Cari’s newest book is making me both really happy and really sad. Happy in that it’s a new Cari book, and that’s always a reason to be happy. Sad in that it’s the last book in the Machinery of Desire series, and I really love that series. (And more than just for the fact that there is a character named after me in the 3rd book.)(Never annoy an author, lol.) The world-building that goes on in this series is amazing, and the characters are fascinating, their evolutions make for a great story. Especially JI. So, let’s talk all about Exquisite Possession.
You really do need to have read the rest of the books before you get to this one. You can get away with not reading the rest of the series when you read the others, although I wouldn’t recommend it, but JI’s journey starts in the very first book and moves along through the rest of the series, until we finally get to EP, and JI’s book. You have to have read the entire series to get the full arc of JI’s story. If you haven’t read them yet, there are going to be spoilers in this review. Sorry.
So, JI was a mech. A huge one. A battle mech. Like a multi-story battle mech that would kill all the mekkers’ enemies. But, over the years, he went nearly dormant. Until he was woken up by Emery, as she took the mechlings up to the roof of the landship for them to charge up. She would tell him stories of Shakespeare and all kinds of other things. When she managed to escape, JI went with her. Eventually, his large battle form was destroyed, leaving him in his alternate mech, basically an escape capsule, a mostly man sized mech. Of course, he took his huge brain and tried to cram it all into a tiny brain, and it was driving him insane and slowly killing him. So, after meeting Sawyer and Ari and traveling with them, he learns some interesting things, and takes over a scav called Osta, who was a bigwig. Then he wanders through Ryke and Gio’s story, and learns alllll about fuckspears. Which are totally a thing, BTW. And now, he’s going for his own story.
JI/Osta is trying to find Fern, Sawyer’s sister. Back in the first book, the evil judge raped, tortured, and stabbed her, then threw her out the landship to die. Luckily, there were a lot of sun mad mechlings who had been thrown out at the same time. Even more luckily, one of them had been programmed with medical programs, and that mechling put her back together, as much as possible. The mechling couldn’t fix her hand all the way, but it was able to put staples into her stomach to fix the wound. She has managed to hook up with some grounders, and they have gone to ground in a destroyed city near the ocean where they are waiting for monster season to get some waik crystals.
That’s where JI and Aunt M find her. She’s acting as a sniper to help protect the grounders and uses mechs by linking with them so that she can see through their eyes. She ends up shooting JI, twice, which makes him not so happy. But he does see Fern which makes Mr. Happy oh so very happy. JI is now in a flesh and blood body, and he’s like a 12 year old boy learning how to masturbate for the first time. He has all these ideas, and not necessarily a lot of experience in putting them into practice. But with Fern, he wants to chain her up, fuck her face, tie her down, use some fuckspears, all the dark, filthy, deviant, and devious things you might possibly be able to think of. The nice thing is that Fern is pretty much willing to let him do all those things. She likes them. He knows this because he can pick up echoes of her feelings through his tenuous connection to the mechlings, so he always knows when he has to stop, which makes this story ridiculously filthy. I mean, he’s basically right in her brain, so not only does he get to see her physical reaction to whatever is going on, he also gets to feel what’s going on in her head.
Anyway, it’s never that easy, is it? The evil judge is working deep in the background, and he would love to get his hands back on Fern, and on JI and Aunt M. He has terrible plans that will pretty much mean life on Aerthe will no longer work the way that it does now.
As with the majority of Cari’s books, there are a lot of layers and levels in the story and in each of the characters. I mean, we literally have the Tin Man who now has a heart and who is trying to figure out what it means to be human-ish, and then we have Fern who fell down a hole into another world altogether, where everything is topsy-turvy. Of course, I’m pretty sure that if Lewis Carroll or L. Frank Baum put cocks with spikes or fuckspears in their books, they wouldn’t have been published, and they would probably have been arrested or tossed into Bedlam. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a metal man trying to figure out what it means to be human and trying to learn his own code of ethics and morals or a woman who has been tossed through the looking glass and who has to figure out what is happening on this side of the mirror. So, maybe Cari really write the perverted Alice in the Land of Oz? Hmmm… Either way, Fern and JI really do have quite a journey to take to even get to the point where they are now, and it’s not like everything is beer and skittles once they get together.
Of all the books in this particular slaveworld series, this is really the most consensual. I think that there are parts of it that are the hottest as well. I think that more consensual aspect of the story lightens up some of the story, to some extent. But, that doesn’t mean it’s light. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a Cari Silverwood story, but…
Oh, I have so many, many things to say down here. But, most of what I want to talk about happens at the very end, so it would totally spoil things, and it would totally spoil things more than I ever choose to do.
I will say, that there were places where I got a whole Dune type feeling, and I’m pretty sure that if you’ve ever read Dune, you would be able to figure out what point I’m talking about.
I do love JI’s entire journey though. It seems like he would have been a side character, but he turns out to be so much more important than he started out in the beginning.
Fuckspears, spikes, and cages, ohhhhh myyyy. I swear to all the fucking gods of fucking that Cari gets right into my head sometimes and knows what buttons to push.
OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Seriously, go check out the entire Machinery of Desire series, if you haven’t yet, you won’t regret it. Happy reading!