Book Reviews

Rule of Thirds by Aidan Wayne

Genre Gay / Science Fiction / Military/Former Military / Robots/Androids/AI / Menage MMM / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 25-January-2020

Book Blurb

Hope. Love. A reason to live.

When Jason Diovardi, military elite, is removed from active duty after failing too many psych evals, he has only one goal in mind: get back into the field. It’s all he knows and all he thinks he’s good for, which is why he grudgingly accepts two live-in AI Companions to help him begin to recover from his severe PTSD. Chase and Shade are a matched pair, and Jason hopes they’ll keep each other distracted enough to leave him alone so he can go through the motions and be cleared for fieldwork.

Jason doesn’t expect to actually get better, and the progress he makes with his patient and caring Companions sneaks up on him—and so do unexpected feelings between the three of them. Now, Jason might even be able to admit to being happy. 

But has he healed enough to allow himself to accept what Chase and Shade are offering?

First edition published by DSP Publications, April 2018.

Book Review

“He knew he was a danger to others. That’s why he didn’t interact with others. But he’d try his best, if only so he could say he did. He just needed to get put on active duty again. A mission meant stress and pain and fear, but at least it also meant busy. Occupied. Useful.”

It has been a while since I read a science-fiction story and it was really good to be back. If anything, the title alone lured me with a reminder of Isaac Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’, an old favorite. I was struck by the blurb, by the fact that Jason is in such mental and emotional agony that he needs a full-time, live-in Companion, and I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of artificial intelligence so I was supremely curious about the worldbuilding. In this world AIs, now classified as Acting Individuals, are no longer second-class citizens but have rights after years of fighting for them. They still don’t understand, or know exactly, what causes some bots to develop independent thought and personhood, but a lot of the AIs choose to help people especially within the human-AI relations sphere.

Chase and Shade are a matched Companion pair although Shade is currently off-duty with the AI delegate due to a previous human who messed with Shade’s constructs and he is still suffering trauma. Chase has extensive experience working with veterans with PTSD and both men know that Jason will be a challenge after simply observing him for an afternoon. Jason lives in fight-or-flight mode, he doesn’t sleep, he barely eats, and has such a touch aversion that he could potentially be very dangerous to anyone who might accidentally touch him. He has failed too many psych evaluations and his superiors determined that a Companion to help him work on his issues might be the only way to prevent Jason from imploding.

I found the way Chase and Shade interacted with Jason very fascinating and it was obvious to me that PTSD is either personally known by the author or they did considerable research. Chase and Shade equally approve of the way Jason deals with them – not as something mechanical or robotic, but as just a different species that occupies his world giving them the same considerations he would to anyone. It’s very obvious quite quickly that Jason isn’t afraid of someone getting to him, but instead he’s terrified of hurting someone else. Of course, once Chase and Shade find out exactly what Jason does for the government they’re shocked and aghast that someone would be used like that. No wonder Jason can’t pass his psych evaluation.

“He offered up his hand. Chase carefully wrapped his fingers around Jason’s, bowing his head over it. It was a warm, steady pressure. Not unpleasant. Jason swallowed again and let Chase take what he wanted. Chase really was getting comfort from this too. It made his stomach hurt, that Chase obviously cared so much, wanted to help take care of him. Jason knew he was difficult. He didn’t know how much he could manage. But at the end of the day, he didn’t want to hurt anyone.”

I loved how the author wrote the deepening relationship between these three men. Everything happened so slowly, so carefully, pretty much all at a pace that Jason was comfortable with, building trust first and then moving to more intimacy. This is not a tear up the sheets ménage story so if that’s what appeals then this might not be for you. This is, however, a beautiful tale of a damaged and hurt man, and the two Companions who help him begin his journey toward healing, all while the three learn to love.  





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 154 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 27-September-2019
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link