Audiobook Review: To The Highest Bidder (A Planet Called Wish #1) by Caitlin Ricci, Narrated by Jean Samson

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.

I’m a sucker for a good sci-fi love story and To the Highest Bidder ended up being a surprisingly sweet coming of age tale of intergalactic lust and love. This was my first time listening to Jean Samson narrating and I really loved his voice. His Thierry is perfect. Honestly, I could just listen to him say his name over and over again. . . .Jean Samson . . . .Jean Samson . . . .Jean Samson. The accent made me swoon.

Thierry has a dream to be a pilot with no means to make that dream happen. His brother, Corbin, works as an escort on Wish, the planet where all the sexy things happen. I liked listening to the relationship between Corbin and Thierry. They’ve been orphaned since Thierry was quite young and Corbin has been his caretaker since then and, as Thierry gets older and more independent throughout the book, their dynamic evolves and I enjoyed all of their exchanges.

The brothers are brainstorming on a way to come up with the credits to get Thierry into the academy when Corbin finds out he’s been accepted and they come up with the wacky, but thoroughly sexy idea to auction off Thierry’s virginity to the highest bidder and letting Corbin’s boss Monroe handle the marketing and transaction. Monroe runs the most successful brother on the planet and if anybody can get top dollar for Thierry’s cherry, it’ll be Monroe.

The world building had just the right level of detail and creativity to keep me engaged and not overwhelmed. The sci-fi aspect didn’t take over the character’s personalities, but added to the overall arc. One of the bestest things about Thierry and Corbin is their heritage. These boys are Sythe and apparently that makes them seriously hot commodities in Corbin’s profession, while also a little feared in the general public. There are not a lot of Sythe around, so the bit of mystery surrounding the particulars of their genetics makes them even more appealing. The Sythe are very sensitive to touch and attention. Meaning, when a Sythe individual opens themselves completely they feel and react to everything x 10. So basically, super hot.

Thierry can’t help but react to Monroe. Up until then Thierry had led a pretty sheltered life, the brothers didn’t have a lot of extra credits floating around to entertain themselves and Thierry’s only dream was to fly. So the interaction between the young and inexperienced Thierry with the more mature and jaded Monroe was tense and sexy at the same time. Not that they particularly get along, but that was part of then fun.

Thierry’s virginity gets auctioned off, he ends up making bank and the man who wins is a mystery from the beginning. He wears a mask and does not speak, and he has a dragonfly tattoo on his side that Thierry finds fascinating. The time they spent together was steamy and pretty sweet. Dragonfly has his good time, but he makes sure Thierry does too and because Thierry feels so intensely, the sex is smokin’.

While that was supposed to be their only encounter, Monroe ends up acting as an intermediary between the two with messages back and forth once Thierry heads off to the academy. Thierry keeps Dragonfly posted on how he’s doing, the two of them sort of get to know one another (Dragonfly is paying him for these letters too along with the additional meet-ups here and there) and the two of them fall into, what I like to call, “Pen Pal Love”.

Pen Pal Love is very romanticized, very sweet, but not very realistic. Dragonfly knows this, but Thierry is young, passionate and impulsive. This is why I referred to the story as a coming-of-age tale as well. Thierry has a lot of growing up to do and when he finds out about Dragonfly he reacts like an immature man would. The author and narrator did a great job of capturing the self-righteous, self-centeredness of youth. Thierry is the least malicious person in the galaxy, but he’s impulsive and has a lot of growing up to do.

I liked where the story went from here. A lot of time is covered and there was no convenient answer. The only solution was time and the author made sure her characters had it. I would have loved to have more of the MC’s together after it all, but what I got was completely satisfying, especially from Thierry’s perspective. The kid turns out all right and by the end I really liked and respected who he grew into.

For more information on To The Highest Bidder, head over to Dreamspinner Press,

**a copy of this audiobook was provided for an honest review**

No comments:

Post a Comment