"One thing that they don't tell you is that fires can't burn bright forever."
All the reviews for this book are like "OMG, I'm a blubbering mess." and "OMG, don't read any spoilers.".
So yeah, you REALLY shouldn't read any spoilers and just go along for the ride.
But there are two things that I just want to point out anyway:
1. TJ Klune has always been a great writer, but he outdid himself with this one. The writing quality is excellent, and given the heaviness of the story, it was beautiful, tasteful and one of the best-written books I've ever read.
2. Since everyone is recommending to avoid spoilers at any costs and go in blindly, I still feel like this book could have used a trigger warning, given the main target of M/M readers:
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
Trigger warning: abduction of a family member, with no final conclusion or explanation to the disappearance or the whereabouts
So while a romance this is NOT, the writing and the revelation of bits of information a little at a time totally worked for me. This has been one of the darkest and most depressing books I've ever read. But I'm glad that I did, because not everything in life is just rainbows, kittens and sunshine.
Oh, and just to be clear: there's a tentative HFN, so this can still be considered as a romance. Though just barely.
Thanks to Elsbeth and Cinna MMon for the BR.
"It's not blood that makes us who we are," Dad said. "It's family. And it's not blood that makes us family. It's love."
This was even more beautiful than the first book. Because there was more of EVERYTHING!
And yet, I STILL can't give this book the highest 5-star rating, because I was missing Rafael's POV here more than ever.
"You're beautiful. A beautiful fucking mess."
So I liked this one better than the first book. Probably because I had lower expectations this time.
I could empathize with Chase and Remy more and found their romance WAY more reasonable and naturally developed than Austin and Cam's from the previous book.
Of course there was still enough nonsense happening left and right. Like Chase, being a former kidnap victim himself, but who didn't express any doubts and had no concerns at all when Remy was taken by his friends to a cabin and cuffed to a bed for weeks (!) against his will so that he could detox. Chase just showed not one single sign of disapproval. Not. A single. One!
Or like Chase going for the good old "I swear I'm clean, you can trust me, let's fuck bareback!" fuckery, coming from a self-destructive hardcore junkie and alcoholic who he just met and who just overcame a STD a couple of days ago.
And BTW, I feel like I deserve a medal for not DNF and give a 1 star rating for this fucking stupid and outrageously irresponsible SHIT alone right then and there! Seriously authors, show some responsibility FFS!
On a more positive note, I liked both MCs and I understood the hell they went through and were still living in. I liked how they both were each other's strength and how they wanted to help and support each other.
Plus this time, there was no poorly executed GFY bullshit to be had and I didn't end up being so angry and disappointed. So I guess that's a win?
Guys and gals-who-love-guys-who-rub-their-penises-with-other-guys: I want to apologize in advance, because I know that most of my friends really liked this book and I liked the first 40% too. But once the MCs began to dip their toes into the romance territory, everything became just SO ABSURD and turned out to be so truly, madly, deeply stupid, that I really, really couldn’t.
*** SPOILERS 'N SHIT ***
There were so many eye-roll inducing moments, SO many, that I was afraid that I’d see my own brain at one point:
I could go on and on, folks; I've written down dozens of this nonsense stuff.
But my main problem with this book was that I didn’t buy the romance between Austin and Cam AT ALL. I've understood the closeness and the comfort that these two felt for each other after what they've been through. Truly and honestly, I did. I swear to Kylie! But there’s STILL a difference between being co-dependant and developing romantic feelings.
It made NO FUCKING SENSE that Austin was also suddenly being physically attracted to Cam. Or that he craved cock from one day to the next. The Gay-For-You, or Bi-For-You, or Whatever-The-Fuck-For-You theme was one of the worst and sloppiest that I’ve ever read. The brand-new gay sex machine Austin had no worries at all being attracted to a guy all of a sudden. There was no hesitation, no inner turmoil, no big conflict. Just NOTHING. His parents were A-OK with it too. And in perhaps the biggest suspension of disbelief in the entire book, so was his daughter. His daughter, who just recently had to cope with the fact that her parents are getting a divorce and who caught her father kissing and groping another man in the kitchen, was also immediately totally cool AF about Austin and Cam. Because Cam had a pool. And a dog. Sure, okay, whatevs.
Quick question: couldn’t Austin at least for just one frigging paragraph pondering if his feelings for Cam mean that he was actually a bisexual? No, for some reason I suppose not. Remember how Cam himself was supposed to be bisexual too at the beginning of the book? But apparently they both didn’t really feel like talking about this issue and they didn’t seem to mind either, I guess.
Long story short, I briefly hesitated to give this book 3 stars. But alas, if I’m more invested in the flashbacks and the torture scenes than in the relationship at hand in a romance book, then it’s just not 3 stars material for me.
Unfortunately, I’ve already bought the sequel which is about another couple (Goddess Bless), but then I’ve also heard that it is supposed to be “not as good as the first book”. Oh joy. Here goes nothin’.
Thanks to Marte for the BR.