Monday, September 8, 2014

Special Forces #3 - Veterans (1994-2006) by Aleksandr Voinov (Vashtan) & Marquesate

Finishing this book, and this series in general was tough. In a way I was SO ready yet wasn't ready at all. I wanted for them to FINALLY get their Happily Ever After, and yet, I really didn't want to leave them behind. 

Both Vadim and Dan left SUCH an impression on me I have a feeling not many books will EVER make me feel like I did while reading this series. I WILL admit that I felt that we got too much sex in this one as was in the previous book (part 1 & 2) which felt at times redundant, but the overall feel of the series, the building of the relationship was simply amazing and yeah, about half way through this book we got their happily ever after, a place in their relationship that they are truly at peace with their life with each other. The rest of the book was about finding more peace around them and it felt so right the way it ended though I wouldn't have minded enjoying their company for more than the 25 years span that we got. 

I feel like I'm running ahead of myself here but somehow I felt I had to start with the general feeling before I relate to the plot itself.
We start this book with Dan being in the hospital dealing AT LAST with his knee. It was long awaited, though not by Dan, but it was there for a while now and I knew it was coming and knew it would be the way out of their occupation but though Vadim was ready to leave, Dan wasn't. 

While Dan was in the hospital recovering while not really recovering, Vadim started working on their Veteran carrier as consultants (as Maggie promised them she'd help establish). They needed the money for Dan's recovery as well as working on their house in New Zealand so he got working pretty fast and found he actually liked it. Being apart made Vadim miss the fact that Dan is suffering from a HUGE depression and it took the both of them time to solve this issue as well as their broken relationship. I felt like crying the whole time. I wanted to yell at both of them for not opening their mouth and speaking their heart out but finally Vadim took the initiative and did the one thing that was bound to bring Dan back. I so loved Vadim for that, it was simply PERFECT.

From there we had a sub plot that I don't really feel was necessary for anything.. Got to do with someone who was sorta stalking Vadim and trying to claim him as his own. Naturally it brought on a few sex scenes with other partners. This is the main reason this book doesn't get 5 stars, there were parts I didn't feel like were necessary.. The next one was learning a bit more of Jean's relationship with his wife. I never liked neither him nor his boring quiet wife and when I heard more of them and saw what ideas it put on Dan's head I was really disgusted! It also made for 2 sex scenes between Dan and Vadim I wanted to puke while reading them. Felt totally wrong considering their relationship and also Vadim's past (I don't want to spoiler so I'm leaving this statement as it is...)

The most important thing that happens in this book is Vadim FINALLY getting treatment for his PTSD. It got out of hand (I was heart broken from all the scenes with the PTSD symptoms especially the one that made Vadim and Dan seek the doctor's help). This part was so emotional for me (and them..). The treatment itself, how Vadim reacted to it, what Dan went through at the time, and naturally the "end" where Vadim shares with Dan so many truths he didn't dare say to him like his problem with Dan having sex with his buddies. It was LONG awaited and though I would have loved for them to reach monogamy you don't have to even guess to know that it won't happen (and there IS Hooch in the mix as well..).

Right about this time (and about half way into the book) I really felt that the both of them are FINALLY comfortable in the relationship so we get a little bit of a side story with Hooch and since I love his character it was captivating and heart breaking. I really want to read his and Matt's story but I won't do that in the near future, I want to have a little break.. when I'll read it though I'll probably add the one of Vadim's son as well. I have my issues with their open relationship. I wouldn't accept that in a relationship myself.. and though I "get" Dan and the fact that this is who he is, and the fact that Vadim can accept it in some occasions which means it's actually working for them - this is NOT something I enjoy reading in a romance.. I really feel like going back to my more, well, conventional romance novels.. 

Before the book ends there are more closures to be made, mainly concerns Katya and the kids. It was long awaited as well. I really enjoyed this part and felt it was written in the most sensitive and beautiful way. 

The ending blew me to pieces. If not for an annoying sex scene(s) with Jean I would say the last three chapters broke my heart and glues it right back together. I finished this book in tears of joy in my eyes happy I got to meet Dan and Vadim, their friends and family but mostly that I was "a part" of this amazing 25 years journey from hatred into love, from enemy to friends, from loneliness without a place in the world to finding a match, a partner, a place they call home. The whole day I was walking on clouds, thinking of the whole ride not being able to pick any book in my hand, just wanting to float a little in the HEA.

This series is beautiful beyond words! Sure, there are too many sex scenes, yeah it violent and uncomfortable some of the time and yes the open relationship puts a damper on things but that's life for you, it's not perfect it's just IS. Which is why I SO recommend this series to anyone with the guts to read it and put aside everything he knows and accepts as the "proper" way to fall in love and maintain a relationship. 


Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 573 pages, 2-7 September 2014 / On GoodReads
Special Forces by Aleksandr Voinov (Vashtan) & Marquesate is a MM Romance series telling the EPIC love story of Scottish SAS soldier Dan McFadyen and Soviet Spetsnaz soldier Vadim Petrovich Krasnorada. It was published on the authors' websites as a free novel in parts between July 2006 - April 2009 and can still be found on Marquesate's website (as HTML), Aleksandr decided to remove it from his website awhile ago. [ If you're interested in the second and third part in MOBI format please contact me. I made MOBI files from the HTML published on Marquesate's website. ]

Special Forces is the epic story of a Scottish SAS soldier and a Soviet spetsnaz soldier. Two enemies who meet in the line of duty during the early days of the Soviet Union’s last war in Afghanistan. Behind enemy lines respect and finally love grow... but that’s only the official version. 

The reality of these two men is dark, brutal, fueled by aggression and insane lust. Steeped in pain and killing, with death as their shoulder companion, these Special Forces soldiers meet in 1980. Their intense hatred caused by rape, revenge and torture turning into fucked-up lust and years of secret encounters in the rat-infested labyrinth of Kabul and the Afghan mountains. Time, despair and desolation smoothing down the sharpness of hatred, its venom drained with each physical encounter, the lust helping to form an understanding that only two men of the same kind can share. Enemy Mine and Brothers in Arms - on two different sides. 

This novel spans across over twenty-five years of their lives. It’s harsh and violent, but life is cruel and they just do what they need to survive. 

I truly feel like I have nothing more to add to what the authors themselves have to say about this series so I'll try and sum up my feelings - This is an EPIC love story between two enemies that started with hating each other and became inseparable. 25 years of so much heart ache I sometimes wonder how I went through it all. This series changes everything I think about romance, gay or hetero, it doesn't matter. What Dan and Vadim went through in the 25 years we are part of their lives put me out of my comfort zone too many times to count, right from the first chapter to the very ending which was beautiful and naturally left me with tears as too many scenes did (not something that happens to me very often..). 

Dan and Vadim aren't perfect, they are human and not that good or nice about a lot of things they do in the time we get to know them. I started off hating Vadim with a vengeance and generally disliking Dan yet somewhere along the line I fell for them both and wanted to see them truly happy together and it took quite a lot of time to get there through any torture possible. 

It was an EPIC ride. I truly felt changed when I finished reading it. Though I can't say that the series was perfect, it was out of this world amazing. My main issue with the series is there were, at times, too many sex scenes that in my personal opinion just made the story drag for no apparent reason, yet I don't begrudge the series for it.   

The first book in the series is the most viewed post on my blog strangely enough. Though I don't take back anything *I* wrote about this series, Aleksandr has said many times he disliked these as they were written in a darker period in his life and is very different from what he writes today and the general place he is on at the moment. He also said he was dabbling with writing more darker erotica (this book has it all..). While I didn't always like this fact, I liked the overall arc so much I just skipped those scenes. Yeah it means I skipped quite a lot in the second part but again, I was more invested in where all these experiences took Dan and Vadim and not specifically being "there" with them throughout it all. I don't think I'll even get to re-read this series as it's VERY long, and somewhat similar to Aleksandr I feel like I'm in a different place at the moment as well so reading something SO dark isn't a current fit for me. Yet still it doesn't change the strong feelings I was left with when I read these. They are still meaningful as they were back then when I read them. 

There are two more spin-off novels written separately by these authors.  
Deliverance by Marquesate and T.A. Brown (27 February 2012) ★★★★★
Tells the story of ex-Marine Matthew Donahue "Matt" and Delta Force Hubert Bozic "Hooch" whom we met in the second installment of Special Forces, both being friends with Dan and later on Vadim having a close relationship with Hooch. 
Gold Digger by Aleksandr Voinov (15 September 2012) ★★★★
Tells the story of Vadim's son - Nikolai Petrovich Krasnorada findig his HEA in Henri LeBeau. There was a sort of resemblance to the unlikely circumstances Vadim met Dan. We got to see Vadim again and see him as a father, a real father who talks to his son and gives him advice when needed which was beyond beautiful.

Special Forces #1 - Soldiers (1980-1989) ★★★★★
Special Forces #2 - Mercenaries Part One {Chapters 20-35} (1989-1992) ★★★★½
                                  Mercenaries Part Two {Chapters 36-53} (1992-1993) ★★★¾
Special Forces #3 - Veterans (1994-2006) ★★★★


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