Review: Resurrection by S. Davidson

His war has just begun.

James (Jamie) Massey has been raised in a strict military household and grew up with the sole purpose of becoming a soldier. He never imagined the heartache his choices in love and war would weigh on his soul, and when he loses everything, he can’t imagine ever being happy again.
Chris Baker grew up in a small town, raised on the rodeo circuit. When he met Ben, he thought he’d live blissfully every after, but things have a way of not going along as planned. Chris, devastated by his loss, was barely hanging on.
When Jamie and Chris end up in the same small town diner, it can only be credited to divine intervention. But are both men too damaged? They say God works in mysterious ways. Well, he certainly had his hands full when he chose these two for saving.
Is it too late?

Triggers: Deals with PTSD, death, and realistic wartime violence

Sometimes I wish had a future-me traveling to the past in order to slap me on the back of the neck and tell me: “Keep reading this one, you moron!”

You know, for matters of life or death.

Because I was more than ready to DNF this one and I can’t believe I was so close to let this beauty pass me by.

Future-me would never have forgiven me for it.

So, if I loved this so fucking much, then why did I almost give up?

Good question.

I don’t like to make summaries about the books I read. I prefer to focus on how the book inspired me, on the emotions they awake in me. So, I will try not to make an exception here, but I also have to answer the question above.

Just fair warning: the book is divided in three parts, each story clearly different from each other, so in truth, it’s as if we have three stories here. The final one being my favorite.

By a long shot.

The first part felt more like narrative than a romance. And that confused and annoyed me to no end. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I was looking forward to finishing it so I could get into the “meat” of the story. I’m an impatient reader, so I was getting more and more restless when I saw there was no end to an apparently mindless display of events happening around Jamie. This was the part that was truly challenging for me, as it took a great effort for me to overcome it.

The second part was the one that awoke my curiosity. The one that waved at my face and encouraged me to begin enjoying the novel.

And then the third part was the beauty. Good things come for those who wait. However, to be honest, I’d have liked for those good things to come much earlier. It’s a long book, so it’s not as if I felt the romance was short or rushed. In fact, it’s a sweet slow burning and I could hear the pieces in my head all coming together to form a magical picture. This was the story that slapped me in the face and made me sigh all the wows in the universe, to the moon and back. To the moon and back. And again. And again.

I have to mention the version I received needs lots of editing, not only in typos but the flowery vocabulary distracted me several times. This all made me re-read certain paragraphs several times or look at the ceiling for a while, because it all sounded too wrong or too sappy to my ears. I hope this will be corrected in the final version.

To sum it up, the book is not perfect.

At all.

But you know what?

It was worth it.

There is no way to deny it.

Part 1. Jamie’s life (0-30%)

This one was the story I had more trouble with. Jamie comes from a “dynasty” of military men. He’s grown under his father’s hard discipline and he’s always known he’d be prepared to be a soldier. In such a suffocating environment, he’s not exactly eager to confess he’s gay. So going to university and having an open relationship with his roommate, Derrick, and his best friend, Shannon, is exhilarating. I’m not fond of M/M/F, but Jamie clearly doesn’t consider this situation anything serious. Unlike Derrick, who indeed falls in love with Jamie and follows him everywhere around the country when his training begins.

Here I was terribly frustrated with Jamie. It’s obvious Derrick comes second, as his goal is to become Special Forces and then be part of the Delta. I was growing so upset with Jamie’s lack of commitment, I couldn’t wait for the moment for them to break up once and for all. Derrick is devoted to Jamie, supporting him no matter what, but I found Jamie detached and not invested in them. It’s not that he doesn’t feel any affection towards Derrick, but I always believed Derrick deserved much more than a guy who doesn’t hide the fact he thinks what they have is casual, even after years and years together.

I couldn’t bring myself to like Jamie. He doesn’t give me enough reasons to love him. I got to know a man who takes a long time to acknowledge his own emotions. He’s not quite really invested in the relationship until much later into the story, and when that finally happens, the ending comes violently. Destiny steals his future and happiness from him in the cruelest of ways.

Part 2. Chris’s life (30-47%)

This was the one that made me focus on this book and change my mind about it all. Here is when I really realized I liked this book, that I had to keep reading.

Chris has grown up in a ranch with loving parents who have always supported him. He’s famous in the local scene, as a successful bull rider. His addiction to this daily dose of adrenaline doesn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams of being an architect, so he moves to New York in order to follow his own path. And that’s where he meets Ben.

Seriously, Chris and Ben are so cute together! Their story is adorable, they are so good for each other I was really anxious at the prospect of a closure. It eventually comes, and it’s indeed a painful goodbye, for them, but for me too. I seriously didn’t want it to end. In fact, I just couldn’t stand the thought of an end. When I finished it I admit I was left with such a huge feeling of impotence, I got a little angry at the world.

Part 3. Jamie and Chris together (47-100%)

This was the part that clearly made it for me.

This is the part that slapped me in the face and shouted at me for ever thinking this book was a real mistake. Oh, there was a big mistake indeed, which was that stupid belief that I wouldn’t be moved by this.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I learnt it’s impossible not to love Jamie. I learnt I wanted Jamie to be with Chris ASAP and never be apart more than a few minutes, or none at all. I learnt they are perfect for each other. I learnt my face could smile forever and then my heart would be filled with utter happiness or consuming angst. I learnt their chemistry is intoxicating. I learnt soul mates exists for real.

I wanted more of them together, because when they have sex, when they talk, when they kiss each other, when they save each other in their lowest moments, it made perfectly sense to me. There is no way around it, suddenly everything made sense, every obstacle on the road, every scar in their soul and body, everything… made sense to me. Just like that.

When they meet, they are both broken, and they recognize each other’s longings and their desire to fulfill the empty space left inside themselves by fulfilling each other’s. They instantly find what they are looking for. It’s not the end of the road, but the beginning.

I can’t exactly explain how but suddenly I just knew they were exactly what the other one needed. I saw that, ever since they lay their eyes upon each other, there would be no coming back.

It’s not that their story is a bed of roses and glitter everywhere. It’s not a fairy tale of prince meets prince, and HEA in their cute pink castle with a sugary moat around.

In fact, they both have issues and they are not easy to deal with. Jamie’s baggage is more evident, as he has never got to cope with PTSD and TBI and that sense of guilt that he survived when too many good men, mates, friends, brothers, didn’t. He loses his temper at the most unexpected moments, or physical or phantom pain takes over and refuses to leave, or memory seems like a far away concept. Depression and surrender dominates and clouds his understanding. He is flooded with such fear and panic, he believes there is no way out, no light in the world. The prospect of drugs and alcohol makes the only sense to him. He is crawling, trying to take one step after the other, but even that seems pointless. Why should he fight and go on with life, when everything is fucked up in his head.

Until Chris.

Chris, on the other side, has survived his husband after almost 20 years together. He doesn’t remember the last time he felt alive. He’s also crawling. He’s mentally stable in comparison to Jamie, but his lonely and grey existence is far from being the one he really deserves. This selfless man deserves to love and to be loved in return.

And when that handsome stranger comes to town, something deep inside him knows he would never feel lost again.

When the fire sparkles, all I could ever think about was taking this pure emotion in my hands and wrap it carefully in order to hide it under lock and key, so not to let it be lost in the wind. The best kind of love is this one. The one that makes you feel like your feet aren’t touching the floor. The one that makes you keep your faith in life and love.

No, this book was not perfect, but in some ways, it was.

You know?


Explanation of the rating: If I had to rate each part individually, it would be like this:

Part 1: 2 stars (being generous)
Part 2: 3 stars
Part 3: 4.5 stars

Part 3 is the important one for me, the part that will stay in my memory if I ever think about this book. If I ever decided to re-read this book, I would only read part 3.

Although I’d like to give more, part 1 was too long and discouraging for my taste. So, overall, I’ve decided 3.5 stars is a proper general rating.

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