Special Forces - Mercenaries Part II (Special Forces, #2 part 2) - Aleksandr Voinov,  Marquesate,  Vashtan Remember Lindsay Lohan around the time she was in Mean Girls? She was the new, pretty girl you rooted for, maybe even wanted to be, couldn’t wait to see what she would do next, because there was no doubt in your mind it would be successful. Then a few years later she was snorting coke, dating Samantha Ronson and getting fired from movie sets. And even though you could see where her downward spiral was heading, you just couldn’t look away, because you still could see Cady from Mean Girls in her and you clutched so tightly to that image of who she used to be, hoping she would return. Mercenaries: Part 2 is my homoerotic literary equivalent of LiLo.

I have been putting off writing this review. Taking time to digest the mouthful stuffed down my throat in MPII. Biding time, reading other’s reviews of it. And I am confused, is the trend to just hand out five star reviews to books we don’t enjoy now? I don’t think I have ever read so many harsh reviews that rip at a book that the reviewer gave five stars to. What a notable phenomenon. "I hate your five star book, can't wait to read more!" It is like breaking up with someone you love. Need I say more? No, I think we can all bow to the authors who are so talented to create this love / hate reaction.

Now that we have established that Voinov and Marquesate have got some serious skills, lets move on to the problems of Mercenaries. The common singular complaint from reviewers - well it rhymes with Dad Hog. The common reasoning it was rated so highly - it made the reader feel a plethora of emotions. You know what MPII made me feel? Regret. I am as heartbroken as anyone to give a work with Voinov’s name on it a flogging. But sometimes, early in one’s career a flop slips through. Mercenaries Part II was a flop. I didn’t enjoy it.

I clutched to Soldiers and I am sure that is part of my problem. In my review of Soldiers I started out by calling it a masterpiece. As human nature goes, I picked up the sequel and expected another masterpiece. But that’s not what I got. What I got is a hot mess. A Lindsay Lohan, paparazzi money making hot mess. If Mercenaries had been a stand alone book NOT featuring Dan and Vadim as the leads, I probably would not be so hard on it. I tried to hang with the plot in MPI even though I saw the muddy waters it was entering, but by MPII, the plot had been so over sensationalized in true soap opera-esque fashion that I was even bored during the sex scenes. I don’t mean disgusted or groaning bored, I mean any emotional investment I had in the characters was gone and the scenes began to read like soft porn that one would find on Cinemax late night.

My two cents on Jean: he wasn’t a great guy, but yadda, yadda, yadda, I didn’t even care. Because I no longer knew any of these characters. Dan and Vadim were unrecognizable. Like high school friends that were your world growing up, but after college you can barely hold a conversation with them. If anything Jean was probably the most intriguing of the bunch being that he was who he was with no apologies. Dan and Vadim were no longer men I would hand my heart to, they were just guys. Guys I would walk right on by at the bar. And the moment Dan and Vadim no longer respected, cared or were faithful to each other, I followed suit.

I teetered between a two and a three star on this one. My first instinct was to go with the two star, partly because I like evening out Bell Curves. However, I can't say I wouldn't recommend it as part of the series. Which would place it with in a three by the fair and rigid star rating system in my head. So it is tentatively a three. (Subject to change at my whim.)

Mr. Voinov, I am still swooning in my love affair with you, but even the best of couples have tiffs sometimes.

Enjoy this review? More at http://romanticnotion.blogspot.com/

Enjoy book discussions about M/M series, please consider joining the Goodreads Group Best M/M series http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/111708-best-m-m-series-discussion