Special Forces - Soldiers (Special Forces, #1) - Aleksandr Voinov,  Marquesate,  Vashtan A masterpiece. Not flawless, but certainly an A+ for true psychoanalytic character developments. I picked this up after seeing non-stop four and five star reviews for it. Had to read what all the fuss was about, because honestly I didn’t find the summary particularly arousing - someone should get on rewriting that bland description of the book. What I found was a profound epitome of (what for me) is the defining attractions of the enemies to lovers theme in the m/m genre.

What I was most shocked about and impressed by was the believability of the progression of Dan and Vadim’s relationship and their actions / reactions to each other. I had a bit of wariness of the authors attempting to spin this enemies to lovers tale with the circumstances surrounding our Main Characters. For these were true enemies in every sense and connotation of the word. Not only from their official personalities representing their nationalities and ideals, but let’s get right to it - one commit’s a sex cri me against the other and in retaliation the other commits a violent crime against his assailant. So how on earth to bring these two together? I was fearful for the authors and their ambition in tackling this without turning it into drivel. Though the book leaps right into action between the two MC’s (something I prefer rather than long drawn out backgrounds first) I still had to slightly push myself through the beginning of the book until about a third of the way through Chapter 3, when I began to realize that the authors really could do this and pull it off - brilliantly. In fact, as developments unfolded, it made quite logical sense that these two would come together. Both Caucasian special forces military men for global superpowers, both closeted gay males (one to himself and one to the world), both in a foreign country whose culture is utterly unrelatable by both of them, both feeling an isolation from their peers (one literally isolated and one isolated due to the inability to be free about his sexual orientation). I gulped down this story and everything Voinov and Marquesate fed me line by line - captivating and believable as if I was reading more of a memoir recounted rather than a work of fiction (though I doubt anyone would recount a memoir with such scintillating, hot under the collar sex scenes with unbending detail). For that, thank goodness it was not a memoir.

This is not to say that I swallowed everything wholly, however, really the only part that I got gagged a bit on took place in Chapter 12 set in a cave in August of 1984. The prude in me will openly admit that I am not personally familiar or turned on by the particular sexual act our MC’s found themselves in and I simply can’t imagine 1.) that being wounded and nearly driven mad by the horrific circumstance Dan had previously found himself in that any sexual act, much less this one would “bring him back to himself” 2.) I also couldn’t believe that doing this to Dan (in the physically wounded and mentally vulnerable state he was in) even occurred to Vadim - much less as something that would be helpful to him. I have an inkling that this was an attempt by the authors to incorporate events in Chapter 11 forward, I understand what the writers were doing with this chapter and how the events progressed the relationship - however it was weird. Chapter 12 was just weird. I wish Voinov had found another way for Vadim to help Dan “center himself” and escape insanity. Would have liked a bit more of an emotional “massage” rather than a physical one.

On the technical side, I found it beautifully written though not elegantly written. The perspective switching could have used some cleaning up. I thought at first the switching was from paragraph to paragraph, but then I would begin to stumble at some parts and have to reread them - then realizing that in that particular part of the book the perspective switched at random - at least that was the only way I could make sense of what was written. However, for the content of the book any technical vulnerabilities are easily dismissed.

On the whole - read it. Even if you are not a fan of the enemies to lovers theme - you will have to be a fan of the m/m genre though, there is no getting around the voluminous plethora of unbridled hot gay sex (and why would you want to get around such?). Read it.

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