*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*
After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. Fate is now a calculation.
But loving someone isn’t.
When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.
Fortitude Smashed was a title which had shown up on my twitter timeline several times and I always though: mhmh, nice cover, what it is? but then mostly ignored it for a while. At the end I am so happy I didn’t and took a closer look and got a copy of the book.
The book is, and I don’t exaggerate, a gem I found. I read the blurb and the mentioned Rose Roads & Camellia Clock, this soulmates concept picked my interest. I am a sucker for biological things in books when I read a sci-fi-esque (don’t worry, this book is set in the present time and only the implanted chip is the “futuristic” thing) book. So, it’s a high praise when I say that this book blew me away. :3
It has a pretty calm writing, at least it feels so. That doesn’t mean it’s boring. No, the thrill lies in between the lines. And that’s the strenght of the book: the deep, sometimes high poetic way of writing. The words are flowing, some things are told explicit, other are just a vague mention, especially the sexual encounter between Shannon and Aiden.
We get the on-page erotic but wrapped in such a great way of writing. You have touching, kissing – loads of kissing, so hot, so sensual, so sweet – groping, but also the vulnerabilty. Not only because Aiden is a virgin, no, it’s more that there is a pure connection between those guys.
Of course the fact that they are each other’s Rose Roads, soulmates, is one thing but we learn it’s a decision the person have to take by themself. The choice to accept is still there, therefore the bond between Aiden and Shannon is even sweeter. Both are the opposite, but they compleate each other so perfectly. ❤ And never is Shannon nothing but understanding and never forces Aiden to do things he won’t like.
Also their sexuality is never a problem, never a deal-breaker and the representation of so many varieties of the sexual spectrum is amazing. It is also explained in which way the Camellia Clock works.
In the blog tour of the book, hosted by Interlude Press, there are so many informative blog posts about the book’s background, the character, inspirations. See this overview graphic and visit the blogs. 🙂 I also advise to folllow the author on Twitter to get more glimpses of the further books in the series or deleted scene snippets. :3
The different representations of sexuality are so well included, in fact, Shannon’s parents have a bet on their son’s Rose Road’s gender and it’s no matter for them. It’s super funny how easygoing those two guys in general are, in fact the whole “meet-the-parent”-part with Aiden. You love the parents right from the start, you can’t help yourself. ❤
As I say they both come from a different background, both have different “jobs” (if you cound Aiden’s as one ;)); we have kinda enemies to lovers, but it’s more because of the moral aspect. Shannon is constantly forced to challenge his priciples, his believes, and Aiden can’t help himself and has his own reason to steal things. The reason for it is explained.
That’s a thing I adore, no actually LOVE about the book. The on-page explanations are there, the reasons behind the character’s behaviour is shown, it’s palpable through the whole book which makes it sooo awesome.
Also there are trigger warnings given right from the start, and that’s what I want to stress out. The warnings are necessary and so, so essential. :3
The whole book is dealing with mental illness, constantly, because Aiden is suffering from dysthymia, but it nether tries to solve the problems, never wants to “heal” the person. It’s more the acceptance to live with the mental illness, with the effect it have to the daily live, to the person.
And, ohmygod, Aiden, he is such a sweet character and the one part where his brother Marcus (shout out to this character, one of the best supporting character in a book) is saying he is a “teenaged tiger”, already dangerous but not full-grown, is one of the best scenes. :3
(While reading I posted on my twitter account he reminds me of Yurio from the popular ice skating anime Yuri on Ice and I ment it as a true compliment to Taylor Brooke and her writing. <3).
The mentioned scene is this:
“You’re like a six-month-old tiger; people wanna pet you but they’re also scared you might kill them. That’s the best way to be.”
Aiden threw his hands in the air […]
“Why a six-month-old tiger?”
“Because they’re not totally grown yet. Still fluffy and cute, but big enough to eat you. Teenaged tiger. Emotionally constipated, brooding tiger.”
It also shows the bond between the brothers and I melted away. ❤
This guy, Aiden, deserves so much love and the moment he and Shannon fall for each other, is pure magic.
You see how needed the intimacy is, but I don’t mean necessary the sex, it’s just one part, I mean they have a connection, the term soul mate is truly fitting for them. ❤
In general I love the charming character display; so many different people and all diverse in the unique characterisation Taylor Brooke is showing. The character’s behaviour is believable in the actions and you see the charming, lovable parts as well as their flaws. They are true, honest, they are broken, but all in all: they are human.
And that’s entagled in a poetic writing, full of deeper meanings, spiked with analogies and metaphors (and so many other figures of speech, it would be interesting to go through the book and indicate them;)); pictures are build in the reader’s mind, sometimes it’s clear written, sometimes hid behind a complext phrasing, and it’s a true joy to decipher these parts. ❤
I can’t wait to read the next book, Taylor Brooke already confirmed it’s about Daisy and Chelsea, so we get a F/F couple. :3 Also there are plans for further books (with poly-rep and ace/aro characters), and I hope they will be published (so, people, buy this :D). :3