Elpida 2: Tharros by C.Kennedy

Title : Tharros                             Word Count:109,942
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. Almost. He has great friends, parents who love him just the way he is, and he was a champion hurdler until someone took out his knee when they kidnapped his boyfriend. Yet, Michael is determined to make the USATF tryouts in spite of his injuries.

Christy Castle is Michael’s entire world. Healing from years of abuse, his abduction by a predator has left him hiding a new secret as he tries to start his life again. Together, Michael and Christy work to recover from their wounds in time to make prom and graduate high school. To complicate matters, Christy is astonished to learn a fellow victim from his native Greece has survived. Christy will stop at nothing to bring him to the US to keep him safe.

But the prosecution of Christy’s kidnapper looms large in their futures and the struggle to return to normal only worsens. Christy’s past continues to haunt them and, when the prosecution turns ugly and Christy’s new life is torn apart, only their unrelenting courage and determination can save them from the nightmare that threatens to destroy their future together.

My Review: Tharros means courage in Greek and that was exactly what was shown in the second half of the love story of Christy and Michael. The story picks up where it left off from the first novel. Christy has just been found by Michael severely abused and raped by the monster who has abused him for most of his childhood years. This is a horrific tale of innocence lost and the injustices that monsters perpetrate on children everyday. Christy is in his last year of high school and has lived a lifetime of horror already. It is only the steadfast love of his boyfriend Michael and the great support system that he has in Michael’s family and friends that keeps Christy’s sanity intact.
The things that these two young lovers have endured in their short time together has definitely made them stronger. They are constantly harrangued by the press for the story of Christy’s recent kidnapping and Michael’s heroic actions to get him back. Most of their time is spent recuperating from their injuries and getting back to some semblance of normal. Although Christy is in a fragile mindset, he is given something new to focus on when he finds out that Thimi another little boy who endured similar atrocities is still alive. Christy does everything in his power with the help of the adults in his life to bring about Thimi’s safe passage to the United States.
It is the little joys of everyday life that helps Christy and Michael to continue their journey. They prepare for their prom while they go to physiotherapy to get their bodies healthy. Michael is very happy when all his physiotherapy pays off when his injured knee gets better. Micheal will be able to continue with his high school track team.Christy really looks forward to the event of prom and he is truly happy with the most simplistic things like finding a dress and wearing a beautiful corsage. Christy revels in his femininity and Michael supports him without suppressing the effeminate side of Christy. He embraces everything that is Christy.

 The rest of their time is spent getting ready for the trial of Yosef Sanna , the monster who abused Christy. It is very heart-rending for Michael to watch the almost catatonic state that Christy has reverted to as he testifies. Christy perseveres under the pressure, but he is utterly gutted and broken when Yosef yells horrible untruths about Christy’s mother not loving him. Christy flees the courtroom and by the time Michael figures out where he could be it’s almost too late. Michael finds him at the top of a ferris wheel , inconsolable , sobbing and wanting to die. Christy’s psyche is shattered to pieces and he believes he is the dirty little whore that his abusers want him to be.
Once again Christy ends up in the hospital where Michael stays with him. Michael is a fortitude of strength for his beautiful Christy. While they are there the verdict is passed and Yosef Sanna gets life in prison. However, it is the fact that Thimi, the poor abused little boy will be coming to the United States that gives Christy the strength to endure. Christy is definitely brave and has shown great courage in fostering new relationships and forming connections with people that are not tainted by abuse. Michael’s love for him remains strong and helps to heal Christy day by day. I give this my ratings of 3- because as much as I love these beautiful characters, there was just too many unrealistic dramas happening throughout this story. I actually set this book aside for more than a month before I was able to finish it. It was my love for Michael and Christy that made me pick it up again.

Omorphi by C. Kennedy

Title : Omorphi                                 Word Count :189,675

Genre : Young Adult / Gay Romance

Blurb : High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.

Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s teammates turns enemy, and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together.

My Review: From the very beginning where we are introduced to Christy, we see that he is very special.  Christy is androgynous , he’s very tiny and looks very pretty and he doesn’t speak due to a trauma that he has sustained to his neck. He has had to endure sexual abuse since he was a child. His father kept him locked away where he was repeatedly abused and passed around to the father’s business partners. They were able to do whatever they wanted to Christy. Christy is incredibly scarred both emotionally and physically and like most victims he sees himself as a dirty, broken human being.Christy’s survival speaks to resiliency.

Michael knows what he likes, he has never had a boyfriend but he has a huge crush on Christy. He has no clue the extent of  the emotional baggage he is getting when he approaches Christy. Once he gets to know Christy, he realizes how much repair and rejuvenation he will have to do to Christy’s self esteem. Their relationship is definitely not easy, it is conflicted and convoluted with secrets of Christy’s past. He finds it hard to open up to Michael about all the atrocities that has been done to him. Michael tries hard to pull Christy out of his shell and protect him from all the demons that are chasing him figuratively and physically. 

This book was over 500 pgs long and I really think that it could have been reduced by taking out some of the unnecessary drama. After awhile I found that the drama became very unrealistic for what a high school student would normally have to endure. It was a little off-putting for me. To give an example, one of the bad guys shoots Michael and by the next day Michael is back at school to protect Christy. I think these scenes were overly dramatized and was just far beyond the capacity of what is expected of a typical 18yr old. That being said, as much as I wanted to put down the book, I couldn’t because the storyline was riveting and I couldn’t wait to see how everything turned out for this couple.

The sex between these two main characters was really good. Michael really allowed Christy to truly be himself by wearing all the frilly girly underwear that he wanted. This really turned Michael on and was Christy’s way of feeling pretty. He believed that the feminine underwear and makeup really transformed him into a beautiful person,  someone who wasn’t tainted by all the abuse.

Michael and Christy finally got their happily ever after amidst all the craziness. I really appreciated this story after reading the author’s note at the end. It says that the abuse suffered by Christy in this story is based on real events. All I can say is how utterly horrifying it must be for someone to have these life experiences.  My heart truly goes out to everyone who has ever suffered through abuse especially children. I give this my ratings of 4 – not only because the chemistry between Michael and Christy was super hot. My ratings are for all the Christys in the world who have endured, survived and conquered their demons and heartfelt tears for those who didn’t make it through.