4.75 stars. I loved the first half of this story. Loved. Jac is such a sweet and gentle soul that it literally tears you apart to see him having been tortured and treated so badly. He literally broke my heart. The author's skill in crafting her characters clearly shows through with him. The story itself is very dark and sometimes difficult to read, but Kirkpatrick tempers it with hope as she takes us on Jac's struggle back to himself. How someone who had been victimized by such cruelty and hatred could still learn to trust again and be as kind as he was really makes you think about the inherent strength in people. The second half of this story is equally as good, but didn't affect me as strongly as the first.This story takes place in a post-apocalyptic/dystopian type world where touch is forbidden because it fosters emotion which leads to unpredictability making people much harder to control. Patrick is an Empath who is issued his first case in a medical type facility that aids people who have been discovered on the escapeway. Without giving away a great deal of the plot, his journey with Jac leads him to question everything he's been taught and which values/behaviors are ultimately the right ones. His or Jac's.It's a GFY type story, and some people don't like that, but I enjoyed reading about how these two grew closer together. If I had one criticism for this story, it would be that I wish the author's worldbuilding had been a little bit stronger. I really loved reading about her world, but I wanted more of it. I wanted to know how it happened, who was responsible in ultimately shaping this world. I wanted to be able to see the city through the characters eyes. And while there were glimpses of it, there wasn't enough to satisfy my curiosity I guess. I would love to see more of Patrick and Jac. I think they still have so much more to say.