19 April 2011

Review: Amy Lane - Truth In The Dark

Website Author - Buy

ISBN-13: 978-1-61581-530-2
Cover Artist: Dan Skinner
Categories: Novellas, Fantasy/Paranormal, Amy Lane, Fairy Tales
File Formats Available: .epub, .lit, .prc, html, pdf

Cover Summary:
"I am not beautiful..."

Knife's entire existence has been as twisted as his flesh and his face. The only thing beautiful in his life is his sister. When Gwennie is obliged to turn a suitor down because she fears to leave her brother to the brutality of their village, Knife is desperate for anything to ensure her happiness.

Her suitor's cousin offers him a way out, but it won't be easy. Aerie-Smith has been cursed to walk upright in the form of a beast, and his beloved village suffers from the same spell. Aerie-Smith offers Gwen a trousseau and some hope, if only Knife will keep him company on his island for the span of a year and perform one "regrettable task" at year's end.

Knife is unprepared for the form the island's curse takes on his own misshapen body. In one moment of magic, he is given the body of his dreams—and he discovers that where flesh meets spirit and appearance meet reality, sometimes the only place to find truth is in the darkness of a lover's arms.

My Review

The story told in a nutshell:
A new spin on Beauty And The Beast, m/m style! Through life Naef learns to cope with his physical deformities and when all seams grey and bleak a stranger offers a deal. Aerie-Smith needs a companion during one year and the gold he offers Naef means a new life for his mother and sister. Soon Naef finds him on a ship headed towards an island...but not all is what it seems to be.

My first impression after a chapter:
Oh yeah, Amy Lane is one of those author that makes this reader say; "Please, can I have some more?!"

The man who is Naef:
Now this is a character who had so many layers it became an intriguing progress to see him unravel. His personality is dark and twisted but underneath it all hides a caring nature. It is the inner dueling of character facets that drew him to me; his cruelty was his defense, honed to perfection, while his soul cried out for a tender touch. Amy Lane slowly laid him bare for me and made me understand how he came to be. With this kind of characterization she made me yearn in empathy for what his hearts of hearts wanted. To see him battling with himself triggered a range of emotions that can only come from a sincere connection to that character.

The man who is Aerie-Smith:
He is described more than once as a lion-god and that is partly how I perceived him. Aerie-Smith definitely has a lot of lion personality traits. He is fierce, surly at times, innately protective, strong- willed and sensual. He looks at people in a different way and throws Naef out of his comfort zone with that – which was an aspect I loved of course. He gives as good as he gets so at times it was strong mind versus strong mind going at each other. I may not have been in Aerie-Smith's mind but he was very verbal and wasn't all that shy about sharing his thoughts. He added a kind of pizzazz and mystery where I could do nothing but succumb to their story.

The romance blossoming:
Well, that was more a clash of willpower but in such a way that you could feel the undercurrent of attraction electrify the air between them. They could be crude at times to one another but it was an honest kind. It wasn't aimed to hurt but to rather confront, and their verbal duels created firework! In Truth In The Dark it was first and foremost about the personal connection they formed. Later on they answered to their passion which added a deepening layer to their feelings.

The emotional journey:
Can I just say; Awesome! Even though I felt some issues or feelings could've been explored more, Amy Lane really delivered on an emotionally wrought journey. The beauty and the beast theme was handled in a fresh and adult way. The introspective struggles of each character was heart rendering to witness and was told in an honest way. They were both flawed; they felt anger, lashed out, were emotionally hurt but there was also kindness and a hunger for love. Amy Lane allowed the reader to connect to Naef and Aerie-Smith in what they had to go through and she did them justice by making their choices and actions understandable. They grew from each momentum.

The sizzling sexiness:
From their growing attachment the eroticism ignited and gave it a depth and meaning. Do not expect extensive or overly explicit sexual scenes, you will not find it. It was more nuanced yet it never failed to deliver a steamy sensuality. What really worked for me was this wasn't the kind of story where it was instant attraction. No, in Truth In The Dark trust had to grow and a connection deepened before the sizzling sexiness to occur. The combination made those scenes all the more erotic.

The world building element:
There is a fantasy element in this story in the form of Aerie-Smith and his people who are cursed on their island. While this element is done in a minimal way of story detail it created maximum effect where it all came to life. This author didn't over embellish on descriptive details yet explained enough to make it all understandable. It's one of the reasons the story kept its pace and focus on the characterization of Naef and Aerie-Smith.

My synonyms for Truth In The Dark:
Memorable - emotive - acerbic - dark - layered and erotic.

My overall reaction:
This is the kind of m/m story that got me addicted to the genre in the first place! Fantastic chemistry between the m/m pairing, which is partly reflected in animated dialogues and a plot that keeps the attention the entire book. I was instantly drawn to the first person narrative of Naef. I loved the fact that from to moment go this story was very character driven. Just me delving in to the heart, mind and soul of a few key characters. Sometimes it's all I need as a reader!

4.5 stars

The quotes for you to sample:

Quote - Neaf and Aerie-Smith
"Knife. But there is still no sin in desiring men..."
"Oh yes. Because being a freak isn't bad enough. Being a perverted freak would get me killed."
"It's not perversion, it's just..."
"Stow it," I muttered, tired of this conversation. " It's not like anyone will ever touch me. Male, female, freak first, pervert second... either way, my pecker's staying in my fist.
There was an uncomfortable silence, and then that cultured, even-toned voice said, "Well, as long as you and your fist are on a first-name basis, I'm sure there's no sin in that, either."
Quote Neaf
I came, probable loudly, but that's not what I remember. I remember Aerie-Smith's soothing voice, sounding proud and sweet and sexy.
And then I remember crying for real, sobbing, coming unglued in his arms, naked in all the ways from the wonder of his hands on my body and his kindness in my ear.
Quote
This night they became holy, because I let him worship me and I gave him my worship in return. Sex was lovely. Sex was sublime. Sex was flesh and cock and suck and fuck and come.
This night, sex was starlight. Sex was oxygen. Sex was us, and we were beautiful and perfect in each other's arms.
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21 comments:

  1. I love the new Style of review, it is ordered and yet free flowing, I know I am a rambler and reading this makes me think I need sub headings. I need to get back to my blog first. Gread review, love the new style and this book is very tempting.

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  2. Great review Leontine, I am working on something similar myself to save time, this obvious works for you!

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  3. This was such a powerful read, wasn't it?!

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  4. @Minx - Glad you enjoy the review style, it's really giving me a structure I need. Hope you can play with it as well ;)

    @Marissa - It's not so much a time saver for me but it works to relay all the thoughts and feelings regarding a book :)

    @Chris - And then some! I loved the impact but then again I already read Keeping Promise Rock and its sequel too, so I knew Amy Lane could deliver ;)

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  5. It was a great read. Definitely much deeper than could have been done.

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  6. So this is the new style, I like it :) It is very personal, you sure found your way

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  7. Woohoot! I love, love, love your new format! And I'm so happy that it works so well for you, sweets. :) It still has your very special vibe, plus it's easier to read because of the little subtitles. Great review too and I so need to read this book. :)

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  8. Hi Leontine,

    I had to come out of lurkdom when I saw that you had reviewed this book. I loved this book and I love Amy Lane. Have you read any of her other stuff? It's fantastic! I wish I could afford to buy up her whole backlist!

    I like your new review style too!

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  9. @Tam - I agree, it could've been a very light hearted read but leave it up to Amy Lane to give it depth :)

    @Blodeuedd - I'm so glad you like it as well, no to find some more time to work my review notes in more of such reviews!

    @Janna - That was something I was very focussed on. that even with this kind of reviewing everyone could stil tell it was a 'leontine review' and yes, you do need to rad this book or else i'm going to read it to you at night when we're in NO *devilish grin*

    @Lisa - I'm so happy you stepped out of lurkdom and share the love for the books written by Amy Lane!! I've also read Keeping Promise Rock and the sequel, which if I remember correctly, is titled Making Promises and were incredible reads. Have you read other books from her hand you would rec I should read, like, right now? ;)

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  10. I loved this story! Amy is such a powerful writer.

    Fabulous review, Leontine!

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  11. Hey again, yes, I've read Amy's Promises books. Love Deacon and Crick and loved Mikhail's book too! She's mentioned on her blog that the next book is turned in, but I don't know when it will be released. I first found Amy when I read the book Talker and then it's follow up, Talker's Redemption. These are both novella length, but they hit you in the heart. Amy has plans for a 3rd Talker book to finish out the series. She has a release called The Locker Room (not related) this Friday I think. I'm looking forward to it.

    Have you read Marie Sexton? Her Coda Boys series is incredible. Beautiful m/m romance with just the right amount of angst. The first book is Promises which is Zach and Jared's story. If you read them, I'd love to know what you think!

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  12. @Lily - Thanks, you're review reminded me I had this fabulous book to begin with ;)

    @Lisa - OMG, another Promise book, do you know of who? Perhaps I should fire up google and start investigating *grin* I still need to read the book Talker and Talker's Redemption but want to savor each Amy Lane reading experience.

    Okay, I've heard about the author Marie Sexton. I think I've even read a few reviews at Janna's place but now I went to her site to read blurbs and oh yeah, I want...so I got them LOL After reading Tangled Threads I'm going to start this series!

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  13. Leontine-I'm going to email you. My email is helyce@sbcglobal.net in case I end up in your spam. I tend to ramble and my blog posts get deleted...

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  14. "or else i'm going to read it to you at night when we're in NO *devilish grin*"

    LOL, I look forward to that! You know I'm not going to read it now but wait for NO of course, don't you? *wicked smile*

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  15. @Lisa - Don't we love to ramble *grin*

    @Janna - *cleares throat* "Once upon a time..." ROFL I should've known you would get smart on me :)

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  16. Your review is so right on :) Loved this book. If you haven't already you should read Hammer & Air by Amy Lane, it is just as wonder as Truth in the Dark.

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  17. This sounds like a wonderful and emotional read. I really should read more m/m.

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  18. The structured review is great, very easy to follow. I'm not too sure about the cover design though.

    Fire and Cross

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  19. @mariana - I'm slowly glomming the list of Amy Lane bit these titles are new to me, I must read blurbs, like right now lol

    @susisunshine - a shift in genre focus occured for me these last few months so I'm just going with it ;) I love m/m!

    @Enid Wilson - gladmyou like the structure of the review! i hear you on the cover, for me the body and lion head isn't working.

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  20. Loved the review and the post style is quick appealing. Haven't gotten around to reading it until today--still recovering from the week before Easter which was overwhelming. Sound's like a really good book and an author I have not read before. Thanks for sharing. . .

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  21. the chemistry that was involved was somehow find its dramatic portion that's what made the story intriguing.

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I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.