Difficult read, but realistically poetic. This first installment in the Special Forces Series is tough but beautiful..

Special Forces - Soldiers (Special Forces, #1)Special Forces - Soldiers by Aleksandr Voinov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For those who haven’t read this golden piece of work: The ebook version of this series is available for free download here: http://www.marquesate.org/special-for.... Aleksandr Voinov creates and co-wrote this amazing story but the books are no longer available on his website.

And now, the longest rambling ever...

A love story that doesn’t know about frontiers, sides or conventionalism. A love story beyond bullets, flags, loyalties and countries. A love story bigger than hate, need and desperation. A love story that fights against the world and against death, knowing that winning is almost an utopia but facing all kind of dangers anyway, because giving up is not an option anymore.

A deep, complex and crude book
complicated to read in my case, because I had to deal with some struggling at the beginning (conflictive and mixed feelings) that stopped me to truly loved the story. But once those obstacles were overtaken, I was up for one hell of a ride. A journey full of greatness but with a lot of ups and downs in a dangerous highway with no visibility, no crash barriers and a huge danger of landslides. Drama queen much? Nope, the beginning was that difficult to me.
A metaphorical journey where I had to sleep in filthy motels, locking myself in from the rejection and confusion one of the MCs (Vadim Krasnorada) provoked inside me. Scary restless nights waiting for better days to come, shiny days that I was told were coming eventually, if I was persistent. Because a good friend told me that at some point in this road trip, there will be a luxury hotel with jacuzzi and massage included. Even with champagne and chocolate-coated strawberries (as you can guess she didn’t tell me all this cheesy shit, that’s all me. She even intentionally omitted the word “shinny” since there’s a lot of brilliance coming from the fabulous writing, and characters development, but that’s all, this is not a light read at all).

So... As I was saying in my mission to bored you to death, I was told that to win this all included 5 stars-plus hotel, I was going to suffer. A lot. And to be honest I was near to give up a couple of times during the first 20%. I was confused looking around for the luxury resort, thinking I surely misunderstood the given directions and took the wrong exit, finding myself lost in a rainy and dark place.

But after that 20% and some detox done (that means no reading in two days) I manage to enter the story again with an open mind and a huge resolution to keep going because I wanted to be a part of the fabulous glimpses I saw here and there, I wanted to know the story, get to know the brutal but fascinating characters in it . And I don’t regret it, not for a second because being honest, I didn’t need to be in Vadim’s rapist skin, not in Dan’s cocky and vengeful boots. I just wanted to read about them, to find out how this ENEMIES TO LOVERS story between a Soviet soldier and a Scottish SAS in Afghanistan in the 80’s was going to develop in something else. Because well, saying that these two started in the wrong way, is the understatement of the year since they meet with one of the MC raping the other.
I don’t think that’s a spoiler since it happens at the very beginning. It’s just something readers need to know (hard limits and all that) but I want to explain something vital here: the non con situation was awful itself BUT (and of course this is my humble opinion) it’s also true that there’s not romanticization of the event. Not near. The abuse brings anger, blood thirst and revenge. The victim becomes the torturer at some point and he makes Vadim pay. Still, horrible but imo the quid pro quo in the brutality was equal, I guess the retaliation and torture vs. a rape was compensated. And here came my problem during the first quarter: was Vadim redeemable? Could I forgive his despicable acts and behavior?
Because it wasn’t about excusing his terrible actions, this was about forgiveness. And I found a way to deal with it and that was doing it through Dan. My beloved Daniel Ewen McFadyen. I decided that I was going to follow his guidance, see through his eyes and feel what he was feeling. Because he was the victim here, not me, and if he was going to forget, forgive and/or trust the Ruskkie, I would do it too.

“Once upon a time he hated that body, smashed it, kicked it, beat it into a bleeding pulp, but now he wanted to crawl into it, or kill it and maim it, to possess it, war, tear, destroy it, to take it and never leave it again. His. The body was his, the man was his. His, his alone!”

This quote defines perfectly the evolution from hate to need (and you have no idea how the step from need to love is... sighs) But wasn’t just Dan (who is no angel either I must add) who made me believe in Captain Vadim Petrovick Krasnorada. It was Vadim himself who got under my skin and made me feel something else. I’m team Dan tho. Even if the Ruskkie is also pure greatness as protagonist.

Well, I guess I made my point clear so I won’t say anything else plot related, leaving a few highlights that describe this fascinating story hopping these notes convince you to come to the dark side or, on the contrary, make you stay in the peaceful light one.

🔪🏳️Brilliance in the characters and relationship development. Deep, complex, crude and hard to read. We are talking about enemies here, nemesis in different sides. Gay soldiers in Afghanistan during the war. Each day can be their last and that is perfectly transmitted. They are who they are and both face reality as it is. No lies, no subterfuges. It was freaking realistic and well done. I’d describe it as Poetic Realism, if such a thing even exist.
🔪🏳️The book is not short, around 600 pages taking place between 1980 and 1989. (it felt a bit longer to me but that’s a very personal appreciation) Nine years in Vadim and Dan’s intense lives. Beautiful to witness cause after the harsh beginning they had, when the feelz came to play they did it to win the game. Completely. The last 30% is to die for. There are amazing quotes in the last third of the book and so many feelings I felt overwhelmed.
🔪🏳️ The sexy times were ridiculously hot and very, very useful since their angry first encounters develop in something else through their sex scenes. That’s not something that usually works for me but in this book fitted perfectly. From amazing angry sex to the feels. Super well done because we get to know them this way, they show us who they are and how they are changing through this encounters. Dan and Vadim bare their souls, leaving YOU naked while they’re discovering each other in a way more deep that the physical one. They feel each other, they get to know each other, they develop an epic love in an hostile environment where living one more day is not granted.

And now, dear friends, dozing (and with reason)I’ll say a goodbye in the cheesy metaphoric way I started, by telling you that I’m glad that I finally took the right exit to the promised land, the cozy hotel I was looking for and with the check-in done, I’m waiting for the elevator to go up to book two: Special Forces - Mercenaries Part I. But tbh, I may need a couple of fluffier books before facing this reality again. Seriously, what the hell is going to happen in 3 more books of 600 pages each?... I don’t know if can manage it since I’m even scared for the elevator to open its doors.

Very recommended read for those who have the guts to face a crude and harsh beginning. The heart warming and the sighing is granted once you get over it. And that’s the main reason why I’m giving it 4 stars instead of the well deserved 5.

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