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Book Review: Being Amber (New Atlanta #1) by Sylvia Ryan
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Book Review: Being Amber (New Atlanta #1) by Sylvia Ryan

by davincikittieJanuary 25, 2015

*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***

Content warning: This book contains serious emotional themes (suicide, forced sterilization, and sexual assault) which may be disturbing to some readers. 

I cannot say enough good things about this heartfelt, incredibly moving book! Post-apocalyptic dystopian romances are hard to nail down. Usually they fall hard to one side: either heavily erotic or overwhelmingly story based (read: lacking in emotional depth). Being Amber strikes the perfect balance, delivering a heart-wrenching, pulse-tripping experience full of ups and downs, with believable events and characters.

The premise for this society is unique and crafted so realistically that I can imagine it actually working exactly as described. The necessity for the segregation and Repopulation Laws, the long-term element of power that grew out of the extreme survival methods, and the breakdown of society’s acceptance of that outdated rule… all of this lays the groundwork for a love-of-a-lifetime romance that has everything working against it and manages to prevail anyway, while setting the scene for a very necessary revolution against the oppressive Gov.

[quote]Being Amber strikes the perfect balance, delivering a heart-wrenching, pulse-tripping experience full of ups and downs, with believable events and characters.[/quote]

The characters are relatable and their way of life is both intriguing and a little shocking, but makes total sense. Jaci doesn’t make stupid decisions or rush into danger expecting someone to save her. She’s smart, but while she’s also hesitant and unsure, she has a core of steel. She endures several terrible personal attacks, both physically and emotionally, and her reaction to each of them is spot on. I liked Jaci from the start and respected the hell out of her by the end. Xander may come off as edgy and intense but he’s smoothly layered with a gentle and protective nature and some serious skills as a Dominant. I liked that Ms. Ryan wasn’t afraid to incorporate BDSM into the story universe – the lifestyle lived by the Ambers completely supports it – but didn’t make a big deal out of it or try to turn it into some big production. Being in charge and liking rough sex are just part of who Xander is and that is damn appealing on his character.

Being Amber made me smile and swoon. It made my heart beat faster in sympathy and in expectation. It even made me cry. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed such a well-crafted post-apocalyptic dystopian romantic series and I am already looking forward to starting the next book (Being Sapphire).

PS: If you’re really a sucker for an emotional ride – or you just want to find out what ultimately comes of Jaci and Xander’s life story, check out the author’s website and read the epilogue. It’s short, fairly spoiler-free for the rest of the series, and is absolutely worth the tiny bout of tears it’s likely sure to bring on. Just don’t scroll down the page too far, or you will see a spoiler in the epilogue to Being Sapphire. 😉

You may also like…

It’s a change of genre, but if you’re also a fan of paranormal and urban fantasy, Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series has similar themes of post-apocalyptic repression and abuse with a strong heroine who has to make hard choices. Unlike Sylvia Ryan’s New Atlanta series, you won’t find much (read: any) sex in Blood of Eden – as it’s also solidly in the Young Adult genre – but The Immortal Rules (GT’s Book of the Month for April of 2012) sets the stage for the series with a gritty, urban coming-of-age struggle for the human-turned-vampire female lead. The Immortal Rules was one of the first books to put dystopian (and Young Adult) back on the menu for me, as the story is so well told it easily breaks through the tropes and bad habits these genres of fiction are so recently famous for. If dystopian is your thing and you don’t hate the idea of vampires, you will be enchanted by the Blood of Eden series. Get the first book on Amazon here or read more about the series on GT here.

If you like erotic dystopian romance of the adult post-apocalyptic variety and were scintillated by the “free love” vibe of New Atlanta’s Amber zone, you may also enjoy Kit Rocha’s Beyond series (starting with Beyond Shame). The O’Kanes rule Sector Four with respect, loyalty, force, and a charm born out of raw sex. This series chronicles the lives of the members of the O’Kane gang as they fight for survival and dominance in a world where things are not always as they seem and civilization is rife for a revolution against an oppressive supposedly-Utopian government. The O’Kanes indulge in life to the fullest, and author team Kit Rocha tells their tales through wit, boundless erotic pleasure – including some tantalizing menage configurations – and hardass men and women determined to protect their own. One of the best erotic romance series I’ve read… ever.

Find Being Amber online at Amazon here!

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About The Author
davincikittie
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.
2 Comments
  • January 26, 2015 at 6:19 am

    I agree – it is hard to find a good dystopian romance. But this one sounds like it achieved that, for sure. I’ve not heard of this book before, but I just bought it. Thanks!!

    • January 26, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you so much for leaving a comment (and for taking my word and snagging this book based on the review!)! <3

      Liz, you absolutely must come back and let me know what you thought once you read it! Even if you completely disagree with my whole review – it’ll make for great conversation, eh? =)

      The next book in the series is even better than this one, and I was pretty shocked about that. Being Sapphire literally had me bawling at the end (and it’s not a sad ending!). That review will be out next week (and is on GoodReads now). The third book releases in March.

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