... at the end of the day, everything I do cost me. The only question is how much.
We have Finn...
A nocturnal junkie, scared of needles and scared of the dark. The irony was hilarious.
"I see what I want to see."
"... his despair arouses her beyond measure."
Don't even ask me how I survived this book. It will forever remain a mystery. I'm still sitting in shock at the events that have unfolded in The Tied Man. Let me tell you, this takes the cake for dark & disturbing reads. It makes everything else I've ever read seem like child's play... something I'd find in the Children's Literature section in Barnes & Nobles right next to Harry Potter.
Keen-eyed artist Lilith detects more than line or form with a subtle gift honed over years of training. The ability to look at a person and see things no one else sees comes in handy when she is summoned by Blaine Albermarle to commission a portrait to pay off her abominable father's debts. She quickly learns that nothing is as it seems at Albermarle Halle, least of all the relationship between Blaine and her handsome 'companion' Finn. The nefarious undercurrent nips at the tenuous control Lilith has erected over the years against her own demons. Control. The one thing that shaped my life, and the one thing I felt I that I was about to lose. Little by little, Lilith comes to understand the horrific conditions the beautiful Finn must survive in. If you could call it surviving. He is beaten, raped, and drugged and he has no other choice. For the first time in his life, however, there is someone who doesn't surrender to a baser instinct. She resists his initial advances and from that arises a cautious friendship. But Blaine must not be underestimated, though. She always seems to be one step ahead, including orchestrating Lilith's arrival the moment she sensed Finn's withdrawal. The summer I met Lilith Bresson, I had begun to die. Not physically, you understand. I had never been that lucky. But each day a little more of my soul disappeared, and Blaine sensed it.And Blaine Albermarle never let anything escape without a fight.The cat and mouse between Finn/Lilith and Blaine kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't sleep until I knew how it would play out. I was absolutely terrified that she would concoct some outrageously demented punishment to keep Lilith captive. Though, she definitely tried her damndest. She was an absolute monster. There are no concessions given with this story. McGowan possesses not a merciful bone in her body with regard to Finn and Lilith's journey. Finn's abuse is horrific, detailed, and knows no bounds. He is literally at the will of whoever has bought him for the night. Throughout the years he's controlled his response the only way he can - through copious amounts of drugs.As Lilith and Finn grow closer the question is no longer about her finishing her commission, it's about saving the man she's come to care about. And she's willing to go to any lengths. I'm always cautious when starting these kinds of stories. Either it's going to be botched and I'll feel like I've wasted my time, or it will be so over the top horrific that I'll not be able to breathe for days afterwards. Granted, do not take this story lightly, as it's not an 'easy' read by any means, but it does have an underlying hope that kept me reading, among other things. Lilith's strength, determination, and outright spunk was vastly refreshing. She had morals, guts, gumption. I loved her. I loved her brash manners, no nonsense attitude. Her cursing. The product of a whore and a nobleman, she's such an interesting character. Which is another thing I loved about this book - it's characters. It's one of those that even the secondary characters are so real. They have their own mannerisms, histories, motivations. *bookgasm* I must note, while I'm thinking about it, that I adored all of the dialogue. I've never, ever read anything quite like it and it added such a sense of realism and depth to the experience.
Isolated on an frigid island, Albermarle Hall is a sanctum of depravity and the ideal setting for this shockingly cruel and intense story with superb writing. You'll find yourself shackled amidst the horrors of the enslaved man-boy, Finn, your sympathy for him holding you there, frozen in fear. You'll wonder how he was captured, how badly his next job will hurt him, and why his tormentor goes to such lengths to destroy him physically and emotionally. TM is a master at revealing back stories, sometimes with sneaky subtleness, but always sadistic in nature. The tribulations reach the darkest, deepest places. Places you might not know exist.The villains are inventive in their power to induce dread, rage, and paralyzing terror. The excessive rape and violence are graphic, beautifully disturbing, but in no way titillating. In fact, I would not label this erotic or romance, as those terms imply gratification and desire. Reading this stirred the same emotions in me as Jack Ketchum's horror novels. Sick curiosity.The body of this tale is harrowing, allowing little light and warmth to leak in. The sexual cruelty takes horror in an unpredictable direction, using psychological brutality to develop a friendship between an unlikely pair. From the slivers of blood-stained clothing and broken bones resurrects a courageous trust between the drug-addicted Finn and the guest-turned-prisoner painter, Lilith. This friendship is a fierce enough foundation to keep some of the chicken-hearted readers turning pages through the gory, topnotch tension.This vicious, well-crafted psychological thriller might leave you scarred, but it's the soul-deep characterization of Finn and Lilith that makes this book wholly unforgettable.
I had a love/ hate relationship with this book. I was tempted to take up smoking again, driven to drink (only to settle the nerves LOL), yet I kept reading on. Needed to vent through status updates more than usual, for what it's worth, this helped me keep going!
What I feel needs to be highlighted, is that a lot of the situations that unfold are disturbing and Blaine, one of the main characters, is evil personified. Noting that in amongst the horror, was slithers of humanity that gave me enough hope to read on, because in spite of how the book could end, these moments were refreshing and beautiful!
Lilith, is an artist, a brash, opinionated woman that prefers her own company on the whole. She had an ability to 'read ' a person, to the point of it being considered a gift. Nailing someone's inner most, quite often hidden reason for their mannerisms and being able to pick the town they originate from, almost down to the post (zip) code. This ability has allowed her artistic talent to shine, enabling her to capture the true person on canvas! And rom what I can recall, sometimes in provocative poses, that push conservative boundaries.
Through her despised father, she is compelled to accept a commission that pushes her boundaries on an emotional level, that many wouldn't survive. Within this horror, Lilith encounters the depths of depravity but somehow manages to continue, as did I! The good times are far and few between, but when they occurred, it provided a welcome escape from the darkness of the main story.
To be honest, I just wanted to stop reading this at some points,, the subject matter was just taking me way out of my comfort zone but I couldn't stop reading. I appreciated and embraced the author's beautiful use of language, loving when i had to stop and highlight a word for its definition. The descriptive language, added a depth to my understanding of the characters and their situations. Not sure whether I should rate this 4 or 5 stars, conservatively putting 4 up for now, but think when I look at this more objectively, it will be a 5 star read. Be warned that this is a dark read, not for the faint hearted but one if you like to be taken on a journey that will challenge your resolve, you won't be disappointed!
Apologies for the rambling, I just needed to get my thoughts down, will try and 'edit' it later :) Mum duties beckon.....