A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A somewhat overdone and implausible story of one man’s fight to escape torture of an abusive father and allow himself to love.
Blurb: I’m a monster, but with one kiss, he changes everything I believe. I’m a monster and I’m imprisoned in a world I hate and fear. As heir to my father’s title, I’m expected to marry, but my secret desires may keep me from fulfilling those expectations. One night, a stranger kisses me. In his touch, I see the possibility of a life beyond my prison. My name? Just call me Angel and this is my evolution.
Review: Sigh. Read the first two lines of the blurb again please. Now read it again. And again. And one more time. That is the first third of this novel–just that-over and over again. Hearing the self-loathing, seeing the blond god across a crowded victorian ball room floor, running away. For pages and pages, while in tiny, fleeting snippets also telling us of his horrible torture at the hands of a hateful, bigoted father.
Now, if that could have been one chapter and then the eventual rescue, of sorts, of Robert–henceforth known as “Angel” by his uncle and the “blond god”, Greyson, had been the remainder, then Angel’s Evolution by T. A. Chase would have received a very different review than the one I am about to deliver.
First let me begin by acknowledging that this story was formerly published in 2007 under the same title. I am not aware of any changes or additions to that manuscript, however it may be that there was indeed editing or adding done.
The story centers on Lord Robert, (Angel), who has from a very young age been attracted to boys. Upon discovering that his son has leanings that “way” his father begins a systematic torture regime which included chaining him to the floor, whipping and beating him until he was bloodied and bruised. All the while getting him to “confess” his “perversion” and remind him that he is not anything but a “monster.”
“To me his is a god and as such, is as out of reach as God to a fallen angel. He is perfection. I am a monster.”
The “god” he is speaking of is Lord Greyson. Greyson has been married and has two sons, however, his wife has died, leaving him free to pursue what has always been his choice–other men. His station (close the the Crown and confidant of royalty), allows him to take on lovers discreetly. He turns out to be Angel’s rescuer after Angel becomes ill and passes out at a ball.
Greyson is friends with Angel’s only other ally, his Uncle. Unfortunately, his uncle has stood by for the last 13 years and turned a blind eye to the torture and degradation of his nephew–but I will get to my thoughts on that in a moment. Meanwhile in the story, Greyson takes Angel under his protection and begins to help him find that he is not a monster but someone to be cherished and prized by another.
How I wish in the re-publication of this book, some serious editing had been done to the first third to half of this story. The plot itself is good, there is an element of mystery surrounding Greyson’s influence on the “home office”–which is how the Crown and head of state is referred to in the novel, that I enjoyed. The sex..well, it was hot–a bit frequent–but hot nonetheless.
However, the plausibility of taking a boy who had been beaten since the age of 10—13 years—and having him miraculously transform into someone who has the gumption to argue with his rescuer–the man he worships and loves, by the end of the novel? No, that is definitely where T.A. Chase lost this reader.
The author had spent to much time setting up this reclusive, mere shadow of a man that to see Angel transform so quickly into a sensual, strong character defied logic. It was simply unbelievable. Couple that with this Uncle who has simply been uncaring, unmoved to help his nephew for years and years and then suddenly not only aids Greyson in whisking Angel away to safety but makes him his heir as well? Now that is some serious guilt for sure.
I do not mean to be sarcastic, but parts of this story simply did not ring true for me. And that was truly unfortunate because when it came down to it this could have been a lovely story of self-discovery, healing and learning to love oneself.
In the end, Angel’s Evolution lacked plausibility, dwelled far too long in what came off eventually as whining by the main character over his lot in life and simply was not strong enough plot wise to redeem itself as a romantic love story. This had all the makings of a solid story, it simply lacked a keen eye for editing which would have made it more cohesive and hopefully ironed out some serious flaws.
Of course, dear reader, as always the most important review is yours. I leave you with Angel’s Evolution by T.A. Chase, a disappointing read with great potential.