The story told in a nutshell:
A new spin on Beauty And The Beast, m/m style! Through life Naef learns to cope with his physical deformities and when all seams grey and bleak a stranger offers a deal. Aerie-Smith needs a companion during one year and the gold he offers Naef means a new life for his mother and sister. Soon Naef finds him on a ship headed towards an island...but not all is what it seems to be.
My first impression after a chapter:
Oh yeah, Amy Lane is one of those author that makes this reader say; "Please, can I have some more?!"
The man who is Naef:
Now this is a character who had so many layers it became an intriguing progress to see him unravel. His personality is dark and twisted but underneath it all hides a caring nature. It is the inner dueling of character facets that drew him to me; his cruelty was his defense, honed to perfection, while his soul cried out for a tender touch. Amy Lane slowly laid him bare for me and made me understand how he came to be. With this kind of characterization she made me yearn in empathy for what his hearts of hearts wanted. To see him battling with himself triggered a range of emotions that can only come from a sincere connection to that character.
The man who is Aerie-Smith:
He is described more than once as a lion-god and that is partly how I perceived him. Aerie-Smith definitely has a lot of lion personality traits. He is fierce, surly at times, innately protective, strong- willed and sensual. He looks at people in a different way and throws Naef out of his comfort zone with that – which was an aspect I loved of course. He gives as good as he gets so at times it was strong mind versus strong mind going at each other. I may not have been in Aerie-Smith's mind but he was very verbal and wasn't all that shy about sharing his thoughts. He added a kind of pizzazz and mystery where I could do nothing but succumb to their story.
The romance blossoming:
Well, that was more a clash of willpower but in such a way that you could feel the undercurrent of attraction electrify the air between them. They could be crude at times to one another but it was an honest kind. It wasn't aimed to hurt but to rather confront, and their verbal duels created firework! In Truth In The Dark it was first and foremost about the personal connection they formed. Later on they answered to their passion which added a deepening layer to their feelings.
The emotional journey:
Can I just say; Awesome! Even though I felt some issues or feelings could've been explored more, Amy Lane really delivered on an emotionally wrought journey. The beauty and the beast theme was handled in a fresh and adult way. The introspective struggles of each character was heart rendering to witness and was told in an honest way. They were both flawed; they felt anger, lashed out, were emotionally hurt but there was also kindness and a hunger for love. Amy Lane allowed the reader to connect to Naef and Aerie-Smith in what they had to go through and she did them justice by making their choices and actions understandable. They grew from each momentum.
The sizzling sexiness:
From their growing attachment the eroticism ignited and gave it a depth and meaning. Do not expect extensive or overly explicit sexual scenes, you will not find it. It was more nuanced yet it never failed to deliver a steamy sensuality. What really worked for me was this wasn't the kind of story where it was instant attraction. No, in Truth In The Dark trust had to grow and a connection deepened before the sizzling sexiness to occur. The combination made those scenes all the more erotic.
The world building element:
There is a fantasy element in this story in the form of Aerie-Smith and his people who are cursed on their island. While this element is done in a minimal way of story detail it created maximum effect where it all came to life. This author didn't over embellish on descriptive details yet explained enough to make it all understandable. It's one of the reasons the story kept its pace and focus on the characterization of Naef and Aerie-Smith.
My synonyms for Truth In The Dark:
Memorable - emotive - acerbic - dark - layered and erotic.
My overall reaction:
This is the kind of m/m story that got me addicted to the genre in the first place! Fantastic chemistry between the m/m pairing, which is partly reflected in animated dialogues and a plot that keeps the attention the entire book. I was instantly drawn to the first person narrative of Naef. I loved the fact that from to moment go this story was very character driven. Just me delving in to the heart, mind and soul of a few key characters. Sometimes it's all I need as a reader!
The quotes for you to sample:
Quote - Neaf and Aerie-Smith
"Knife. But there is still no sin in desiring men..."
"Oh yes. Because being a freak isn't bad enough. Being a perverted freak would get me killed."
"It's not perversion, it's just..."
"Stow it," I muttered, tired of this conversation. " It's not like anyone will ever touch me. Male, female, freak first, pervert second... either way, my pecker's staying in my fist.
There was an uncomfortable silence, and then that cultured, even-toned voice said, "Well, as long as you and your fist are on a first-name basis, I'm sure there's no sin in that, either."
I came, probable loudly, but that's not what I remember. I remember Aerie-Smith's soothing voice, sounding proud and sweet and sexy.
And then I remember crying for real, sobbing, coming unglued in his arms, naked in all the ways from the wonder of his hands on my body and his kindness in my ear.
This night they became holy, because I let him worship me and I gave him my worship in return. Sex was lovely. Sex was sublime. Sex was flesh and cock and suck and fuck and come.
This night, sex was starlight. Sex was oxygen. Sex was us, and we were beautiful and perfect in each other's arms.