Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Note: I received a free copy of this novella from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in this review are my own. There are mild spoilers in this review.
Content Notes: Sightlines has scenes of torture, child/spouse abuse, implicit and explicit hints to eugenics and “breeding” psychics, and threats of sexual assault (but also most people aren’t consenting to the program for creating more psychics…)
Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He’s the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He’s the son of the Community’s founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he’s nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he’s ever loved is there too.
Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn’t the haven he’d believed in and Chase was the only person who’d ever truly tried to protect him. Now they’re surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.
With Chase playing the role of a tyrant’s second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase’s mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.
Seriously, I have yet to find a Santino Hassell book that I didn’t devour within hours.
There’s something about his prose…
He stitches his characters’ lives so seamlessly into worlds that seem so much like our own that I half imagine that if I went to New York, I could find myself bumping into them just on my way to buy a beer.
Reading Sightlines is a lot like riding a rollercoaster in the middle of the night. In the dark. While you know that there’ll be twists and turns and some drops, there’s no way to tell when they’re coming until you’re on them. It’s one hell of a thrilling book and Hassell is excellent at balancing the darker aspects of the unfolding world with making you care about the characters that live in it.
Elijah Estrella and Chase Payne are amazing characters. I’ve been hoping with my fingers crossed that we’d get a spotlight on Elijah ever since he showed up in Insight. I read a lot of urban fantasy and by now, y’all know two of my biggest issues. In a nutshell, the genre doesn’t have enough queer brown people.
And this series has plenty of queer and brown people especially with Elijah (who is very queer and very brown). His developing relationship with Chase and how the two characters build something beautiful together as they work to save their world from Chase’s awful father and his head torturer is basically a huge high point of Sightlines.
Another thing about Sightlines that I love is that it’s not an easy read.
It’s dark and it hurts to read because from book one, the Community was clearly supposed to be this safe space for a group of people that would be mistreated by the government. But it’s rotten. And, as we see in Sightlines, things are a lot worse than they seemed even in the last book.
But Elijah and Chase want to heal the Community. Cut the rot out (both literally and metaphorically) so that it does what it’s supposed to and keeps the more marginalized members of their community safe from harm.
And the thing is that Sightline ends with hope.
Hope for the future of their world and for the security of their plans.
When I started Sightlines way back when I first got the ARC, I was prepared to be like “weh I need another book in the series”. I was. I’m a greedy Stitch. But I finished Sightlines not just satisfied with how the characters’ stories were wrapped up or the shape of the Community or with Elijah and Chase’s relationship –
And that’s a good feeling to get from a novel.
Straight up, Sightlines is one of my favorite reads of 2017 so far and I’m so glad that Santino Hassell and the cool folks at Riptide Publishing were able to bring the entire Community series into this world. If you haven’t started on this trilogy before today, now’s the time to start.