In Liam's Wake: The Makeshift Soldier (Toys and Soldiers, #1) by Ashlyn Forge
This review can be found at The Blog of Sid Love.
Eight years ago, Liam was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thrust into a world that’s considered ‘Topside’, life as he knew it was just about over. His only saving grace is Riley, the man who was sucked into the mysterious place with him. Unfortunately for them, they had to endure one hellish situation after another to survive. Now Liam’s been in the ‘Colony’, a more civilized place than Topside, for five years but Riley’s been in a coma for just as long. Liam’s world is slowly falling apart but what will happen when Riley finally wakes up? Will Liam’s natural affinity to causing problems put them in more trouble then the two can handle?
I just want to say for the record that this book is really crazy! There are so many layers to not only the world and the characters but everything that Liam and Riley have to endure. They each had their own problems and now have the emotional and physical scars to prove it but this book is one that is constantly moving forward. When something happens, it doesn’t just resolve itself in a matter of moments but propels the story into another situation and another to the point that they’re all interwoven and almost all can be resolved in a specifc way… by Liam registering with the Eletes.
To be honest, I don’t feel comfortable trying to explain this story because it would be hard to recreate all that in so many words. What I will say is that this book definitely took me for a ride. Whenever I thought something was going good, Liam would inadvertently cause another problem or part of Riley’s mysteriousness would start to unravel and we’d learn something new about the characters and how much more complicated things could get.
About the characters, I absolutely adored them. Liam is so broken, complicated and almost naive. He’s… well, he’s a hot mess. He just wants to break Riley and him free of the Colony and go back to New York but he can’t do that and each time he’s denied his way of going home, he starts to unravel more and more, losing his mind, becoming anxious and panicky. He has these built in receptors that are extremely dangerous and could kill him if he gets too worked up, which he gets close to doing multiple times. He always thinks he’s found a way to get out of the ‘prison’ he’s in but each time it falls through and he slowly loses hope to the point that he becomes suicidal in his mission to get them back to New York.
Riley is like Liam’s rock but, at the same time, their situation is unique. Riley is even more complicated than Liam because, as the story progresses, you learn over and over how Riley is different from anyone else alive but not exactly how he got that way. It’s amazing and intriguing to see it all play out. Even more so because of the connection between Liam and Riley. Which, while I wouldn’t exactly consider it a sexual one at first, it is definitely an emotional one. They’re linked together through their shared experiences and have created a bond that is hard to break completely.
I had a few issues with the story, though. My main one is that I was confused a lot. The transitions between one problem and the next weren’t very smooth so I was always left scratching my head wondering how Liam or Riley ended up where they did, almost like there were scenes missing between one chapter break and the start of another. It was hard to follow when mixed with Riley’s disadvantage of losing his memories or with Liam’s panic attacks that cause them to black out.
Another thing I had trouble with was understanding Liam and Riley’s relationship because sometimes they would be in love and other times it was almost like they hated each other or were disgusted with one another. I’m not sure if it was meant towards one another or at something else that was keeping them apart but it made me semi uncomfortable… but then they’d confess their love and their emotional connection would be so prominent that I was able to overlook it sometimes. Beyond that, I must admit that I still have a ton of questions about the world and Riley and Liam’s relationship. What is going to happen to Riley? What exactly is Riley? How did he get that way? What is his place in the Colony? Why is Riley still so apprehensive about being touched during intimacy? There’s just so many questions revolving around Riley that I’m burning to know the answers of… but then I also want to know more about Liam and these mysterious people still trying to kill him. Or how the Elete will change him? What will the Elete do to him now? What about Norman? Or Vlad? Omg, there’s just so many questions that I want to know NOW!
Phew! In the end, this was an amazing story. It’s been a while since I’ve been so intrigued with a book that, even though it was a crazy story, I just couldn’t put it down. I was so invested in this one and how Liam and Riley would make things work or how Liam would get out of his next fuck up that I didn’t even notice I was gobbling up huge chunks of the story at a time. I didn’t expect that this would become such a complex book but I’m so glad I read it. I can’t wait to read more in this series and in this world. It’s such a fascinating world with emotionally damaged and fragile characters. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something different that’ll grab you by the balls and not let go… so to speak. LOL. I loved the book so much I even bought the paperback! :D