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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,046 ratings  ·  450 reviews
There is no consent under capitalism

Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.

To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by
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Nomadic Reader (Baba Yaga) So let me get this straight: you created a new (private) Goodreads account with the sole purpose of harassing a queer author who wrote a DYSTOPIAN…moreSo let me get this straight: you created a new (private) Goodreads account with the sole purpose of harassing a queer author who wrote a DYSTOPIAN book with sex slavery in it? It's a dystopia for God's sake. Bad things happen. You're not supposed to approve of the sex slavery!

Just out of curiosity: were you also mad at Margaret Atwood because of the sex slavery in The Handmaid's Tale? Did you leave angry comments complaining about the rape scenes in George R.R. Martin's books? Or do you only get mad when unknown debut authors who just so happen to be LGBTQ write about these topics?

The reason Wen Zhao was horribly bullied on this and other websites was precisely that people who hadn't even read her book decided it was "problematic", and proceeded to harass and boycott her until she decided to pull her book from publication. You're now trying to do the exact same thing to another marginalized author.

Long story short: you don't have to read this book. If you're uncomfortable with reading about sexual abuse - and I *totally* understand why that would be the case - just give it a pass. But people have a right to write FICTION about uncomfortable topics. Other people have a right to read it. You want to discuss this book? Great, read it and write your own review. But don't attack the author, or the people who chose to read the book - especially when the author is from a marginalized group that is already struggling to get representation in media. Also: just because a bad thing happens in a book, doesn't mean that the author approves of that thing!

(BTW, I strongly suspect the user who asked this question is using a fake account. But I'm gonna leave my answer here anyway in case someone needs to read it).(less)
Contrarius Um, what? Do you seriously believe this is the only book in the entire lexicon of American literature that includes rape? SERIOUSLY??

Rape Is Bad.…more
Um, what? Do you seriously believe this is the only book in the entire lexicon of American literature that includes rape? SERIOUSLY??

Rape Is Bad. Including rape in stories is a part of showing that Bad Things Happen. Which part of that simple concept do you not understand?(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,046 ratings  ·  450 reviews

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chai ♡
the gay intern at Tor who wrote the following description of the book on Twitter deserves a raise:

"Dramatic Trillionaire Content
BDSM & then some more BDSM & then a lot more BDSM
Hurt/comfort & hurt/no comfort
Cinnamon roll of steel
The most scandalous kink: love
Courtroom drama, bedroom drama, Preakness drama
Debt & Decadence"
Elise (TheBookishActress)
most publishers currently: oh well I guess we can start including lgbtq characters in our books, occasionally, maybe, intellectuals: theyre all gay. theyre all gay and we dont make the rules
Jul 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
I received an ARC of this book from the publishing company in exchange for a fair and honest review. Content warning: rape (also from the POV of the rapist), dubious consent, sexual harassment, attempted suicide.

Docile is set in near-ish-future Maryland, at a time when people whove amassed debt can erase it by selling themselves into (usually temporary) slavery. Most slaves take Dociline, a type of drug that makes a person highly obedient and keeps them from forming long-term memories.

ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

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Buddy Read with Jocelyn, Ness, & Sue! ❤
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I... truly do not know how I feel about this book. It was well written and compulsively readable and I can see what it was trying to do, but it definitely felt like it went on a little too long and lost a lot of the power behind it's punch. I also think marketing this book as a "sexy BDSM dystopia" was a... weird move? The book does have a few sexually explicit scenes, but they are definitely not the larger focus of the story and I almost feel like drawing so much attention to them will lead ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
My general opinion of Docile by K.M. Szpara is that it was fine.

The writing was beyond excellent, lots of delicious word pictures. The indulgent decadence of the upper-class, the fine layers of dust over everything else, the quiet horror of a terrible system, the lush descriptions of this Maryland society. Love that for this book!

Docile wants me to take it seriously, so let me a downer for a few paragraphs.

Perhaps the real lesson of Docile is of tempering expectations. The hype around it,
James Lafayette Tivendale
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an uncorrected proof copy of Docile in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank K. M. Szpara and Tor for the opportunity.

Docile is the story of Elisha. He is a young gentleman who volunteers to become a Docile to pay off his parents' debt which is at a catastrophic amount of £3,000,000. If he had not proposed this then his mother and father would have been placed in debtors prison. A docile is essentially a slave. They become the property of the patron who pays off their
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Me every time I see Docile on my feed:

So, what's this book about
Docile is told in the near (alternate) future. Debt is at an alltime high when the Next of Kin law. Debt can no longer be erased by death. It is now passed down generation by generation. To deal with this debt, people have the option to become a Docile. To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

"There is no consent under capitalism."

Mar 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one, except racists I guess.
Recommended to Vin by: Racists
CONCLUSION; This book and in fact any writing by white LGBTQ+ people that is based off a racist premise from conception should never be praised or heralded. This is not a win for "the community" as much as it is a "win" for the racism already thriving within white LGBTQ+ stances and bodies of work. If you're going to market a book as making a critique of capitalism via "slavery and rape as metaphors" I would really hope there is 1) Actual critique of capitalism (besides platitudes and 101 ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dennis by: Tor/Forge
Docile is one of my most anticipated reads for 2020 so thank you Tor Books for this advanced copy. It's safe to say that Docile is one of my favorite reads for the year.

Set in a near-future dystopian world, Maryland, the setting for this story, passes the Next of Kin Law where debt cannot be erased by death or bankruptcy, but passed down for generations. Families crippled by healthcare costs, student loans, and other expenses value up to the millions and the disparity between the rich and
Charlie Anders
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Don't call KM Szpara's Docile a dystopia. This book is something much stranger and yet closer to our own reality. Szpara has an amazing gift for immersing us in a world of exploitation and unbearable tenderness, and making it feel familiar and inescapable. Reading Docile changed me and left me with a new awareness of the structures of oppression that surround me. This book is an unforgettable story of human connection and the struggle to remain yourself in a world of debtors and creditors.
In the biggest plot twist of 2020, I ended up liking this gay 50 shades of grey book!


Actual Rating: 3.5
Freya Marske
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Do you ever find yourself thinking, "Gee, I wish CAPTIVE PRINCE and PRETTY WOMAN would have an alarming baby that they then dressed in pastel button-downs and frat boy glasses"?


This is a smart, super-readable m/m social-sci-fi romance novel about debt slavery, the complexities of consent, and OUR INEVITABLE CAPITALIST HELLSCAPE. I read my ARC at the speed of light and had a wonderful time.
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I can already tell that this is going to be just like "Captive Prince" by C. S. Pacat where people scream about how problematic it is without reading it in full and seeing how well the author talked about and discussed in all the nitty gritty detail of just how fucked up this whole book was and HOW WELL IT ALL WRAPS UP.

Things I loved;
- the writing; so simple and precise but also so well crafted
- the characters; SO FLESHED OUT. seriously some of the best characters I've read in a while
Hello darkness, aka I dont know what to rate what I read, my old friend..

So my biggest problem with this book had nothing to do with this book. I got stuck at 30% for almost two weeks after being beat-up by the flu and then I went into a slump. I felt no motivation to pick this back up (or anything else, really, though I felt honour bound to finish what I had started) because the beginning of this book is the most uncomfortable part.

In the beginning we are neck deep in watching Alex, our rich
Emily Duncan
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book held me by the throat and punched me in the face and I said thank you very much.
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
This book isnt the kind of one where I can write two cute summarizing lines and say it constitutes a review. My draft is already two pages long and is nowhere near done, but this book includes extremely provoking topics that require a lot of unpacking and analysis, and because of that its important to me that I spend the time getting the review right. So in that case, review to come!

i received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for a review


this book radiates sexy energy. Is it the
Monte Price
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Monte by: Melanie
Shelves: 2020-releases
... despite excellent pacing and a gripping narrative, Szpara fails to address the history of slavery in Americaa history that is race-based and continues to shape the nation. This is a story with fully realized queer characters that is unafraid to ask complicated questions; as a parable, it functions well. But without addressing this important aspect of the nation and economic structures within which it takes place, it cannot succeed in its takedown of oppressive systems.

this is the
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, queer
Docile was not what I expected. Cover, title, premise and tagline are all gorgeous. It's actual cover porn. I'd seen this book around a lot and was hyped to finally read it.

So what is it about? It's set in a world where debt is passed down in families and can be erased by debtors that sell themselves into slavery - the higher the debt, the longer the term. One of the richest families in near-future America has developed a drug called Dociline. Take the drug, and you will spend your time as a
Jessica Woodbury
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, speculative
Update: I've downgraded to 2 stars. The more I think about it the more this book doesn't sit well with me and I don't want to recommend it.

I saw someone say that this book reads like fan fiction and that is a really accurate description. This isn't an insult, fanfic is lovely and a rich tapestry, but it's worth noting when it comes to the style of the prose, many of the themes, and particularly the sex scenes. (They are very very detailed, a staple of fanfic, not so much a staple of non-romance
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-harder-2020
This is an incredibly challenging book to review. On the one hand, I couldn't put it down. It pushed the boundaries of what I feel like is acceptable in commercial fiction, and there's a lot of value in that. It contends with really thorny questions of consent and medical ethics and morality.

On the other hand, it vacillates painfully between interesting, meticulous commentary and absolutely cringeworthy Kink 101 sex scenes and tropes straight out of "my mom sold me to One Direction" fanfiction
CW: dubcon/noncon, rape (sometimes written in the first person POV of the rapist), depression, suicide ideation and attempt, torture and punishments

Docile has been on my highly anticipated list of 2020 since the first time I saw its tag line Theres no consent under capitalism. And all my excitement quadrupled when I got a chance to attend a panel by the author and also have some great interaction with him, during which he gave me a personalized ARC copy. This is my first ever physical ARC and
☙ percy ❧
Aug 13, 2019 marked it as tbr-shortlist
"There is no consent under capitalism."

szpara and tor are literally not even in the VICINITY of fucking around
Thank you very much to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Check out more reviews like this on my blog!

Trigger warnings: sexual slavery, slavery, sexual assault, discussion of rape, coercion/forced sex, dubious consent, BDSM, forced drugging, attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts, violence. 

(If you are not someone who can handle reading dark romance, this book is probably not for you.)

There is no consent
Taylor Barton
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I READ THIS BOOK IN A DAY. I don't normally do that, pals. Anyway. This is a tough book. It deals with a romance I hated myself for routing for, social and political dynamics that were chilling to recognize as potentially near-future ideals, and it has a cast of incredible Queer characters. The close first person POVs had me turning pages well into the night. This is a gritty, sexy, uncomfortable book with a razor-sharp hook and a hopeful ending.

Get ready to cry. Get ready to scream "ALEX, YOU
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
I still have no ARC. :(


Who do I have to kidnap to get an early copy?

Jk. But srsly I need dis 😱 💸💸💸
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book is trying to do a lot of things, which I find commendable. It's trying to be political AND romantic, explore privilege and abuse of power and the failures of capitalism...and include a lot of kinky BDSM sex. These are a lot of things! This would be, for any book, incredibly difficult to balance! And this one just can't manage it. It wants to be slavefic but with serious implications, but it can't clear the almost impossibly high hurdle of tone and characterization and nuance necessary ...more
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

CW: bad view of BDSM (as in, vaguely consensual), slavery, forced drugging, and forced sex

If I say it once, I'll say it many times. I can't believe that this is Szpara's debut novel. Because, damn. This book was amazing.

It takes place in a futuristic world where debts can now be passed down to children through the generations. To clear these debts, people can become Dociles. Aka, slaves to people who are clearing them of their debts in exchange for years of their life doing whatever they
Julie Zantopoulos
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review to come.
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K.M. Szpara is a queer and trans author who lives in Baltimore, MD, with a tiny dog. Kellan's debut alt-/near-future novel, DOCILE (Spring 2020, Publishing), explores the snowballing debt crisis, consent, and privilege, and can be described as "really gay". He is the author of "Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time," a Hugo and Nebula nominated novelette about a gay trans man who's ...more

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