** There may be spoilers within this review. **
This book was gut-wrenching. It was so sad to see the steady torture and mental decline of Marshall, who was such a force to be reckoned with in the Prologue. I’m so glad we got the Prologue, because it let us see this side of Marshall, before we got into the real story of years later. Without the Prologue, I’m not sure everything Marshall went through would have been as gutting.
I really liked Doyle in the Prologue, so I was shocked and disappointed that he could turn out the way he did. But, like Marshall, I can see how it happened and why. I couldn’t believe he could do the things he did to Marshall, after experiencing a similar incident himself.
Yet, after everything they have both gone to, I could feel the connection between Marshall and Doyle from page one. Unfortunately, I could also feel the connection between Doyle and Isaac. It doesn’t make sense, in real life, but it really works in the situation that G. Streator created. The relationships should never exist, but it worked.
It was so horrible to read everything that Marshall suffered, but it was engrossing too. I kept hoping there would be a shining light somewhere, when Doyle would snap to it and rescue Marshall. But then years passed and I lost hope the same way Marshall did.
I couldn’t put this down. I love how it all turned out and how everything wasn’t just hunky dory, even at the end of the story. After everything they’d been through, it made more sense that there were lingering problems and effects of the things they had both suffered. I read it in one sitting, which is really unusual, because it’s not a short story. I also really loved that it included Bonus Stories (which were amazing) and the Supplementary Material (which has now made me want to get more of this author’s work).
There were three problems with the story, which is why I’ve bumped it down to 4 stars – there was a truck load of sex in it. I mean, explicitly written, very detailed and sometimes violent, quite brutal sex, every other page. A lot of it was unnecessary, especially once we know the circumstances. Problem 2 is that I don’t believe Marshall would be as willing to have sex with Doyle, even as messed up as he ended up being, after all he’d gone through. I could believe it, if he’d numbed himself to the amount of brutality he’d experienced, but he didn’t. He was still terrified of being hurt, so I would have liked to see it being less acceptable than it was. Lastly, at the end of the book, after not speaking for nearly a decade, Marshall is suddenly able to hold a conversation with Doyle after an indeterminate amount of time. I would have liked this to be solved by either a mention of how much time had passed or by him having some trouble getting his words out or correct.