Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dark Soul Vol. 1 (Dark Soul, #1)Dark Soul Vol. 1 by Aleksandr Voinov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ebook, 76 pages
Published October 30th 2011 by Riptide Publishing (first published October 27th 2011)
ISBN13 9781937551070

No Spoilers-

Mr. Voinov has once again caught me by surprise. Dark Soul 1 was not what I was expecting and I should know better, by now, than to have any preconceived notions regarding what Voinov has written. Honestly, I kept putting this read off as I wasn't interested in reading a story about the mafia. This isn't a book about the mafia. This is a story about onions.

Yeah, yeah I know the onion/layer analogy is over used but still, it is a good one to describe this book. The characters are multi-layered, the progression is multi-layered and the emotions that the reader experiences are also quite layered. Layered may be too straight-forward of a term. In the analogy you peel back the layers to see what lies beneath. In truth, what we have here is a complex network of intensity that is not typically found in the male-male romance genre.


I'm starting to dislike, resent even, that these talented authors, of the m/m genre are placed in any category that might separate them from a wider audience.

Dark Soul has all the intensity, complexity and depth that I am beginning to expect from Voinov. One warning: Pick this book up and expect to read it straight through. There is not one moment of lull where you can stop and walk away.

The Characters: In my opinion, character development is Voinov’s strong suit. I think he must delight in creating the complex personalities that keep us so enthralled.

Stephano initially appears to be a straightforward mafioso character; calculating, secretive, planning, scheming. That would be too simple for Voinov. There is much more to learn and discover about Stephano. His sexual denial just waits for us to strip away and understand.

Silvio is pure, liquid, dripping sex. If that doesn't get you to read this then I don't know what will. Voinov could have stopped right there with his development of Silvio but of course, he didn't. He gave us a broken, tortured, scarred beautiful creature that instantly penetrates your psyche. More, please.

Gianbattista might prove to be just too simple. Simple in this book is just too easy and I refuse to just buy into his easy, suave charm. Complex simplicity is his deception.

The Story:

Set in a backdrop of underworld tension and manipulations, the real story is only enhanced by the scenes that Voinov paints. Through Stephano's observations we peel the layers of Silvio's character while simultaneously discovering Stephano's true nature. The story development is just that, it feels very much like the set-up that it is for the next books in the series. That's just fine. Since it powered right through and in parts, blasted the pages with gritty, sexy, hard-to-look-at action, there was no lack of story. Just a continuous, rising build to the next book.

Admittedly, there is a bit of just-go-with-it, that as a Voinov fan I was willing to do. After a particularly intense and brutal exchange Silvio seems to too easily forgive Stephano. I am confident that there will be further development that explains the ease with which this forgiveness comes. In fact, I think it was purposely left open ended for future exploration.

I highly recommend this book and am hoping to be able to recommend the series as well. I will be moving right along to Book 2 as there are more layers to peel.

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