A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A stunning novel of love and redemption.
Blurb: Gene Sage has only ever wanted to sing, but his band, Evolution, is pushing him toward the big time. He finds it hard to focus on making musical history when he’s dreaming of graveyards and seeing ghosts. And while all he can think of is hiding who he is from a world unforgiving of anyone different, he discovers he’s also the ultimate snack for vampires and demons. When Gene literally runs into—over—his idol, Kerstrande Petterson, rock god, vampire in hiding, and music cynic, his life falls over the edge into chaos.
Jaded by the world and nearly a decade in the music business, Kerstrande thinks Gene wants to use him to make Evolution immortal in more than one way, but he can’t seem to brush aside the young singer’s enthusiasm.
Getting involved with Kerstrande drags Gene into otherworldly power struggles. Between the ghosts stalking them, the media painting supernaturals as villains, and a vampire out of control in the city, the only way for Gene and Kerstrande to survive is for Gene to embrace his powers—and his destiny.
Review: I am not sure I know where to begin this review. I wonder if I should tell you more than the blurb; try to explain how Kerstrande lives a tortured life and refuses to believe he is gay, and further refuses to succumb to the needs that fuel a vampire’s life. Should I speak of how when he denies himself, the thirst overtakes him to the point that he is his own self-fulfilling prophecy–the monster he so clearly hates? I’m sure I should mention that his former band mate and Sire, Hane, pursues him relentlessly, physically beating him until he is broken, forcing him to constantly move, never allowing him to put down roots and even claiming the one thing, the one person Kerstrande allows into his heart, Genesis…Gene.
I know I should describe the strange and almost painful relationship between Gene and Kerstrande. How the vampire continually pushes Gene away until the desire to hold him, love him, bleed him, violently surfaces and carries both men away. I certainly should relate how extraordinary Gene is, how he lives to sing, not for fame but simply to see others happy. I might mention how I loved the way he tried to soothe away the darkness he sensed in others and by novel’s end, how his strength allows him to free the man he loves from so many of his demons.
On and on I could go, talking about the depth of the secondary characters, and how not one sentence was ever seemingly wasted but always developed to either enhance the intricate plot or evolve a character more completely. Sentence upon sentence could fill this review but none, I think, would be as beautiful or as memorable as the author’s themselves.
Perhaps its best if I simply say this: Evolution is a masterpiece of Young Adult LGBT literature, impeccably written, intricately woven, beautifully executed. Broken characters are so often easy to write…they fall into a one lane pathway and are often either too whiny or so broken we can sometimes barely tolerate their presence in a story. However, when broken characters are handled with compassion, given depth, and a chance to reach beyond their loneliness and pain, then they are some of the most compelling people to grace the page.
This, I believe, is the real gift that author Sam Kadence gives to his reading audience. Mythical creatures and men who leap from the page and grab our hearts, leaving us breathless.
“…You barely know him. How can that be home?”
“Because some people were just meant to hold our hearts.”
Some authors’ words are meant to find a place in our lives, spark our imagination, carry us away for just a bit…find a place in our hearts.
I highly recommend Evolution by Sam Kadence to you, dear reader. Do not be fooled by the YA label, this novel transcends age parameters and defies the generic label of paranormal. Evolution defies all labels save one: Outstanding.