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there's more to life than reading books

“What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do.”

Special Forces - Mercenaries Part I (Special Forces, #2 part 1) - Aleksandr Voinov,  Marquesate,  Vashtan Word of warning: please leave all conventional romantic expectations at the door.

Isn’t it great that books can make us feel so much? Amazing the affect words on a page can have on us. Yeah right. I don’t want these feelings, they hurt and they are painful. They are tearing me up inside.

I haven’t been this obsessed with and consumed by a book in a long time and it’s been really hard to disassociate myself from these characters’ lives because they seem so real and have squirrelled their way into my heart. And it’s torturing me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so distraught and heartbroken for a character (for both characters actually) as I am for Dan and Vadim. I said in my review for Special Forces that the book was both genius and a torture to read at the same time. I still maintain those feelings for Mercenaries Part I but now I also feel duped and cheated. I can handle emotion and angst and intensity but this book took all those things to a new, unexplored, never before experienced level. I had no warning, no preparation for this experience.

So why do I feel duped? Because this book changed the rules and I didn't see it coming! Special Forces set me up for an all-consuming EPIC love story and Mercenaries delivered a completely different tone and direction. In my innocence I was lulled into a false sense of security with this couple (after Thailand). Yes, the story is highly emotional and gut wrenching but it also followed tried and true conventions and delivered my much needed HEA for one of the most intense and amazing relationships I’ve ever read. All was good. Except then out of nowhere it didn't follow those conventions and the rules completely changed.

I am emotionally drained, disappointed and dejected. How could a love that was shooting straight to the top of my all-time faves list, end up here? It feels spoiled. Was it ever what I thought it was? And here is me coming back to feeling duped. It’s not that I need a sappy romantic happy ending for every book I read, but for these guys, for Dan and Vadim, I really wanted it! This new direction just feels unrealistic, not genuine at all. Their love was tainted by meaningless (and some not so meaningless) sexual experiences to the point I stopped believing in their true feelings for each other. And that’s why I’m distraught. I’ve stopped believing in Dan and Vadim. I’ve lost faith in their love. I’m questioning every touch, every word, everything they’ve ever shared. And good lord they'd endured so much together to get to a safe place in their relationship.

I have been asking myself all day – am I too naïve to understand the complexities of this relationship? Did I miss the whole point of the story? Well yeah maybe I did. If that is the case then I concede to just not getting it. My heart can’t handle anything outside of its naive little monogamous view of the world.

Will I read the next book? I honestly don’t know. I’d have to come to terms with all the changes in Dan and Vadim and accept that they may never return to being anywhere near the guys they were in Special Forces. Maybe I’m better off not finding out. I love Voinov's writing and will definitely read more from him.

This is only about a third of what I’ve written for this review (and it’s still probably the most I’ve ever written for a review!) but I don’t need to say any more. I can already feel the healing process has started just by getting it all out. I have never felt this passionate about a book, which is a wonderful thing. In the future someone will only need to say the names Dan and Vadim to me and I’ve no doubt that my breath will catch and the eye twitches will start.