This is going to be a hard review for me to write. Volatile is a wonderful book and flawlessly written, it just wasn’t a book for me. But, I have absolutely no doubt that my reasons for finding this a harder story to read will be the main reasons others are going to adore it.
But, let me start with everything that was wonderful about this book before I get to my very personal reasons for having a hard time with it. This is a very well written story. The words and descriptions hooked me from the moment I started reading. I really felt as if I was in Chris’s head, I could feel his gloom, I shared his fears and excitement, and his pain tore through me.
Because we experience everything that happens through Chris’s eyes and thoughts, and Chris is ‘only’ twenty years old and therefore not yet very world wise, Dante remained almost as much of an enigma to me as he was for Chris. But, and this was done very well, I did have a better understanding of what might be going on with the talented violinist than Chris had. But, to be fair, Chris was still fighting a few demons of his own, which made it harder for him to recognise Dante’s.
That’s what this story is about; two troubled and fragile young men trying to find and keep their footing in a world that appears to expect them to live, act, and perform in a manner well beyond their age. I think my heart started breaking about two paragraphs into the story, and it didn’t stop until I had almost finished the book.
And that, in a nutshell, is my personal issue with this book. I don’t do angst. I don’t deal with it very well and avoid it in my reading when I can. And there’s angst a plenty inVolatile and it is very well done. While a lot of the angst is the result of Chris and Dante just not communicating with each other—one of my pet peeves— it made perfect sense in this story. In fact, if they had talked about all their issues with each other, it would have been completely out of character. Given who they are, their ages, and individual histories, their relationship couldn’t have developed in any other way. But, knowing all of that, did not make it easier for me to read.
Long story short; if you enjoy very well written stories, featuring two fascinating young men building a troubled relationship, and a liberal dose of angst, this is THE book for you. Go read it and enjoy while I try to figure out whether or not I want to read the next book when it comes out. Because on the one hand, Avylinn Winter is a wonderful writer and storyteller, but on the other hand, my heart can only take so much angst.