Ravages

Title: Ravages
Author: R.A. Padmos
Cover artist: n/a
Publisher: Manifold Press
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Buy link: Amazon.com
Length: 98500 words/320 pages
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Sirius

Summary: While the story starts with horrific violence, it is also one of the most romantic books I have ever read.

Blurb:

Steve Gavan and Daniël Borghart are professional soccer players for Kinbridge Town – and also secret lovers. All that changes, however, when Steve innocently wanders into a city park and falls victim to a vicious gang of queer-bashers who beat him within an inch of his life. After that there are no secrets any more – and it’s a very long road back, for both of them, from there…

Review:

Okay, first and foremost a warning — and I cannot stress it strongly enough — even though the blurb says it, the description of the hate crime, the beating that Steve suffers from is graphic and detailed, and very VERY painful to read. If this is triggering for you, STAY AWAY.

If however you can stomach several pages of violent horror, you will be amply rewarded by the whole book if you love pure beauty of romance. The story is basically Steve’s recovery from what was done to him as well as Steve and Dan realising what they truly meant to each other and adjusting and finding that they do want to spend the life together.

I also want to stress very strongly that the book is first and foremost a romance. If you prefer your books more plotty with the romance as secondary storyline, this will not be for you. I was actually a little surprised that I loved it so very much. Usually I want more plot in my books rather than concentrating mostly on the relationship, but once in a while a book like this one comes along and I just want to sigh happily and rejoice at the triumph of fighting human spirit and be glad that our heroes found each other.

One of the reasons I purchased this book was because I love football. No, not American football, the real one. 😉 That game Americans call soccer and what I grew up watching and loving and cheering up my home team on. It is by far my favorite sport in the whole world to watch, so I was wondering how much of the sport will be depicted on the pages of the book. I have to say not much. There is some of the atmosphere of professional football, but it is mostly in connection with Steve and Dan’s situation and how it unfolds. We get to see their love for the sport, the reactions of their teammates and true friendship between many of them, but there are no games which are described in great detail.

I loved watching how what happened to Steve forced these two to see what their real priorities were, and how Dan fought to help Steve to come back from the dead. Even if Steve’s body would never be one of a fit, healthy man because of the horrors they lived through, they have and support each other, and Dan being there made all the difference in the world. I enjoyed reading about their doubts and their fears and how their love kept winning over those doubts and fears, and how they achieved their happily ever after. It is a very hard earned happy ending, but it is truly happy.

The tension, the conflict in this book is for the guys to stay together, not to come back together after being driven apart. No, Steve has to come to terms that no matter how much damage and pain he suffered, Dan still wants him and loves him and does not want anybody else instead of him. Dan has to come to terms with how much their circumstances changed after Steve’s beating, and that despite his love, there is a long road to travel for Steve — and for Dan if he wants to be with Steve.

I keep wondering as I type this review whether this book could be considered too melodramatic and personally I just do not see it, although I am sure other readers may think that way. I am not sure what saved it for me from becoming too melodrama. Maybe because the writer did not keep throwing horror after horror on the guys and let them deal with the consequences of Steve’s trauma (which was severe in itself of course) and how it influenced their love. Maybe because she did not go for the tried and true “lets break them up” plot device, but instead let them dealt with their doubts and insecurities together? Maybe because the writing was itself so, so beautiful, and beautiful writing can save a lot for me. Maybe it was all the above. Let me give you a taste of the dialogue and I think it may help you decide whether dialogue itself is too melodramatic for you or not.

“One day, you will lie in my arms again and you will say my name. You have taught me that I’m much more patient that I ever thought. I guess you have taught me how to stop looking at the clock”

Very highly recommended.

22 comments

  • Thank you for the review 🙂

    Ravages sounds like an amazing story to me, and I really want to read it. Do you know, is there any other way I can get it besides in e-book form?

    Reply
    • Hey Lasha, thank you :). Maybe because it is almost midnight and my brain is not working properly I am not sure I understand what do you mean by “is there non-con in the bashing”? The beating was not consensual, I am pretty sure Steve would have rather avoided it? Sorry, consider it ESL mental block lol, could you please clarify?

      Reply
  • I have never been able to watch a “football” game from beginning to end, not matter which sport you are talking about. I fall asleep at live games. All that running back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and forth… However, I do enjoy a good story, esp if it is character driven and this book sounds like it would deliver on that count. This goes on my wish list! OH! And this silliness of people saying “no, this is the real football” and “No, THIS is the real football…” Isn’t there room on this big wonderful planet of ours for two kinds of football? *wink*

    Reply
    • Nope ;), football is the game where the the ball is touched by foot. I hope it is clear that I was joking and am joking 🙂 There is not much of games description in the book, it is definitely a character driven story, I hope you will like it if you will end up getting it. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  • Oh-yeah! This is my kind of book! I need a break from all the stories about new couples. You know, boy-meets-the-boy… the end.
    I like the hope generated by watching the couple struggle through life’s droppings. They have to figure out how to be together through it and after it. :kiss: I find this commitment and victory waaaaaay more “romantic” then the passion of first love.

    I wish there were more stories of the triumph of commited relationships (of whatever dynamic) over life’s droppings.

    Thanks for the review I don’t think I would have found this one on my own. 😯

    Reply
    • Oh yes Reggie, I think you described the gist of Ravages perfectly :). As long as the initial scene will not affect you badly I think you will enjoy this book. I hear you about boy meet boy – the end. I have read the stories which were credible for me with that set up, but I also have read so many eye rolling ones that this book was a breath of fresh air for me in that regard.

      Reply
  • Oh this book sounds so good but that’s like Rick Reeds Bashed I couldn’t get pass the part were the guy’s got jumped had it for a couple months but still can’t pick it up

    Reply
  • Sirius
    Thanks for the warning about the terrible beating suffered by Steve. I am SO over authors giving us gore and violence as an excuse for plot. However I will read this book because you rated it so highly. Tell me, is the extreme violence only at the beginning of the book? If that’s the case I can skip it altogether and start further into the book, which would be my preference.

    Great review BTW and like you, I love soccer, and am sorry that there are no games in the book. 🙁

    Reply
    • Heh Wave no pressure eh? You know me I do not care much for violence myself, but in this book for me it worked. There is no violence of any kind anywhere else in the book except in the beginning. I think you can skip it, the only suggestion I would make is be sure to catch a dreamlike (thanks ailing I was struggling to find one word to describe that) moment right where the horror almost ends but not quite. Otherwise you may somewhat loose the emotional impact of the epilogue which in a sense brought the book full circle. Violence in this book is a catalist for significant changes in their relationship so I guess yes it is an important part of the plot, but sure I would not have been dissappointed if it was shorter and less graphic. I am not sure if the book will work for you but please let me know either way. There is one game briefly mentioned but only in regards to Steve watching it if I remember correctly.

      Reply
      • I know that a lot of times the violence makes sense in a weird kind of way, in the context of the stories. However, I think I’ve had my fill of it for a while, especially after reading a couple of books this weekend. There’s only so much I can take before reaching saturation point. I’ll skip much of the first chapter and go directly to GO. 😀

        Reply
        • Oh no, no violence that makes sense would be the wrong expression for this story at least IMO. Violence in this story is absolutely senseless, and motivated only by homophobic fears and thoughts of “people” whom I cannot really call human beings. But everything that happens in the story afterwards happens *because* the violence occurred. Am I making sense? I mean Steve and Dan are in love before that happened, but violence causes them to revaluate so much, grow stronger, closer, etc.

          I definitely understand you not wanting to read about the beating and not trying to convince you to read about it, quite the contrary. I think you would be able to enjoy the story without reading the graphic description of the beating. I could not wait when it will end when I read it and felt as if I was bleeding and dying with Steve. When I will be rereading the story, I will definitely be skipping it, definitely not reread material for me.

          All I am saying that this would have been a different story in my opinion had the author not wrote about the beating. I dont think the story would have suffered though if the beating would have described but at least not as vividly.

          Reply
  • Great review Sirius,
    I loved this book too, and I had tears in my eyes more than once, the end was a real tearjerker.
    The only complaint I had was the way it was written, it took me a while to get used to the style. The beginning especially seemed “dreamlike” to me.

    Reply
    • Thanks aislish, I agree that writing is unusual and I can see how it may take time to get used to, but for me it worked very well. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply

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