Author: Cecilia Tan
Publisher: Self Published
Buy Links: Buy Link Amazon;
Genre: Coming of Age
Length: Novel (324 pages)
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Lenalena
Review Summary: These books just get better and better. This one features a massive build up and a nail biting finale.
Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, the ongoing tale of coming out and coming of age in the 1980s, continues in volume five, compiling more chapters of the popular online serial into the next ebook. The pressure cooker that is the tour bus has been affecting everyone, but will it ultimately fuse the band together or crack them apart? The final leg of the Moondog Three 1989 tour approaches, with Toronto, the Midwest, and New York City still to come. Daron and Ziggy have learned a lot about each other, and about what it takes to stay sane on the road… but have the lessons come too late?
If you’ve missed it, I have reviewed Daron’s Guitar Chronicles Vol 1 – 4 right here and if you haven’t actually read any of the books you may want to read that review first, just so you know what I am going to be talking about.
So remember when I said in that review that this isn’t a Romance and you shouldn’t read it that way? I take it back. Well, not entirely, but still. I am going to do my best to have that make sense in a minute, but I am still a little high on this book, so cut me a little slack. It is still not a Romance in the sense that in no way, shape or form does this book, or rather series, resemble the standard Romances that we predominantly review on this site. You know: boy meets boy, toss in some tropes and kinks and adversity, dial the angst-o-meter up for tears or down for fluff and voilà: HEA. Awesome stuff that, or at least it can be when it’s done well, but that is not what this is. We’re in Volume 5 and no resolution is in sight. I’m gonna give it a wild guess and say it’ll be another 3 or 4 volumes or so before that is even an option. But these books are just getting better and better, so really, that is nothing to cry about (okay, maybe a little because I hate waiting). There are so many series out there that should have stopped after a couple of books, that I love I have this one to add to the exceptions.
In scope and overarching plot line the only things I can compare this too is The Administration series and In the Company of Shadows, two dystopian scifi series that are totally different than this (but also happen to get better as they go along). What it has in common with the latter is the fact that the main characters feel so real you almost start wondering why your BFF hasn’t called you lately. What it has in common with the Administration is that the driving story line is not necessarily the one that is being told on the page, but it is the nagging question of ‘are these two people ever going to be able to fit their jagged edges together?’ that seems to be on eternal replay in the background. Also like that series, the writing is so skilful that as much is told in the things that aren’t said as there is in the things that are. Like the pauses between the notes that are as important to the music being played as the notes themselves. In comparison to this most cookie cutter romances are like playing ‘Smoke on the Water’ on a toy xylophone. One handed.
So the reason that I possibly changed my mind and might consider this a romance after all is because, in contrast to the previous books where Daron’s internal struggles dominated the narration, in this one his feelings for Ziggy are way more palpable. Not that Daron is aware of this for most of the story, but we know him so well by now that we can read him like a book (Hah! Pun!) and as I mentioned, so much of significance is told through his actions rather than his thoughts, through his omissions and even by him choosing to change the subject or not. You know it, I know it, the entire band knows it, Daron’s boyfriend knows it. The only one who is still in doubt may be Ziggy, but that is probably because, barely noticeable between the lines, he is busy self-destructing.[spoiler name=”spoiler”]“You know what I like best about these painkillers?”
“They kill the pain?”
“They make me feel… beautiful.”
You are beautiful, I wanted to tell him. You are the most gorgeous creature who ever crawled out of the black pit of despair. But I felt weird saying that with Ray standing right there in the wings and Chris looking down on us from the drum riser.[/spoiler]
After all the buildup, when Daron finally realizes he is in love “Stupid, overwhelming, someone-is-stitching-their-name-into-the-flesh-of-my-heart-with-a-rusted-needle painful, love.” it is gut-wrenching. Like forgetting to breathe type of intense. Of course his timing couldn’t be worse…..
And then the book ends with everything in limbo. Thank God! And if you are low on money, you can read this and the previous four for free there. Or send Cecilia Tan any amount of donation through the website and she’ll send you the books in return. (Don’t forget to order the bonus stories that contain the actual sex. )
So on the one hand I want to hand Ms Tan a xylophone and tell her to do some hand wavey things and ploink out my effing HEA already, on the other hand I want her to take all the time in the world to tell this fascinating, complicated story like it should be told and have it never, ever end.