Prisoner 374215 has been conditioned to have no name, no past and no future. He spends his days waiting for the next medical experiment that he knows will eventually lead to his death. There is one recent development in his captivity, however; in the form of a guard who sits and watches him sleep every night. This mysterious figure holds the key to Prisoner 374215’s past… and his future.
Prisoner 374215 is a FREE story offered from the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Love Has No Boundaries event. You can read it here.
This story hits all the right buttons for me right out of the gate. Prisoner 374215 is set in a dystopian future prison environment and has a powerful hurt/comfort theme. I couldn’t ask for a story more suited to my tastes. That would be nothing if the author couldn’t deliver, but Martinez certainly does. The writing is rich and detailed, building this torturous world and its characters up perfectly and offering them resolution in just 10,000 words.
The hurt in this story is gut wrenching, which makes the moments of slightest tenderness stand out in contrast. I haven’t felt such powerful emotions about a work of fiction since I read Junction X earlier this year. I shivered right down to my very soul while reading this, feeling for the prisoner and delighting in the guard’s gentle care of him in such a terrible and brutal place. I was afraid to hope for the prisoner and yet I did regardless, feeling immense sorrow every time he expected the guard to hurt him somehow.
I liked the slow reveal of who each character was, even their names. As the warmth between the prisoner and the guard grows, we get to know more about who they were before the entered the prison. It’s quite shocking to learn who the prisoner was before he was broken down.
I especially liked the ending. I couldn’t have asked for a stronger, happier ending and yet it is believable for a person who has been through what the prisoner has suffered. His suffering is not just swept under the rug and yet he manages to lead a fulfilling life despite his pain. I had tears in my eyes at the end of the book. They were tears of gratitude that the prisoner was able to find love and a happy resolution despite his ordeal.
I couldn’t recommend Prisoner 374215 more strongly. It’s an emotional roller coaster that will leave you breathless. If you still need further convincing, I would consider Prisoner 374215 to be my favorite read of 2013 so far. That’s how strongly I feel about this story.