Title: Mending the Rift
Author: Chris T. Kat
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 214 Pages
At a Glance: I believe that author Chris T. Kat has really good stories to tell, but this latest offering suffered due to too many unresolved elements that ending up muddying the story line.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: In a future where man’s ability to reproduce is severely compromised, humanity has adapted to survive. Breeders—male and female—have become precious commodities, and they are strictly guarded and subject to limitations.
Luca Walker is a breeder. Though he knows what’s expected of him as the youngest son of the Northern Confederacy’s vice president, he’s held out against the pressures of an arranged marriage because he longs to marry for love, not duty. But he’s been promised to Colonel Liam Smith and there’s little he can do about it, no matter that Luca is secretly in love with his bodyguard, Marcus Gray.
When Luca finds himself pregnant with Marcus’s baby, Smith is furious and vows to take what is his—by force, if necessary. Now Luca must fight for his life and the life of his unborn child… as well as the love of Marcus and the happily ever after he’s always dreamed of.
Review: Mending The Rift by Chris T. Kat travels into an alternate world wrapped up in a civil war that has succeeded in nearly destroying its inhabitants. Left with near zero population growth, this human race has adapted to the point where both males and females can now reproduce—but they are rare and therefore, have become more government property than free people. Luca Walker is one such “breeder” and also is the son of the Vice President of the Northern Confederacy. Luca is the youngest son of Gregory Walker and Nicholas, who is a breeder as well. But his two dads were lucky in that theirs was a true love match. Luca has not been afforded such a fate. Instead, he is to be given in marriage to a virtual stranger—a Colonel in the Northern army—Liam Smith.
While Luca’s fate is not at all unusual, the fact that he is in love with another man–his bodyguard, Marcus Gray–is. But Marcus cannot lay claim on Luca because he is too low on the list to even be considered worthy of marrying a breeder. And, Luca is also certain Marcus is not in love with him. Their one tryst ended with regret on Marcus’s part, and the promise that it would never be repeated. Now Luca has run away in one last-ditch effort not to be turned over to Colonel Smith. Unfortunately, Marcus is very good at his job and has tracked Luca down and returned him to home–only to discover that Luca is pregnant and the baby is NOT Liam Smith’s.
It seems Luca’s dad Nicholas is also a geneticist and has taken note of Luca’s affections for Marcus. Betting on the two of them being in love, he has done the unthinkable—impregnated Luca with Marcus’s baby without his knowledge, during what should have been a routine checkup. Now they are all in a race against time to get the baby claimed and Marcus and Luca married before Liam arrives. Little do they know that before any marriage can take place, Luca will be kidnapped and all hell will break loose as a result.
Mending The Rift began so well. Fast moving with scarcely a break in the action, we immediately are made aware of Luca’s uniqueness and the rather horrible life he will be forced to lead due to his ability to carry a child. While we are repeatedly assured that the matching process has been successful in aligning near perfect relationships–or at least tolerable ones–Luca’s fears and desires trump all sensibility and his plight immediately draws the reader in to the story. Marcus, although somewhat reluctant at first, is actually just hiding his affections for the younger man due to his real understanding that theirs is a doomed love affair from the start. So when Luca’s dad, Nicholas, does the unthinkable and seals the fate of these two, we are not repulsed but elated that they may yet have a happy ever after together.
Then the story began to wobble. The first kidnapping takes place and we are introduced to the reason why security is so tight in the North. The Southern Confederacy is nowhere near as caring or responsible for its breeders. Instead, they are constantly experimented on and used more like cattle than human beings. Children born with defects are “disposed of,” and the brutality of the southern people is exposed.
Luca is held captive in order to be studied and to discover why he has superior genes. Or, at least I think that’s why he is held—I never quite understood exactly what they were going to do with him. On one had there were rumblings of the idea that he could be used to breed successive babies; on the other he was being prodded and poked to see why he was such a healthy breeder. But before we could settle on one theory or another, he was suddenly being freed—not by the superior security forces of the North but by another inmate. Without giving too much more of this plot away, suffice it to say that the very men who captured Luca to begin with were now helping to spring him. It was terribly confusing and would not really be explained till very late in the novel, after another kidnapping and various other horrible things happened to poor Luca along the way.
At some point in the novel, Luca becomes nothing more than an emotional, clingy mess that Marcus must constantly reassure. Yet, again and again, after assuring Luca he is safe and security is at an all time high, he is retaken and brutally handled once more. I was surprised that most of this novel was spent with Luca falling to pieces and having his “pregnancy hormones” blamed. To be frank, it got a wee bit insulting to anyone who has carried a child themselves, as we are not all crying messes—far from it. Why the author chose to make Luca so weak was beyond me, and it really lessened my regard for his character in the end.
By the same token, the way in which the Vice President, Luca’s other father Gregory, practically made his spouse Nicholas a virtual prisoner in the house also made the man look like a fragile flower. These same he-man tendencies appeared in Marcus and suddenly, both Nicholas and Luca were reduced to characters that were emotionally falling apart and unable to make decisions for themselves. And frankly, it was at this point where the story really derailed. The plot became chaotic—continually at odds with itself. Their home could not be described as a fortress, then only to be breached by a handful of rebel spies and kidnappers. The marriage between Marcus and Luca kept being postponed only to make it that much easier for someone with a higher status to claim Luca in marriage.
Security breaches, espionage unexplained, kidnappers whose ties to the government of the South which were never fully revealed, the mysterious Liam Smith who kept turning up at the most convenient of times, all these elements seemed rushed and underdeveloped in a story that kept grabbing at one more terrifying event to keep the plot afloat. Mending the Rift had such amazing possibility but turned out to be just an acceptable futuristic story with some really implausible plot bits that never fully developed.
I believe that author Chris T. Kat has really good stories to tell, but this latest offering suffered due to too many unresolved elements that ending up muddying the story line.
You can buy Mending the Rift here: