Interestingly enough, upon doing a little advance research on this novel, I found all sorts of trigger warnings and controversy. After reading it, while I realize the subject matter is startling regarding living conditions for anyone, I didn't find it all that shocking. Not as I read it anyway, but like so much of the story, I needed time to consider everything beyond face value.
The premise, a man who's always sort of had it all come easily to him, takes it all for granted.. getting caught by the person who allegedly means everything to him. At the thought of losing her and all that goes with her, he willingly subjects himself to a place where he gives up all his rights.. learning how the other half lives.. so to speak, in exchange for a second chance when he returns home.
I think I expected myself to be more moved by this story than I am. I mean.. it's dystopian theme is intriguing, the author is a very solid storyteller with a great command of language. She's descriptive and her scenes are of the visceral variety.. yet somehow.. they still failed to evoke emotion from me.
I'll tell you something else. I believe she deserves praise for that.
Some of the moments in the book are very dark. The society.. certainly.. is a disturbing picture, both in his regular life.. which is a stark reminder of the way we turn our heads and look away in reality.. and in his year under subjugation. Yet, S.A. Jones has written them with such a casual approach.. with the perspective that in that world everything is fine. It's as expected.. and no one blinks an eye. Unless of course, you're the supplicant.
That is what really makes what happens at The Fortress so uncomfortable. Not the specific things our main character experiences. No. It's the social acceptance.
There's some fantastic conflict, both inner (over his own feelings) and between himself and those around him. One individual in particular, but even between himself and those he grows closer with. Nothing changes their rules and their expectations.. and that's a hard lesson at times.
It is an excellent read. The perspectives so skewed at times, it's difficult to put down, yet you still find yourself pausing to just.. process it.