Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 28th 2016
Genre(s): Historical Americas / Science Fiction
Page Count: 324 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
In the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.
The people here know certain things as fact:
Amorea is the best little town there is.
The only good Commie is a dead Commie.
The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.
And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.
Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.
But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls, and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.
Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves.
This book is what I would classify as a classic mind fuck.
TJ says it himself, “It’s the most romantic thing I’ve written. It’s also the most fucked up. By the end, I will have shattered your heart and put it back together, even though a few of the pieces might be missing.”
It has, to me, an almost Dean Koontzesque feel to it (from the ’80’s and ’90’s when they were still good stories) where you don’t know what’s happening, or why, or where the story is taking you.
Mike has never felt so small, so insignificant at the sight of something.
He has no words.
He stands in his backyard at 133 Sunlight Way and watches starlings above him dance and dance and dance.
It goes on for three minutes. Then four.
And he’s thinking, he’s thinking there’s more to it than this. He’s thinking that if something like this cloud of birds could exist, there has to be more out there. Something bigger. Something greater.
I think this might be one of those stories where you either love it or hate it. I don’t think there will be much middle ground. T.J. Klune has created a world so unlike anything else he’s ever done, while at the same time, writing in a way that is so familiar, that I think some may need some time to really immerse themselves in this. To really get it. And it’s totally worth the effort.
While it’s not a book filled with passion, it is packed with a kind of romance. The kind of romance where one person is your home and you’d do anything, anything, for that person.
This is something to him. This is everything to him. This place. His home. This man. So what if he can’t really ever remember a life outside or before Amorea. It must not have been anything special if it’s so easily forgotten. He doesn’t need it. He has everything he needs right here, right now, and it’s enough. Maybe one day it won’t be, but right now it’s enough.
What Mike feels for Sean is bone, soul, deep.
This isn’t physical; that’s not what Mike wants right now. It’s intimacy, simple and easy, and Mike doesn’t have this with anyone else. He doesn’t want it with anyone else. He knows he’s going to have to explain himself, knows how terrible it’s all going to sound. But he doesn’t want to lose this. These little moments where it’s just Mike and Sean and nothing else matters.
It’s just a ride you have to hold on for, and hope that you’ll make it out the other side intact. Because it’s hard. It’s not easy…but nothing worth having ever really is, is it?
Mike reaches out and touches Sean’s cheek. His heart is very full, and he’s having trouble choosing what words to say. Finally, “I would do it again.”
“All of this. To get here. If I had to, I’d do it all over again.”