What do you do when you’re dying and the only procedure to save your life would erase all of your memories and drop your social standing down to less than dirt?
Not to mention it’s a highly illegal procedure outlawed by the Emperor of the galaxy you live in.
The Cyborg Tinkerer by Meg LaTorre is a polyamorous science-fiction romance about a cyborg circus and their bid to change the laws that outlaw cyborg procedures. And mark cyborgs as lesser.
The story follows Gwendolyn Grimm, a ship tinkerer who agrees to sign the circus’s 13 year contract for the procedure to remove a fatal brain tumor and transform her into a cyborg. Gwen soon finds out that the circus has been invited to the capital by the Emperor to preform. But the owner, Celeste Beckett, has decided only ten acts will be going and everyone must compete in a deadly competition to secure their place.
Gwen also learns, to her horror, she has not been hired as a ship tinkerer but at a cyborg one. Something she knows nothing about.
Early on in the book Gwen develops a fast attraction and latter feelings for one of the performers, Rora Lockwood. However, at the same time she begins to develop a steady comradery with the circus ring leader, Bastian Kabir.
As much as I enjoyed this book, its characters, and the intrigue of the world, it still has a lot of problems. The most glaring one being the lake of depth in everything.
The development of the world and its characters isn't explained or depicted very well. The premise behind the story and the motivations of the characters are shallow. And most of all, every character relationship, with the only exception of Gwen and Bastian , is missing anything to make them feel real.
For instance, the main character, Gwendolyn, has an almost instant attraction to Rora. And quickly develops feelings for her to the point she’s willing to break the law and the rules of her contract for her. Yet, there’s nothing really that happens between them that would make those feelings make sense.
The shining star of this entire book was the development between Gwen and Bastian. Their relationship was one of the strongest, well developed, aspects of the book.
But the development between Gwen and Bastian makes the lack of any between Rora and Gwen even more apparent. Also, in my opinion, the relationships are made into bad representation by the fact Bastian has stated that he doesn’t share and clearly isn’t polyamorous. Only for him to give in because that's what Gwen wants.
And there is literally no development between Rora and Bastian at all. And I understand that you can have a polyamorous relationship with one person dating two people who either don't know each other or are just friends but... (spoiler warning) ...it builds to Rora and Bastian being sexually involved as well. Which I felt made Rora into nothing but an add on to Gwen and Bastian's relationship.
But as I said, I did actually enjoy this story. And if you can let your disbelief go a bit and don't take it too seriously then I think you can also enjoy The Cyborg Tinkerer. My biggest disappointment with this book was that it had the potential to be great, if only the author had put a little more time and effort into its development.
Just note that despite it being called a sci-fi and having been marketed as a sci-fi it lacks all scientific sense of a sci-fi and really should have been written and marketed as a space fantasy.