Dana reviews Defenseless by AJ Rose (Published by The Grim Writer Press, September 13, 2016, 438 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this: I am a big fan of AJ Rose. When we were offered a review copy of Defenseless I immediately jumped to review it and from the blurb thought it was perfect for Angst week.
Blurb: Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.
But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.
While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.
With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.
I mentioned that I am a fan of this author and I am always floored by the different stories and worlds that AJ Rose creates. I have read her BDSM detective/mystery series and her grim reaper series. The books I’ve read were moved along by the characters actions. For the most part, they had control of what happened in the books. In Defenseless the characters experience big moments of having no control and it is what shapes the story told here.
Defenseless is a long read, but it is so detailed, so intense that I could not put the book down. In the beginning, there is a sense of hope. Kyle and Jesse move in together. Kyle comes out with pretty positive results. The icing on the cake is the Supreme Court ruling giving the LGBT community marriage equality. It only takes one moment to turn Kyle and Jesse’s fairy tale romance on it’s ear. As the characters suffer a horrible attack, I was brought on an emotional journey with them. I could feel their fear, then their frustration. and eventually their hope and relief.
What happened to these men in that moment and the aftermath is the main story, but I feel like the author did so much to enlighten anyone that might not know that much about the LGBT community. There is a lot of discussion of bisexuality and what it means – i.e. bisexuals are not just afraid to say they are gay and aren’t promiscuous and incapable of monogamy. There is a transgender character whose story broke my heart. Also the difference of accepting LGBT people and rights and actually supporting them is explored.
Even though the story is lengthy, I never experienced a moment of boredom. There was angst from the attack and from Jesse and Kyle having trouble communicating and trusting after the attack. My heart broke several times over. They were so perfect for each other, but injury and fear turned them both inside out until they didn’t know who each other were anymore, or even who they were. Once the trial started, the book was so detailed, I could have been watching Law & Order. It might even be closer to real life than the tv show.
In the end I felt like I took away so many experiences from this story. I lived through them with the characters. Though I was put through the wringer, the ending of this story couldn’t be more perfect. I admit that I am pretty easy to please when it comes to books. I just love reading that much, but Defenseless is one of the most amazing, sad, and enjoyable stories I’ve read in a long time. I wholly recommend it, it is so worth the time it takes to read it, and any angst you might feel while reading it.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – compares to 5/5 stars
It began with a Halloween themed short story assignment from a second grade teacher, and from then on, AJ Rose fell head over heels in love with writing. Time has seen the beginning and end of many things, college and graduation, a finance career, and a marriage, and through it all, writing has been her first love. Now, AJ is also head over heels for her wife-to-be, fellow author Kate Aaron, who gets it, the twitchy fingers when word counts are low too many consecutive days, the thousand-yard stare when an idea turns AJ’s vision inward, and the jitters when the word-babies go out to meet the world. Nothing could stop the tall tales about imaginary people that refused to be ignored. With a life full of this much passion, it’s no wonder AJ chose romance. The voices in her head are mostly of the male persuasion, so m/m romance was about the only option. But don’t be surprised if the occasional ghost still pops up. AJ’s work can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance eBooks. AJ tweets as @_AJRose and blogs at http://ajrosewrites.wordpress.com, where there is more information about future titles.