I won't be doing a review because I don't know how to properly critique a book. This post is just to vent what I am feeling right now about this mind-blowing book I have read a night ago. I don't even want to think as I type as long as I am able to express everything I feel about this book that has tortured my mind all day! Mind-blowing, addictive, brutally honest, hauntingly captivating, imperfectly perfect, morbid, dark, and tenderly painful to read. That's how I describe this book. How on earth can I enjoy reading another book after this?
First of all, I enjoy reading books with happy endings with all those sweetness and tenderness a romance novel can offer. And usually, romance novels have the same underlying plot (which I actually like). Boy meets boy/girl, sweet moments, complications, resolutions, then a happy ending. As this is expected, my preference in romance novels over the others vary to a certain degree in terms of writing style and sophistication. I guess the reason why I enjoy reading romance novels is because it allows me to escape from the bitterness of reality. It is by reading romance novels that you experience a utopic kind of "romance" or "love" which you may not experience in the real world. It freaks me out when a romance novel tries to inject a certain amount of realism just to make it believable and not too far-fetched from reality. I treat romance novels as fairy tales.
However, it's not the same case to me if a novel aims to be brutally honest and to present a certain degree of reality without having the aim to "titillate" the senses of the readers with sweetness and tenderness that you often get from a typical romance novel. This book that I have just read is anything but sweet and tender. It has some great bed scenes (a lot, in fact), and haunting dialogues of revelations of powerful emotions (sorrow, ecstasy, happiness, love, violence, lust). It has a happy ending, alright, but the obstacles the main characters undergo involve torture, rape, bombings, murder, and some more crimes you wouldn't even want to imagine. The ending would not satisfy your fantasy as you wonder what other internal and external struggles the characters will encounter after their wending (ooopps. that's a spoiler right there).
It is a story of two soldiers from different countries who met as enemies during the war in Afghanistan. Their first encounter went beyond physical torture. There was rape, infliction of physical pain, but more than that, there was power and submission. To both of the characters, to dominate the other is as victorious as winning the war or conquering the Afghan mountains. And there is the never-ending sex. Who would have thought that the contrast between hate and love, pain and lust, violence and tenderness would be so appealingly captivating to the point of addiction. Yes, I got addicted from the moment I read the first chapter of the first book. There are three books (It's a trilogy- Soldiers, Mercenaries, Veterans).
There are a few things in the book that challenged my moral tolerance. In a typical romance novel, I get emotionally triggered when problems like "cheating" (or sleeping with another individual to be more precise) occurs. This I can still stand since such acts are really considered not good in any context of a romance novel. And so, such problems are solved as soon as there is reconciliation between the two characters. However, this particular book is way too much for my wholesome mind =). Some scenes repulsed me but I could not let go of this book no matter how disgusted I was as I read from scene to scene. One example is polygamy. And not just a simple kind of polygamy since these two main characters (who happen to be deeply and hauntingly in love with each other and who confess that they cannot live without the other) are engaged in orgies and treat sex as an obligatory activity. What is even more repulsing for me is the lack of remorse, guilt, and jealousy between these two lovers. I don't have that much experience in the love department and even in the bed department but I have a firm hold of what I think is morally right. I do understand that the main characters are not your ordinary good people so they are capable of doing anything with their "animal" instincts sharpened by the war and all those violence and pain (physical, mental, and emotional) they encountered. But I still believe that love and sex should be sacred and must be enjoyed exclusively by TWO people who value each other. How pissed I am every time I read a scene with one of the characters sleeping with another individual dismissing the idea that the other would feel jealous or something. What I can't stand even more is the orgies which involve both of the characters. I love reading bed scenes but there's no forking way I would enjoy scenes like this. Way too much for my unadulterated mind.I really got so emotionally invested in this book that I cried, laughed, and smiled through my reading.
This book had a tight grip on me. Oftentimes I wanted to stop reading but I could not bear the thought of not being able to keep track of the story of these two characters. I enjoy romance novels for the fantasy and the sweet feeling I get. On the other hand, this book does not have the perfection that I often seek from a romance novel. But it deeply moved me despite those deep dark scenes. In fact, it could be these deep dark scenes that have captivated me. A romance novel with perfect characters would be forgettable and not memorable. This book, however, in its most disgusting and morbid way, will surely stay in my memory for a long time. A simple line like "I fucking missed you" would tenderly give a painful kick to my heart.
This blog post will serve as a reminder maybe 5 or 10 years from now that I went crazy over a book.
This is the link of the site, if you're interested to read it. It's a free read without downloading or paying.
Special Forces by Marquesate