments of intimacy, Nate has always done everything possible to make the two cygenics feel as human as possible, making their scenes even more heartwarming.


Final rating: 3,75.

(Thanks to Riverdale Avenue Books for the ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!)
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I completely loved this story! Easily one of my favorite reads of the year. It was one of those stories in which I would have been perfectly happy reading about any of the three protagonists solo. There are three different perspectives in this book and while it's usually hard to make all three (or even two) compelling, this author totally hits it out of the park. It was thought-provoking, sexy, sweet, heart-wrenching, and had me on the edge of my seat the entire book. I only wish that it was longer! I think there is plenty more story to be had about these three. I hope the author will consider a sequel.

My review is posted to my GoodReads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53143269-cygenic
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DNF 25%
It started out interesting somewhat with Dante, but when Nate and Charles came along in the story it ruined it for me. Nate seemed like an alright guy in his first chapter/part where he was introduced but then he became so flat? He dated Charles or call it whatever you want  and agreed to whatever Charles said, almost because he had adorable lashes? and could fuck? Geez, it was like he lost his brain on the way.. Charles was not a good guy, he used Nate until it was convinient for him to move, when he had gotten a  job offer. I felt Dante was too "amazing" in a way espesailly in Taire`s eyes... but it was sort of cute but not enough to hold my attention.
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what a interesting premise, it's kinda scary to think about how we would treat sentient machines. I really enjoyed reading this book and characters in this world.
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Once you've read anything by Monique Poirier you will find the story stays with you, the endless possibilities that these fictional characters in a world created in her imagination will reverberate and confound you. Then you'll realize the stories and characters are eerily reminiscent of true life situations that make us at least uncomfortable if not downright outraged. 

Poirier's gift is the subtle attack sheathed in the enchanting world created to bring us through the looking glass before making us face the mirror in a harsh light. 

"Cygenic" takes us into a near future on earth wherein, human DNA and advanced technology have combined to create sentient machines can easily pass for human to be used as nannies, workers, and sex slaves.  An eccentric professor takes handsome Dante and educates him to be his research assistant, a job at which he excels and enjoys. Upon the professor's death, Dante becomes property of the state to be used or sold, and some of the users have sadistic pleasures to be satisfied by the cyborgs.

Poirier is an author, costumer, convention-goer, and activist currently living in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. She began writing science fiction and fantasy when she was 12, and discovered erotica at 16; she hasn’t stopped writing since. She is a councilwoman of the Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe, and a lineal descendant of Ousamequin Massasoit.
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My Rating : 4🌟
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Kindle/ Netgalley/ July2020
#mabookyardchallengeJuly2020
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Thank you so much Netgalley for the review cop in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. 
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I am not a huge fan of SciFi books, but when I read this blurb, I was really intruiged. This book follows three characters, and their journey through a robot oppressed society, and how they find each other, love and acceptance forms the storyline. 
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*Trigger Warning : Abuse, Kidnapping, Slavery, Prostitution, Death
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First, I loved the multiple point of views of our characters and I loved reading the scenes leading us to the characters meeting. This book takes place over a period of time with multiple stop points to address important markers and it was so devastating to read about them. Even though we are reading about a robot, the author has made the characters so full of life, that I didn't realize they weren't humans until it was mentioned.
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Second, I absolutely loved te characters and their personalities and how they came together even when things were falling apart. The way they supported, and gave life to each other was amazing to read about. There were a lot of scenes where I just almost cried because they went through so much to come to a place safer, and my poor heart couldn't stay still. 
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Coming to the story line, I really liked how the story progressed with a little background story, then the present day happenings and then wrapping the story up with a good ending. Especially that scene at the restaurant and after during the impromptu rescue?? Ohh it was heartbreaking!! And that ending definitely made me super happy and I really liked how the story ended. 
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Overall, this book had amazing characters, wonderful storyline, heart wrenching scenes, so much chemistry, an amazing ending !! If you are a fan of SciFi and romance, definitely give this a try!!
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actual rating: 3.5

I think this book definitely had some pacing issues but overall I really enjoyed it and feel good bumping it up to four stars. The first half had a lot of time skips and felt kind of disjointed when that was combined with several very short chapters and characters that were not all in the same place. I felt like the book really picked up around the halfway point when Dante and Nate finally meet, although was still surprised at how the other big obstacle was saved for the last few chapters instead of being built up more. Still, I think the world is very interesting and Dante in particular is an excellent character who I really enjoyed reading about. I think some things could have been done differently to balance the romance with the rest of the plot, but it was an enjoyable read and there were a lot of both very cute and very emotional moments.
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The cover of Cygenic caught my attention initially when I saw it on Netgalley, and the description made me want to read it:

"In the not-so-distant future, human DNA and advanced technology have combined to create sentient machines that look and feel oh-so-human, whether they are used as nannies, nurses, or... sex toys. But what happens when a sex toy sits up and demands rights?"

The topic of "demanding rights" will always be relevant as long as humanity exists, tragically. Which is what makes me love Cygenic, the story in short is about a Cygenic named Dante who is demanding to be respected by human beings but the world in which he lives in makes that difficult. No one wants to listen to the Cygenic that thinks for himself and refuses to respect human authority, except for one man named Nate. 

Representation does indeed matter, and I was so happy to learn that not only is Nate black, but he's also gay. That means alot to me, I'm black and bi and don't see that much representation. Nate and Dante fall in love and set out to change the world. 

I'd be lying if I said that the sex scenes weren't another reason I enjoyed Cygenic, not only are they hot, they're also sweet at times. Needless to say, I'm hoping that Miss Poirer writes a sequel.
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Warning: This book contains adult content. Please read at your own risk.

"She told me that I'm a computer with arms and legs, and that I don't get to want things."

Thanks to Netgalley, Monique Poirer and Riverdale Avenue Books for this E-ARC.
It was hard for me to gather my thoughts about this book because the story was so different, I've never read a book like this. Sure in the past I've read sci-fi books revolving around cyborgs but those were entirely different and not LGBTQ. I don't think I've ever read a sci-fi book with LGBTQ representation.

"I'm not a person, Nate. I'm a cygenic. I'm a thing. I'm a toy and a tool and a piece of wetware. I exist to bought and sold and owned and used as my owner sees fit."

This book focuses on the life of Cygenics & there's definitely LGBTQ representation. I was intrigued when I first read it's synopsis and that was one of the reasons I requested this book on netgalley. The fact that racism is addressed in this book catering to Cygenics made this book all the more powerful. In the beginning I was a bit confused because of the past and present scenarios running simultaneously. Plus this is not a normal sci-fi book where there's a proper dystopian/futuristic world building, it's more of a character centric story. I fell in love with this book because of the way this author has portrayed the life of two Cygenics and also explaining a little bit of background regarding the laws made for them in that world by humans. The unjust acts that they have to go through.

Apart from this, I obviously enjoyed the character development of Nate, Dante & 'Taire. These three have their own heartbreaking past. Nate is a Human and Dante and 'Taire are Cygenics. My heart was torn to pieces while reading certain scenes.
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Review excerpted from my blog post over at Pan/Cis LGBT2SQ+ Romance Reviews (https://pancis.wordpress.com/2020/06/13/cygenic-by-monique-poirier/)

Note: Normally my reviews contain no major spoilers. This one does as a matter of clarification that will be of interest to readers about the relationship composition, which is not clear from the publisher’s summary. 



Overall Rating: 3.5 stars

Library recommendation: Recommended for public library LGBT2SQ+ romance collections.

Number of titles I have read by this author: 1

Love story speed: Medium burn (I guess)

Relationship Composition: Polyamorous (not clear from the summary)

Relationship dynamics: Slaves (H1, H2) and Emancipator (H3)

Sexual content: All of the sex; all of the kinds of sex; all of the time

Gender Identity: Cis (H1) / Cis (H2) / Cis (H3)

Sexual Identity: Gay (H1) / Gay (H2) / Gay (H3)

Triggers: Kidnapping, multiple rapes, abuse of all kinds, brutality, slavery – you name the trigger, and it’s probably in this book. Except homophobia, amazingly enough.

Acceptance Rating: 5.0 stars

Acceptance Rating Explanation: Although this book has every other objectionable bit of content that you could think of, in this case, love is love.

Grammar/Editing: My ARC had lots of little typos and word omissions

Review: While normally I start with a note about pacing and world building, in this instance, I want to begin with the fact that I think anyone contemplating reading this book should know that it is a tough read – it is heavy and deals with a lot of tough situations, trauma, and personhood issues. You will want to walk away if that is not something you are up to reading. As with so much sci fi, the human race is shown to be base scumbags, on the whole, willing to enslave anyone who isn’t precisely like them. In this case, the people who aren’t precisely like humans are cygenics, who are partly robotic, partly human.

Dante and ‘Taire are cygenics (cyborgs). They are essentially sex slaves and there is a lot of really awful things that happen to them in this book that bonds them together. Nate is a counselor and cygenic rights activist. He’s also extremely codependent. We see ‘Taire and Dante’s relationship develop first, then Dante and Nate’s, then Nate and ‘Taire’s. This is full participation polyamory. I wouldn’t say that they all love each other equally, but they certainly all share attraction and mutual like. They also feel safe together, which is a significant theme in this book, given the extremely traumatic histories that ‘Taire and Dante have.

In terms of supporting characters, Iris is the character at the forefront. She is kind of a “token bitch,” really, but very protective of Nate, which makes her a bit more likable. The other major supporting character is Whiskers the cat, who hates everyone – which is how it should be in a book where most humans are so terrible that you can’t find a word negative enough to describe how truly awful they are.

 

Full disclosure: I received a free advance review copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is good! I've been having such a hard time getting lost in a story lately. This one grabbed me from the very beginning and never let up.

It has a science fiction premise with one of the MCs being artificially created, however there is no real science or pseudo science involved in the story as there would be in a true sci-fi novel. Instead, this is a M/M erotic romance novel with a focus on an underprivileged, slave-like group in society and the few people who oppose the system.

This conversation between the two MCs sums it up nicely:

“You don’t deserve to be treated that way. Like you’re not a person.”

“I’m not a person, Nate. I’m a cygenic. I’m a thing. I’m a toy and a tool and a piece of wetware."

It's a brilliant piece of erotica with a solid plot. My emotions were invested from the start.


A big thank you to the author/publisher & NetGalley for this ARC
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This was an interesting take on a very common sci-fi element. The world-building was good in that it was extremely frustrating. The bureaucratic idiocy that plagues life is just as annoying in the future. Dante seemed a bit too perfect, which I know could probably be explained away by being non-human, but considering the mess the rest of the cygenics were it was particularly noticeable. A little bit of imperfection would have made him seem a little bit less like a god giving his blessing to human and cygenic alike and a little more "human" and likable.
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I didn't love this quite as much as I hoped but it's a fascinating premise nonetheless! Just not the right read for me.
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<blockquote><i>In the closeness of the crowd, he wrapped his arm around me, pulling me against him. <…> Like he wanted to protect me. Like he thought I was worth holding onto. He put his head on my shoulder and said, into my ear, “Sorry I’m an ass. You deserve better.”</i></blockquote>

In the future, humans have created cygenics to help them out with the boring, unwanted tasks, such as working 16-hour-shifts in hospitals or as housemaids. They are created with most bodily functions that humans have: they breathe, they have taste and smell, they need to wash. They can feel pain. Some of them can feel hope.

I immediately liked Dante. He was created by a professor who died before he could flesh out his “work.” Dante has extensive knowledge of literature, he’s resourceful, has critical thinking skills and he’s smart enough not to demonstrate it to people he doesn’t trust. He adapts to his situations, playing submissive when he’s expected to be and cautious around people who might do him harm.

‘Taire’s chapters were difficult to read. He’d been abused by humans his whole life and the other cygenics he was with considered him useless. He’s slow to trust and more cautious than Dante, and unlike him, ‘Taire doesn’t have any good memories to savor hopes for his future.

Nate, on the other hand, is a wet blanket. He’s willing to date someone he disagrees with just because his lashes make adorable shadows on his cheeks or because he knows how to please Nate. They argue about their views on cygenics, they don’t discuss anything serious--or if something serious comes up, Nate is reprimanded. And after, he is quick to agree, because not once he stopped to think with the brain that’s between his ears and not his legs.

The side characters are two-dimensional, only serving to create a conflict or support in the part of the story they are required to. Most of them appear for a scene or two and are not memorable in any way.

The book got much better in the second half not only because the characters found themselves in better circumstances, but also because there were fewer leaps in narration. The romance seemed a bit rushed but sweet. Boundaries were set and discussed before committing. I’m so tired of romance books where characters don’t talk about their issues and create unnecessary drama.

The dialogues were vivid and flowed naturally. The steamy scenes were tastefully written and not excessive or uncomfortable. The first half of Dante’s POV was understandably grim and I found myself flinching at his treatment--and I’m glad the author didn’t skim on the scenes. The characters’ issues and backgrounds weren’t shrugged off. The main characters went through terrible situations and grew as people (or cygenics).

I’ve had some minor gripes with scenes where someone manipulated another character during a tender moment to get what they want more quickly. Charles did that but he’s a dick and no one cares what happened to him, but Dante did the same. The books touched why the cygenics do the <i>boring</i> work, but never why they don't work in dangerous conditions, such as heights, mineshafts or as firefighters. Creating a cygenic with a respiratory system seems more complicated than creating an AI that doesn’t need to breathe oxygen or has a titanium exoskeleton. How are these expensive pieces of complicated machinery work tracked? Why are they expected to serve only a short amount of time instead of being repaired or upgraded? And the choice for cover art seemed off because cygenics are described as having human-like hair.

It was a quick, easy read with some food for thought about AI and their role in society. There are some spicy scenes that were handled well, and the cygenic characters were adequately explained: they did not feel completely human, but their situation and reactions were easy to understand. Overall, I liked it, but I wish some questions were explored a little more.

CW for rape, gaslighting and abusive relationships, alcohol consumption.
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I love robot/cyborg stories, so I was excited to pick this one up when it came to my attention.  Cygenic is a science fiction story that takes place in the future and follows a cyborg (though they’re called “Cygenics” in this story) named Dante.  Cygenics are sentient machines comprised of 85% human DNA that look and feel just like humans.  Though they are sentient, they are still considered by law to be machines and thus are subject to ownership by humans.  People who own a Cygenic can do whatever they want with it:  use it as a nanny, a caregiver, a housekeeper, or even a sex toy.

Dante is strikingly beautiful and extremely intelligent and was commissioned by a professor to help illustrate some of his educational theories.  But when the professor passes, Dante is thrust into the system where he is eventually stolen and sold into the sex trade.  There, his everyday existence is hell, as his only purpose is to serve the depraved and vicious sex needs of sadistic clients.  There were times that the story felt so intense and anxiety-provoking, I had to stop and breathe for a minute.  But then one day, Dante’s circumstances change, and his path crosses with that of a man named Nate.

Nate is a  programmer who works for an organization that is dedicated to the rights of Cygenics, and much of their work involves rehabilitating down-and-out cyborgs.  Nate has just gotten out of an abusive relationship and, like Dante, is hurt, angry and mistrustful of others.  But when these two meet, sparks fly between them.  But it’s not going to be easy going for our two protagonists, as they need to face head-on the systemic societal oppression which threatens to rip them apart.  

Cygenic is a beautifully written novel that is populated with wonderfully complex and empathetic characters, displaying the perfect balance of heartbreak and hope with a tone and style that captured my heart.  This is such a smart story, an eye-opening account of letting go of prejudices and of seeing beyond what we think we know.  

The story juxtaposes vicious and depraved sexual cruelty with the pure poetry of a new and profound love, and rarely have I encountered a more mesmerizing, beguiling story.  Though this is a hard-hitting emotional journey, the lovely ending is worth the price.  The author crafts gorgeous, tension-filled scenes and dialogue that suck you in and flood you with the main characters' depth and their beautiful hearts.  

The emotional profoundness of Dante and Nate draws you deeply into their spirit, to the point that their pain is your pain and their joy is your joy. Then there are some wonderfully delicious naughty parts coupled with lovely descriptions of the glorious male physique, which I thought were exceptionally well done in this story.  Once we move past some of the more horrific scenes, we’re given moments of pure erotica; heavenly, tawdry, and scintillating. 

I read this book in one sitting because I simply could not put it down - I was absolutely spellbound.  It’s rich, complicated, creative, clever, as well as tragic and thought-provoking — a pretty honest and raw commentary on humanity. This is a winning love story that gives a voice to underrepresented characters, which in this case, are Cygenics. 

Poirer writes with the kind of humanity that we all should embody, the kind that makes you believe that there is still an abundance of good left in the world at any given moment. This book is more about facing unimaginable heartbreak and coming out stronger on the other side, no matter how long it takes you.

I felt happy and hopeful when I finished — everything you want to feel at the end of a great story.  I hope the author writes more books set in this world she’s created here as I really grew attached to Dante and Nate as the story unfolded.  This utterly and original book blew my mind!

A huge thank you to Netgalley and Riverdale Avenue Books for providing me with an advanced reader copy of this book.
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