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Sandy Sullivan has gotten so good at covering up his emotions, he’s waiting for someone to hand him an Oscar. On the outside, he’s a cheerful, funny guy, but his good humor is the only thing keeping awful memories from his army tours in Afghanistan at bay. Worse, Sandy is now adrift after breaking up with the only man who ever understood him, but who also wanted to fix him the way Sandy’s been fixing up his new house in Brooklyn.
Everett Blake seems to have everything: good looks, money, and talent to spare. He parlayed a successful career as a violinist into a teaching job at Manhattan’s elite Olcott School and until four months ago, he even had the perfect boyfriend. Now he’s on his own, trying to give his new apartment some personality, even if it is unkempt compared to the perfect home he shared with his ex. When hiring a contractor to renovate his kitchen sends Sandy barreling into his life, Everett is only too happy to accept the chaos… until he realizes he’s in over his head.
If a damaged former/current soldier is involved, so am I. Does that mean I occasionally get my heart broken when a military-themed book doesn’t live up to my internal hype? Dang it, yes.
Silence of the Stars is a spinoff of The Stars that Tremble (which I haven’t read), but it definitely works as a standalone—I wasn’t confused about any characters, and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything major while I was reading.
Sadly, it was just an okay read for me. The writing was okay, I guess, but the story never really connected for me. It had all the things that make my heart flutter: a tough guy trying to work through his issues who meets a smart-and-sensitive type who’s destined to turn tough guy’s world around.
Maybe it was the goofy dialogue. Maybe it was the insta-attraction and chemistry-free sex. Maybe it was the fact that contractor/remodeler Sandy suggested Everett go with linoleum floors in his new kitchen, gasp. (I’m married to a remodeler. Those guys don’t suggest linoleum. Trust me on this.)
Maybe it was the “I’m a Top” gauntlet thrown down by one of the MCs. Is that entirely realistic or even necessary conversation in an m/m book? I’m thinking no.
Maybe it was the undiagnosed/untreated PTSD…from seven years after being stateside. Maybe it was the fact that this felt a whole lot like an m/f romance to me, but with token details changed to make it m/m.
Maybe it was the perfect combination of all of the above, but Silence of the Stars was a letdown.
No matter how hard I tried to make it happen, I didn’t feel any chemistry between Sandy and Everett, and that’s major in a book like this. There were no outside forces trying to break the guys up (over-the-top jealous French ex-boyfriend aside); it was just them trying to navigate Sandy’s PTSD.
Let’s talk about that PTSD for a minute, too. It felt contrived, disingenuous, planted so the guys would have something to navigate in order to move their relationship forward. Boo.
There was a nice little epilogue to tie up loose ends, so points there. It was sweet and gave the boys some closure, but it wasn’t enough to boost/change my overall experience.