Sunday, October 16, 2016

Review: To the Highest Bidder by Caitlin Ricci

The Intergalactic Star Pilot Academy has accepted Thierry Leroux into the elite class of sky year 2231. But the academy comes with a hefty price tag, and there's no way he, a poor Sythe orphan, has the credits the academy requires. Thierry’s brother, Corbin, a high-class companion, suggests Thierry sell his virginity for the cost of tuition. It seems like a ridiculous idea, but it may be Thierry’s only shot, so Thierry asks Corbin to arrange a meeting on the pleasure planet of Wish.

On Wish, Thierry meets Corbin's boss, Monroe, and they agree to auction off Thierry’s virginity. Thierry is grateful to the masked buyer he knows only as “Dragonfly,” and Dragonfly is gentle, making Thierry’s first time a good memory. When Dragonfly requests to see him again, and pay for the pleasure, Thierry returns to Wish. But in this game, falling in love is dangerous for the heart, and Thierry might not like the man behind the mask.

Dreamspinner Press     |     Amazon     |     Goodreads

My Review:
3.5 stars

I enjoyed reading To the Highest Bidder. It was an entertaining, fun, and smexy read. It also started as an insta-love story but then developed into a greater romance.
First off, Thierry and Dragonfly fell in love instantly, which I thought was a bit weird. Making sure someone has a good first time does not mean you should fall in love with him. Everything just felt rushed and made Thierry seem immature (which he is) and Dragonfly a bit creepy at times (which he is). There are time skips that we don’t see, so their relationship could have been growing in that time, but it was just a little weird to me because it didn’t blend as well.

However, while it was insta-love between the characters at first, I liked how the author ended up resolving their relationship in a realistic and well-thought out way. First, the reveal of who Dragonfly was worked well for me.
set up the end half of the book and really forced Thierry to grow up and realize that relationships are not easy. One of the characters basically calls Thierry out on the fact that he was immature and how he said he was in love yet when that love was tested, he didn’t react well. Although, I do understand why he reacted the way he did, I thought it was great to see that things weren’t going to just wrap up in a neat bow.

This is also where the hot sex takes a backseat, the plot becomes much more prevalent, and most of the angst comes in. While there were still smexy times, I loved the new plot developments, as they all helped (forced) the characters to grow up and evolve. Like I said, Thierry had to mature and learn to work for his relationship while Dragonfly had to learn to be a bit less cynical and jaded (even if it takes practically the entire rest of the book for this to happen). And while there were times where the angst between Thierry and the revealed Dragonfly became a bit repetitive and dragged on, I think it still worked for the overall story.

My only other big issues with this novel were a few conflicting details I noticed, which were annoying, and the time skips. As I mentioned before, there are time skips throughout the novel, some only a few weeks or a month, others half a year to a decade. Time skips are iffy to me because while they can help drive the plot along, they can also hurt the character development in a story. And while a few of the time skips worked (i.e. the giant one between the final chapter and the epilogue), I didn’t like many of the time skips as I felt I missed out on a lot of relationship and character development. I also would have liked to see more of Thierry as a pilot, since that was the reason behind why he started all of this in the first place, but aside from seeing him do some homework and schoolwork, we didn’t get to see much flying.

Aside from those issues, I enjoyed this story. It was fun and entertaining and the plot ended up really surprising me at the end since I wasn’t expecting it to expand much beyond where I thought it was going. Also, Corbin was a fun older brother and a great secondary character, and I loved how supportive he was to Thierry. So overall, I recommend giving this story a shot. 

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