So, this isn’t a new book, nor even one I read recently, but I was on Goodreads and realized it was on my “to-be-read” shelf, so I thought I’d move it to “read”, and the review just sorta grew from there. There are some vague spoilers – nothing plot-wise, but definitely some stuff content-wise, if that makes any sense. Anyway, here it is:
“Special Forces: Soldiers Part I -Director’s Cut” by Aleksandr_Voinov
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Beware vague spoilers – nothing specific, but some general info is provided.
I love the Special Forces stories – thousands of pages of angst and love against all odds; what’s not to love? At the same time, the later installments gave me some (even several) disappointed, or at least uncomfortable moments. Ironically, those moments were more about tenderness than pain, thus the fact they came in the later parts of the saga.
Vadim and Dan start so violently, with such hatred, that at first I wondered how Voinov could possibly make a couple of them. In fact, this was my first experience with Voinov’s writing, so I wasn’t particularly expecting it to be a “romance.” And it’s not – at least not by conventional standards. It’s brutal and grim and shows the uglier side of war, but it’s also a triumph of the human spirit, and the soul’s capacity to grow and to ultimately transcend its own flaws.
By the end of this first installment, Voinov has begun an amazing journey for both that makes their rock-solid commitment to each other completely believable. Dan, while still the happy-go-lucky, flirtatious stud, has tapped a dark and dangerous well of the soul. But it’s Vadim who truly evolves. He begins the story as a thug, but by the end he’s discovered layers of tenderness and compassion that surprise him even more than the reader. He makes me ache.
I’ll admit that Soldiers is my favorite of the trio, mostly because I’m a fan of the monogamy, and Dan’s relationship with Jean in the later books is far to intimate, loving and enduring – and Vadim’s discomfort with it is too consistent – for my comfort level. That said, those are personal preferences, and won’t bother many or even most readers at all. I mention that here because Soldiers ends with a “cliffhanger,” and once you’ve finished it you’ll NEED to move on to Mercenaries.
Read it. Think about it. Like you’ll have any choice. Then share what you think.