Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny
4.5 Stars Emotional Stars
“Every life is supposed to be a mix. Some suffering. Some goodness. And now I’ve had both.”
Oh wow; such beauty, poetry, artistry and vivid images portrayed under such a grim, horrific and morose setting. Varian Krylov’s writing is exquisite – we knew that already – it’s almost as if we’re reading a poetic account of life, the ugly and the beautiful – the frantic and the serene. The basic core of human elemental emotions and how intrinsically; all we want and need is to be loved and happy – without all the frills and materialistic possessions deemed necessary to survive and achieve satisfaction. To truly feel and value the good we need to experience the bad and feel pain. Only then can we truly understand and place value.
‘Gentle alien, stranded on this mad planet. Stranger in a strange land.’
Luka is almost ethereal in his beauty; a haunted young gentle man who’s not only caught up in a war tearing up his country but battling daily abuse. Our hearts bled for Luka all the way through; it was akin to a defenceless animal being kicked, starved and abused by society yet keeps creeping back wanting a morsel of love, affection – wanting to be unseen yet be free to dream – to express his love of art and be part of ‘something’. It was distressing to say the least and that ache never ceased. Hatred destroys beauty; it nearly destroyed our Luka.
“You’re still burdened with the scars he gave you.”
The light in the darkness comes, as a life altering path disguised in menace, when Luka encounters Tarik. Luka feels almost entranced or compelled by him no matter the frightening circumstances and the associated terrors. His life has almost been a living nightmare so better the devil you know for our poor Luka.
“More than most people I’ve known, you deserve happiness. You deserve to be loved. If something happens to me, that’s what you should remember.”
However, not all is as it seems and the journey is a revelation for both him as well as his captor, Tarik who we absolutely took to heart as well. Luka’s journey was incredibly raw and emotional, perhaps more so than Tarik as he under duress, captivity and inhumane treatment learns to live away from the observing shadows of the ugly side of humanity.
“I hope you know, Luka, when people are cruel to you, it doesn’t mean you’re bad, or that there’s anything wrong with you. It only means something’s wrong with them.”
Varian Krylov wrote an incredibly intense, emotionally honest, intricate and passionate story that grabbed our hearts and squeezed them continuously from page one till the last, never letting go. This has to be one of our favourite emotional m/m reads of the year!
“You’re safe. I promise.”
**Reviewed from an ARC Copy provided by the author, with thanks**