Monday, September 17, 2012

My rating: 4 of 5 stars




Ebook, 175 pages
Published September 17th 2012 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN13 9781937551667
Edition Language English



A very fine stand-alone as well as a must-read for established Special Forces fans. I would also nominate this as an excellent first male/male romance book.

Aleksandr Voinov's voice takes on a fresher, lighter tone yet remains sophisticated in this highly enjoyable romance. I've been anxiously awaiting this new look at the next generation of his Special Forces characters. While it's possible that this book was written purely to indulge his fan's wanton pleading, I honestly believe this project was something the author enjoyed pursuing.

For the past eight months I have been rereading, buddy reading, quoting and praising the epic Special Forces. It's kind of like that first rock album you really connected with and had to share it with everyone willing to listen, in an effort to keep it alive and valid. So, when I heard that Aleks would continue the story, I was thrilled. When I heard the story would be contemporary and revolve around Nikolai, Vadim's son, I was intrigued. When I found that it would be a "sweet romance", I was apprehensive. How could the tragic, physically invasive SF be turned into anything sweet? Duh, I've said this before; I trust Aleks writing and I trust his vision. What he created here was a new day, a new path, while simultaneously easing my soul and giving much needed comfort. Well done.


THE CHARACTERS

There's much better than me out there for you.

Nikolai Krasnorada - Strong, gorgeous, open-minded and introverted. Nikolai is a surprising character to develop from the madness that is Special Forces. He feels normal, average and yet leads a lifestyle many would envy. An explorer by nature or just seeking something he's never known, he works hard to keep a birds-eye-view of his family's, uh, unique quirks.

"The harmless one"

Henri LeBeau - Smooth, rich, flirtatious and the enemy. Wow, what's not to like there?

Vadim sat...back to the wall, seemingly playing with his smartphone -- or really plotting who to kill first...with nothing more than a coctail umbrella.

Vadim Krasnorada - I had instant concern for Vadim in this story. The god-like strength is subdued, vulnerable and he fears losing someone he loves deeply. His brilliance, cunning and protective nature are completely intact. I love him more than ever.

Anya - So like her mother. Competitive, manipulative, a bitch.

I have to say that it was quite interesting to watch Voinov work with the more "normal" characters of Nikolai and Henri. As a fan, I've seen him develop and present some fascinating, unique and complex characters, so seeing his ability with regular guys was enlightening.

THE STORY

It turns out, for me, this was the perfect contrast to Special Forces. A modern story reflecting a more progressive, yet far from perfect world. Opening within the exciting and fast-paced corporate world, Nikolai and Henri are in high-level discussions relating to corporate mergers and takeovers. The two men are both successful in business but have each forestalled their personal lives. The tentative attraction is acknowledged, but Nikolai is not one to be pinned down. His family has not given him much reason to seek anything long term.

There are glimpses of the parents and family who have worked to achieve certain levels so that their children can have a different type of life. For all that parents strive to make their children's lives easier, smoother, those children must still attain their own sense of self via pitfalls and success.

A strong and necessary undercurrent in the book revolves around Nikolai and Vadim's incomplete relationship. I found myself crying for Vadim. I think you will too.

The Anya twist is reminiscent and surprising. Voinov's genius was showing when he developed this plot line. I have to wonder how long he was sitting on that idea.


THE WRITING


The chemistry and the banter.

This is why I think Voinov found enjoyment in these characters. It was clear in the writing style that he liked both Nikolai and Henri and I found it delightful that he could interest me in such normal, warm and "real" guys.

The story was quick, lively and well written. Again, I would say this would also be an excellent introduction into male/male romance. The pace, tone and visuals are easy to sink into.

...you never know what kind of memory will keep you going when you need it.

~~~~

The longer I digest this book the more satisfaction I'm taking from it. If this is Aleks' attempt to appease his fans, fine. I say more power to his fans for causing this revisit.

There are several plot lines that would be very interesting to pursue. In a very vain attempt to color Aleks' mind, I would love to see more of these characters.



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