Gritty, dark in places, horrific in others, but full of alpha male. The book certainly starts off with a bang, drawing the reader into the year 2070, where after a big pandemic, humanity is corralled into sectors and told to reproduce. All of this is overseen by "The Company". Homosexuality is outlawed, and anyone found engaging in unauthorized sexual activities is tried and hanged. Young men and women are forced into first time sexual relations that are overseen by Company men. Sexy, this is not. Of course, as with any such restrictive regime, there are those who will circumvent the rules any which way they can and seek the non-approved sexual encounters they crave, while still pretending to follow and support the oppressors.One of them is Caspar Cannon, a Company soldier. Gay as the day is long, he's kept his secret hidden while attending clandestine parties outside of the city. Nathaniel Rice is one of the Company men. When revolution rips into the city, Caspar is tasked with getting him to safety. Their journey takes them farther than either anticipated.I liked the characterizations for the most part. In some instances, Caspar sounds like a whiny whiner, which doesn't gel with the tough soldier image the author created. I did appreciate the character growth, even though in came in spurts (teehee) and on occasion felt unrealistic. Caspar keeps his desire for love and a place to belong close to his heart, which is understandable due to his situation, and the dichotomy between tough, gritty, uncaring soldier and the soft, vulnerable man looking for lasting love was quite well done. Nathaniel, whom Caspar calls Blondie, pursues him from the start, and while on route to the safe location, the two men quickly embark on a hot and heavy affair. Nathaniel to me seemed at the same time vulnerable and secretive, which isn't helped by the fact that we spend the entire book in Casper's POV. Any character growth on Nathaniel's end is colored by that, and his motives aren't always clear (obviously).This was neither a just great M/M romance (even though there is one) nor was it a plain dystopian tale of a new world order, but the two didn't merge well enough for me. There was almost too much time spent on world-building and sexual encounters that the actual romance felt like an afterthought. It doesn't help that Caspar's mind is split between his lust for Nathaniel and his fear of betrayal. The back and forth, with whiplash speed, got wearing after a while. His inner voice also sounded too feminine for my taste. I don't know that a tough soldier would wax poetically about pretty flowers and scents. I'm not sure if that was because the author is female, or if that was an intentional character trait, but it made it difficult to reconcile the two in my head. There's a big slowdown in this book while Casper and Nathaniel are on the road trip. Most of it is spent with the two having sex on numerous occasions, which is detailed to the point of erotica.I appreciated the author's attempt at including strong female characters, none of which were cast in an evil light, as is so often the case in M/M romances. Still, the focus is on the two men and their journey, which leaves the women on the sidelines without much influence over the action until the revelations at the ending.I had a hard time rating this. There were some really good parts and some rather bad ones. Still, a good first effort (as the author's first M/M novel), and something you'll want to look at if dystopian alpha male erotica is your thing. This is the first in a series, and the next one appears to feature a bi-sexual character. Since F/F isn't my preferred pairing, I probably won't pick it up. I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.