Rarely Pure And Never Simple (2013)
Rarely Pure And Never Simple (2013)
About book: This book was provided to me in return for my honest review as part of the M/M Romance group's DBML program. I have not received any compensation for this review, it's freely given.I thought this was a great read - it was well written, with the dystopian world-building, the characterization - I was able to easily connect to the MCs, and the snark! Oh how I love me some snark!The Variants are people whose DNA has been genetically altered so that they have some sort of special gift. Damien's gift is that he'a able to locate people. He doesn't like taking contracts, but he can't turn down one that involves children. Blaze is an irreverent ass, but takes the job seriously & he's all about helping the children too. He gift, like his name implies is that he can start fires.Because of past abuse issues, Damien has a rather severe case of OCD; he can't function if certain things are not done a certain way, he can't stand to be touched, & he can't have anyone behind him. He agrees to take a job finding 40 children missing from one of the Academies. Blaze is hired to guard his back, although Damien prefers to work alone.Right away, Blaze knows that Damien has control issues and he's able to calm Damien down enough to be able to function normally. At least as normal as Damien can get. And for some reason, Damien feels like he can trust Blaze, even allows Blaze to touch him.While out in the field, working to find the missing kids, the pair continues to form a bond. Soon, they become lovers; although finding Blaze's ex, Shudder McKenzie, seems to throw a bit of a wrench into the mix because it's fairly evident that those two still have some unresolved feelings for each other. It's never quite clear whether or not Shuds has some hope of reuniting with Blaze, but Shuds can definitely see that Blaze has fallen for Damien.Shuds joins the pair on their quest to find more of the missing children once he's certain that the kids won't be returned against their will & that neither Blaze nor Damien have any intention of collecting the bounty hanging over his head.Once all the children found, Damien cuts & runs; believing that Blaze deserves someone normal & that he'd be a danger to Blaze at some point later in the future. Blaze lets him go, but only for awhile then he tracks Damien down & convinces him that they should be together.I was kind of concerned there for a bit because it looked like maybe the author was going to pursue a threesome with Damien, Blaze, & Shuds. And I was sure that it wasn't the right thing for any of the characters. But she kept the romance between Damien & Blaze & I am glad. This is the first time I've ever read anything from this author & based on this story & I would love to read more of her work. Note: A free copy of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. I honestly don’t know what word to use to describe this story. Outstanding? Amazing? Phenomenal? Perhaps I’ll just use all three. It was also highly creative and original, exciting, suspenseful, and I truly didn’t want it to end. I couldn’t put it down, but I tried to read slowly because I was enjoying it so much that I felt I needed to savor every page. The author created a future world where scientists developed a new nucleic acid, fredamine. It was designed to alleviate a variety of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis. But there were also recessive gene traits which caused some children to be born with special gifts. The children are called variants and are usually sent to a special school so that they will be with others like them. It may also be because “normal” people don’t want to mingle with them. The variants have formed an agency, the Guild, which acts to promote, protect and police the variant population. Not all variants care to work for the Guild but some are available as contractors when special cases arise. One such man is Damien, a locator. His ability to locate people is desperately needed by the Guild when over twenty students from the Western Academy have been reported missing. The Academy is one of the two special variant schools in the US. Damien suffers from OCD, and is neurotic and introverted as well. When contracted for this job, he’s assigned a helper whose role is to guard Damien and provide muscle and fire power—literally, since Blaze is a sparker, a variant who can ignite fire from his fingers. Though resistant to having a partner, Damien finally agrees and the two set out to locate the students. Unfortunately, the first two students Damien locates are dead. At the site, the partners encounter a group of extremists in a “variant free zone” and chaos ensues with Damien losing his mind and beating one of the men to death with a shovel. Fortunately, though slightly wounded, Blaze is able to subdue the others and Damien is able to summon a Guild rapid response team to the area to help with exhuming the bodies and securing the area. It’s through this first incident that Blaze finally sees the effect that Damien’s early life and neurosis have had on him mentally and emotionally. Damien breaks down and shares a bit of his past with Blaze when he also discovers that he’s more at ease around Blaze than he ever has been with anyone else. Moving onward on their quest to find more of the missing students, they discover an isolated camp run by Shudder, a variant who was once Blaze’s boyfriend and is now on the outskirts of the law, both from the Guild and the federal agencies. But Shudder offers to help them in their quest and ultimately joins them, providing his own special talent— the ability to make the earth move when they need it to rescue the next group of students. Throughout this time, Blaze and Damien had been getting closer but Damien fears that Blaze still loves Shudder and that he’ll never be able to have a future with him. On the final leg of their journey, Shudder has virtually collapsed from a head wound he received during the last rescue and has to be carried by Blaze as the little group comes upon the location of the final group of students. The twist the story takes at this point is unexpected but perfectly fitting for these missing young variants. This story is so much more complex than my simple summary indicates. It just has to be read to be appreciated. The physical journey to find these groups of students covers multiple states, and the author’s descriptions of our country after it had been devastated by war, famine, and disease is amazing. The outcome for each group of students is highly detailed and the final destination of the last group of students found was a nice surprise. My heart broke for Damien as he said goodbye to Blaze, knowing that he could never have a long term relationship with this man, a man who deserved a more “normal” life partner. His follow-up discussion with Dr. Parma, the head of the Guild, and the things we learn about Damien’s past throughout the story, just endeared him to me. Do the guys get a happy ending? Well yes, they do. But it’s hard won and well deserved and, if you’re like me, you may shed a tear of happiness for these wonderful men at that point. I highly recommend this one to all lovers of M/M romance, as well as those who enjoy sci-fi futuristic post-apocalyptic adventures generated by an author with a vivid imagination and highly descriptive writing style. You’ll be engaged from the very first chapter. Don’t miss out on this one.
Loved everything about this, great characters and great story telling.
This...is going to be fun.
this. was. awesome :O
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