Talker’s Redemption

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Title and Link: Talker’s Redemption
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher URL: Dreamspinner
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: novella (92 pages)
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Summary Review: It takes Brian almost dying, before Talker realized that he always had the courage to stand up for the man who loves him.

THE BLURB

Sequel to Talker

Tate Walker’s past is too painful to just disappear, even if his dream boy, Brian Cooper, is there to hold his hand. Brian does his best, but Talker—always good at avoiding his own pain—is having a hard time facing the truth about what happened when he trusted the wrong man at the wrong time.

When that truth resurfaces and lands Brian in the hospital, Talker is forced to make a choice. He can either confront every demon in his fragile, bleeding heart, or he can let Brian take the heat for him, just like he has from the beginning. But even Talker knows you don’t leave your dream boy alone and undefended when he just saved your life, and he’ll have to find the strength to take care of Brian when Brian needs him the most.

THE REVIEW

This is the sequel to Talker, linked here.  When I reviewed this book 4 months ago I was struck by how vulnerable both Tate aka Talker and Brian were and how much they adored each other. The story was tough to read because Tate was so damaged, physically and emotionally, since he was a child. He had lived through hell during his very short life, and young adulthood was no kinder to him. I’m not going to recap the first story since you can read the review if you wish.

I found the first book upsetting because of all the awful things that had happened to Talker, but I decided to read Talker’s Redemption even though the author told me that it was “bad.”  I needed to see how Amy Lane would put the pieces of Talker’s life together, take him out of his miserable existence, and make him whole. Did she achieve these objectives? You be the judge.

This book is much darker than the first one and at times the angst and sorrow were almost unbearable, so if you’re looking for a light read, Talker’s Redemption is not the book  for you.

Since we left Brian and Talker things have not improved emotionally or mentally for Talker. The only constant in his life was Brian and he knew he was loved so this is very much a love story. Tate depended on Brian to protect him from the vagaries of  life as well as those who would do him harm. He’s still emotionally devastated and if at times it seemed as if he was living in his own world it’s because he was. Brian and Talker had been seeing the school psychologist, Dr. Sutherland, for 6 months but Talker’s mental state had improved only marginally since there was a huge stumbling block, what he called The.Worst.Date.Ever. which was actually his rape. He refused to admit that he had been raped, either to himself or Brian or anyone else, because that would make it real, and also he felt that the rape was his fault and he had asked for it by going to Trevor’s place with the intention of losing his virginity. What followed was so painful he cound not talk about it under any circumstances and chose not to remember exactly what had happened that awful night in Trevor’s apartment.

As I said earlier, this story is even darker than the previous one because in Talker’s Redemption Tate admits to and recounts the rape, which was very traumatic. Most of the time he lives in his head in his own world where no one can hurt him, and his mind is not the most stable place. His only escape from his thoughts was the music he played all the time on his iPod which soothed his confusion and hurt and helped to take away some of the memories, not just of the rape but of all the hurts he suffered in his very short life. His burns which he tried to hide by tats all over his body were a painful reminder of an episode from his childhood that almost killed him, and in this book all of Tate’s anguish seemed to be coming together into one big hurt. I can’t remember reading recently about a protagonist who was as damaged as Tate, or a partner who was more supportive and protective than Brian, to the point that he was willing to give his life for Tate. Brian felt responsible for Tate’s well being because he was Tate’s protector and anchor. However, what was amazing  in Talker’s Redemption was Tate’s emotional growth, as he evolved into the man he never knew he could be because he was the only person who could protect Brian from further harm.  Tate showed what he was made of even though it was the most difficult thing he had done in his life - he found the grit and heart when it was most needed, for Brian the man he loved.

This was a tough story to read because of what happened to Brian, the recounting of the rape, as well as Tate’s visceral reaction to the beating. If you don’t have a strong stomach these books may not be easy for you to handle because they are far from a walk in the park. The scene in Talker’s Redemption where Brain was viciously beaten and almost killed by three goons, in revenge for him protecting Tate, was tough to read and I have to admit that I skipped over some of it because I found it unbearable.

The supporting characters were well drawn, as are all of Amy Lane’s ‘people,’ and the one who I have to take my hat off to is Brian’s Aunt Lyndie who was outstanding and stood up to just about everyone, even the police, to protect Tate and Brian. You go, Aunt Lyndie. :) Dr. Sutherland was also three dimensional and he came through for Tate when he most needed him; even good cop, Officer Melville and bad cop, Officer Jeffries were well drawn. I also liked Jed, the bouncer in the bar where Tate worked, who did his best to protect them.

Even though Brian and Tate are a couple and love each other I can’t really say that this story is a romance because it’s almost entirely about Tate’s fragile emotional health, Brian’s severe beating, and the repercussions from that beating. The angst at times was so overwhelming that I had to put the book down and take a break occasionally, even though it was pretty short at 92 pages, and so well written. There were a couple of humorous moments, one about Brian’s and Talker’s pet rat at the end that will have you convulsing with laughter and I really needed that. Also, at last Brian and Tate had what Brian called “orificial” sex :) and it was lovely as well as hot.

I highly recommend Talker’s Redemption, but only if your heart can take it. Tate’s recounting of his rape might be upsetting to some readers.

Talker’s Redemption is not a standalone story.

48 thoughts on “Talker’s Redemption

  1. Val Kovalin

    Great review, Wave. This doesn’t sound like an easy book to summarize and do justice to in a review, and you did a terrific job getting across the angst and this part here,

    I can’t really say that this story is a romance because it’s almost entirely about Tate’s fragile emotional health, Brian’s severe beating, and the repercussions from that beating

    so the readers have the info they need to buy the book or not and appreciate it on its own terms. This part here,

    Tate’s emotional growth, as he evolved into the man he never knew he could be because he was the only person who could protect Brian from further harm.

    makes me think all the angst and pain would be worth it for the character development (and I’ve never been a fan of angst). Angst with no character development has got to be the worst waste of time, but it sounds like Tate transforms.

    I haven’t read this yet. In fact, I just barely read the first one Talker two days ago (I’m so behind with my towering TBR pile), but I was impressed by that and I’m planning to read this. Thanks again! :)

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Val
      It wasn’t easy to write this review. I finished the book at 3.00 A.M. and composed the review a couple of hours later.

      The part about Tate’s emotional growth was what impressed me the most when you strip everything away from the story. As you know I don’t do angst and this book was extreme, almost off the scale. As a reader I find these books difficult so I can imagine that the writers must have an even more difficult task.

      I tried to be fair about how to classify this book. IMO it definitely was not a “romance” since Brian was in hospital most of the story and Tate was in his own world, and there was a lot going on around them. Clearly they loved each other but this story was about Tate’s emotional growth.

  2. kkm

    i love your review, wave, but i’d add that i think it is a bit more of a romance. there’s a lot of pain in brian’s life as well that is soothed by his care for talker. but this story deeply is about the redemptive power of love, and the power a strong commitment can wield in a relationship to restore a (loving) equality.
    -kkm

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi KKM
      I guess I didn’t feel that this story was a romance because although they loved each other, it was other circumstances such as Brian almost dying that made Tate realize how much he meant to him.

      It’s a tough call and I’m sure someone else reviewing this book would have an entirely different perspective. For me, this story was about how Talker evolved and grew when he realized that he had to stand up for Brian because he knew that without him Brian could be in deep trouble with the Police. Maybe I’m not enough of a romantic. lol. For me there’s a difference between a love story and a romance and this was the former IMO.

  3. kkm

    :0) too true. and i wonder how people define romance, you know? i think i’m too much of a romantic – even at my age and experience! :0)
    -kkm

  4. Dianne T.

    Wonderful review Wave, thanks. I’ve been looking forward to this one however…..it’s gonna get put aside for a bit because I’m just finishing “A Red Tainted Silence” (those of you who have read that will know why I’m going to be looking for a “lighter” read next!). Subjects like abuse, rape etc are never easy to read, but it sounds as if Amy Lane has crafted a very moving story about love and strength and the ability to overcome.

  5. Aquina

    I wouldn’t call it a romance but I would call it a story of love since the core of this book is Talker’s love for Brian and the power that love gives to Talker to overcome his worst nightmares.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Aquina
      As I said in response to KKM, I think this is a love story but not a romance. This is a really tough book to call a romance but other reviewers and readers may have different opinions.

  6. amy lane

    *g* I’m not a fan of labels anyway– I’m just glad Wave liked it! Seriously, Wave–I know how much you liked the first one, I’m just glad this one measured up. Thank you for the review!

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Amy
      You were right. It was ‘bad.’ :( I’m glad that Tate and Brian can now go off into wherever lovers go for their HEA. This was a really tough book to read all in one go which I did last night.

      I love Aunty Lyndie who I think just about stole the show. As for that rat – what a sense of humour you have Amy. lol. Also, I now have a new word ‘orificial’ sex. :)

      I think I explained why I thought this was a love story as opposed to a “romance” – at least I hope so, but others I’m sure will disagree.

      Can I have a nice light and funny book for your next one Amy. PLEASE.

      1. amy lane

        *g* My next purely m/m is called “I love you, Asshole!” It’s got some sad parts–it’s set in the LG world, so we get to see Adrian die. Again.–but Marcus and Phillip are, well, they’re sort of a pair. Not light, but not anywhere NEAR this one! I’ve got another romantic comedy rolling around in my noggin, though… never fear:-)

  7. AliG

    This book broke my heart into teeny tiny little pieces. I read it two nights ago and was sobbing over my laptop at 1am. I loved it on so many levels.

  8. Lily

    I loved Talker so I’m glad to see this one was a 5star. If you loved it I know I will also. I’m looking forward to reading it. Great review, Wave! :)

  9. ElaineG

    Thanks for such an in-depth review Wave! I bought the book as soon as it came out, but have been scared sh*t-less to read it. I know Amy has a way of reaching into her characters souls, sometimes tearing MINE out in the process. I really am looking forward to reading Talker’s Redemption, partly because of your review, and honestly partly because it’s AMY LANE :)

    So, now, all I have to do is get the courage to actually open the file and start reading…and damned if I didn’t give up caffeine on the first, so what the hell crutch am I gonna use to get through this? ;)

  10. Cosmonaut

    Hi Wave. I’m skipping the review for now because I haven’t had a chance to read TR yet. Loved, loved the first one(and all of Amy’s others)and can’t wait to get time to read this one. I’ll come back after I’ve finished it and compare my thoughts to the review.

    1. Wave Post author

      No problem Cosmonaut. I’ll look forward to your take on TR after you have read it. Tough book – to read AND review.

  11. Cole

    Whew. I’m glad that I don’t have to read these back to back, because it took me about a month after reading the first book that I was able to read anything remotely angsty again. I will definitely be reading this one, but not now. I need to save it for a time when I’m in the mood.

    1. Wave Post author

      I had to be the one to review TR because I had reviewed Talker. I was looking forward to it until Amy told me that it was “bad,” and she wouldn’t elaborate. Let’s just say that one scene in particular will keep me awake nights. :(

      This is an extremely well written book with wonderful characters – I just wish that Brian didn’t have to suffer so much for Talker to become a man.

  12. nolagal

    I re-read Talker then devoured this book. It was beautiful and real in a way that few authors manage. I think that it is a tough read in a way but the strength of the characters, especially Talker, makes it uplifting and heartwarming. I loved seeing him learn to accept kindness from people other than Brian and how hard he pushed himself.

    Your review does this wonderful sequel justice.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi nolagal

      Thank you.

      I admire Amy for writing such wonderful characters. Talker broke my heart again as he tried to be a man and do the right thing for Brian. How great to see him accept responsibility and be responsive to others.

      Talker’s development and growth were incredible in such a short period of time, and was a part of his growing up.

  13. Eden Winters

    I’ve had quite a few people tell me “You gotta read Talker!” Now they are saying “You gotta read Talker’s Redemption!” I’m starting to agree. Thanks for the warning of what I’ll find, but I’m thinking it’ll be worth any tears I may shed.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Eden
      As a writer you will appreciate Amy Lane’s writing and characterizations in both books. Neither is your typical M/M romance but perhaps that’s what makes the stories unique.

  14. Patty

    Hmmm. I’m still not sure about this one. I’ve been avoiding Talker because I’m such a wimp. Maybe some day. I’m still on my easy-reading romances with HEAs mode. Maybe I need the warm fuzzies because it’s so cold here right now! ;)

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Patty
      No warm and fuzzies here unless you count the endings, but the books are definitely worthwhile. This is not a “comfort” read but I think if you do get the stories you will love the characters. I hope you do.

  15. Duhaunt

    Wave- great review for this book, I have looked at it many times trying to decide if I want to read it :) Loved the first book-although was difficult to read about Talkers abuse- reminds me of being at work- I like to read to relax, don’t think this is the book for that- as you said- but since reading your review I am seriously considering taking “the plunge” sounds like will be well worth the tears.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Duhaunt
      I won’t kid you, this was a difficult book for me because I don’t like angst and Talker’s Redemption has that for at least 3 – 4 books. However, if you loved Talker then I would recommend you read about his redemption, if only to see Tate aka Talker come into his own. That alone is worth all the tears.

      If you do read Talker’s Redemption please come back and tell us what you think and whether the review was on the money.

  16. Raine

    I just finished ‘Talker’ last night; am taking deep, deep breath and going on to ‘Talker’s redemption now. This is just not right as I don’t like novellas and am so squeamish about angst! That Amy Lane has a lot to answer to.

    1. Wave Post author

      Raine

      This is just not right as I don’t like novellas and am so squeamish about angst! That Amy Lane has a lot to answer to.

      I know.

      If you’re reading the books back to back you might want to have a couple of drinks handy because TR is even rougher than Talker. Good luck. :(

      When you’re finished come back and let me know whether you thought I captured the essence of both books, (or not).

      1. Raine

        Hi Wave, forgot to reply to this! I think your review was very true. I am pleased I read them back to back for intensity . The quality of the writing carried me past a lot of the pain. I do wish there had been longer to go aaaah after all that ouch in Redemption. I guess I just always want more happy.

        1. Wave Post author

          Hi Raine
          You’re a brave woman. lol. I couldn’t read both books back to back although they were so well written. Angst is not my favourite flavour and there was enough in these two books for eight. :)

  17. Josephine Myles

    I always have this idea that I’m not all that into angst, then I read a story like “Talker” and I love it. I guess what I need to know is that there will be some kind of positivity coming out of all the suffering, so it doesn’t feel pointless or that the author is making me wallow in it out of some sadistic desire to make her readers miserable ;D

    I know Amy wouldn’t do that, so I’m really looking forward to reading this one, despite the angst warning!

    1. Wave Post author

      Jo

      I guess what I need to know is that there will be some kind of positivity coming out of all the suffering, so it doesn’t feel pointless or that the author is making me wallow in it out of some sadistic desire to make her readers miserable ;D

      I think Amy is sadistic, in fact, I’m convinced of it. lol. She’s already killed off one protagonist in another series – lucky for me it wasn’t one that I followed. ;-) Talker’s Redemption does have a good outcome, and there’s a HEA, but the road to it is, as Amy herself put it, “bad.” :( This is an angst fest so gird your loins and have a drink handy. :)

  18. amy lane

    Josephine, don’t listen to her–I am NOT sadistic–I’m masochistic. I write the stuff that makes ME cry… (Wave, stop SAYING that… I’m a nice person. Really! Swear!)

    Raine… I’m sorry… I’m frequently told that I bend the order of things all about. I guess this is proof! I hope you enjoy the second story!

    1. Wave Post author

      Sure Amy, that’s what you say now but what about all those fans of LG who are looking for you with pitchforks??

  19. Pender

    I loved Talker and didn’t find the angst too much to handle but TR sounds pretty tough. I do want to read this but I’m pretty squeamish. I’ll have to think about it.

    1. Wave Post author

      Actually the beginning is the worst so race through it and the rest, except for the recounting of the rape, is almost bearable. Does that help? Or does that make it seem more real? lol. I have been advising everyone to take lots and lots of liquor but Amy thinks I’m scaring them away which is not my intention. She feels her readers are made of hardy stuff, like your great, great, great grandparents. Think good thoughts, that should help. :)

      1. Pender

        Okay. I’ll give it a shot because I love Amy’s work. I’ll wait for a bright sunny afternoon and it won’t be so bad. :) I’ll let you know how I get on.

        1. amy lane

          Enjoy, sweetheart! (The story is set in December, so a bright sunny day might be a nice idea! It was 70 degrees here today… I was stunned!)

  20. hannahva

    I have to give it to Amy Lane, she knows how to put a story together. The cover of this book compares with the angst of the story related. What I did not expect was Talker’s vulnerability. It was good to see him acknowledge and move towards overcoming the events of his childhood and rape.

    1. Wave Post author

      I read her books because she’s an excellent writer and TR demonstrates how good she is. However if I re-read Talker’s Redemption there area few parts I’ll skip over because they were tough to read the first time.

  21. Dianne T.

    Amy sure takes on some very difficult subject matter in a brilliant and skillful manner. Tough a read as this was in places, I loved it due to her writing and also the evolution shown by Talker in dealing with all the trauma in his life. Having Talker remembering the therapy sessions while dealing with the present circumstances in the story was a technique that really worked for me. I must say I did appreciate the rat balls humor as well ;-)

    1. Wave Post author

      Dianne
      I’m very happy you enjoyed TR.

      I wonder if Amy can write a completely different book such as a romantic comedy with no drama which would be a stretch and totally outside of her comfort zone? That I can’t wait to see. :)

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