Worth (Gray Zone, #2)
Adrienne Wilder; Paperback, 1st Edition, 204 pages
Published December 2nd 2011 by Dreamspinner Press
Give us your poor, your unwanted, your criminals… that’s the unofficial motto of Atlanta’s Gray Zone, the no man’s land between the city and the Dens of the Kin—the dragons. Between Liam, the two brothers he’s cared for most of his life, and their abusive stepfather, they account for all three categories.
Liam was fifteen when he made the arrangement: as long as he let his stepfather sell his body, his brothers would be safe. Scarred inside and out from years of horrific abuse, Liam is stunned when Jericho, a Lesser-Bred—a dragon’s mixed-blood offspring—makes a pass at him, and he is helpless to resist.
Then Liam’s stepfather welshes on their deal and sells Liam’s brother into the trade, and once again Liam resolves to do anything to save him, even get involved in a million-dollar kidnapping scheme that could get him killed. But that’s not his plan. Now that he has Jericho, Liam knows his life is worth fighting for.
Oh, what a beautiful world! Well, I mean, beautifully built more then beautiful in itself, it’s sort of a depressing and yet fascinating world. I’m rambling, sorry. Ok, so let’s be methodical.
This is book #2 in a series called Gray Zone, and I haven’t read book #1 (ofc, I seem to do this a lot…), but I didn’t really feel like I was denied any relevant info because of that. I really appreciated the glossary of terms and short presentation of the world at the beginning of the novel, to me that made this read as much a stand alone as it is a part of a series; of course, it’s that type of series that tells us about different characters within the same world or universe or whatever you’d like to call it. And what a wonderfully imaginative world!
I’m a great fan of dragons myself, so these beautiful creatures the author has created, this whole social order (or lack thereof in some areas) is totally fascinating to me.
Liam, Chris and Kevin took my heart by storm, I ached for them. One thing that’s clear though is this is a very mature read, and not just because there’s some one on one action going on, but because of the brutal life these characters lead, because of the nature of the world they inhabit. And Liam gets to sample all the brutality of it, all the ugliness of it; and yet he keeps a beautifully loving heart, he’s a mother hen for his younger brothers and he’s willing to bear whatever in order to keep them safe, in order to protect them and offer them as much of a good life as he can manage.
It was almost emotionally draining to witness Liam’s life, I couldn’t read this book all in one go, I felt the need to take breathers now and then, it just got to feel like too much at times. At the same time, fiction as it may be, I kept thinking about these cases I’ve learned of, real-life stories that resembled so much his story that it sent me reeling. I find it interesting that when met in fiction-clad form, the brutality of the human being is shocking, and yet we learn of all these real cases and we just cruise by them on a day to day basis. Funny how ours minds work, huh? Anyways, back to the book.
The characters were, in my opinion, amazing, and here’s why: there was nothing like posing about them, they didn’t feel built or put together as it sometimes happens with characters going through dramatic situations, they felt so incredibly real and natural, truly vivid. Their reactions, their feelings, everything – absolutely natural, real. Of course that seems to work for and against the reading experience, in the fact that it always seems easier to go through dramatic happenings with a character that feels a bit made up, you know? It’s like an intense but not uncomfortable exercise of the imagination, whereas a really good character doesn’t feel like a character at all but like one of your friends, so going through really bad stuff with them isn’t quite as easy.
The plot was interesting and eventful without becoming actually overwhelming until nearer the end, where there was this really intense scene that made me hold my breath, I was like “Oh nooooooo!!!”, but thankfully for my heart it got resolved in a reasonably short time 😀
If you’ll approach this as a smutty read, you’ll be very surprised and I mean very. I will confess it turned out to have substantially more punch to it then I expected as well, and I was extremely pleased with that. Of course, it’s a predictable reaction on my part, all my favorite reads revolve around really dramatic situations and stories.
So to sum it all up, if you’re not iffy about dramatic stories with violent content, I say give this a try, it’s somewhat brutal but beautiful as well, because it’s about human nature, true human nature in all it’s raw glory.