Monday, January 5, 2015

THE KING by Tiffany Reisz

Publisher:               Harlequin                         
Published:               November 25th, 2014       
ISBN:                     978 077831 583 4
Genre:                              Erotic Romance
Book Format:                    Paperback
Obtained via:                    Publisher
Reviewed by:                    Helena Stone,

Rating:                   5                 

In the second book in the Original Sinner’s, the White Years series it is Kingsley’s turn to tell his story and boy does he live to his name. It is hard to imagine a character more on Edge than our hero at the start of his tale. Sleeping his way around the Upper Eastside, Kingsley is never alone, rarely sober and constantly lonely. It might appear he is living his life more than to the full, inside he yearns and ache’s for the one thing he can’t have; Søren.

On the brink of destroying himself through over-indulgence it takes Søren’s reappearance in his life to infuse Kingsley with a new desire to not only live but do something constructive with his life.

It is Kingsley’s dream to open the ultimate BDSM club, a safe place and playground for those like himself and Søren and it doesn’t take long before he finds the ideal location. Between Kingsley and the fulfilment of his desire stands one man; Reverend Fuller. The man who owns the building Kingsley wants, the man who is determined to put a stop to Kingsley’s dream come what may, the man who is evil incarnate beneath his sanctimonious shell. A battle between two unmoveable objects is about to commence and the outcome may well depend on a rather unexpected turn of events.

“Honesty was its own special brand of sadism” – Kingsley

I can’t imagine anyone who follows my reviews being surprised by the rating I gave “The King”. From the very first moment I stumbled across “The Siren” I have been mesmerized by Tiffany Reisz’s words, the world she’s created and the characters inhabiting it. The Original Sinners have captured my imagination to the extent that they are now as real to me as most of my (online) friends are. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of them knocked on my door and invited themselves for dinner (or one or two other activities). I’d smile, welcome them and delight in their company; which is exactly what I do whenever I start a new title in this series.

I don’t want to say more about the story than what can be found in the blurb. These stories, in my opinion, should be read with as little foreknowledge as possible. The less you know when diving into the stories, the more magical the revelations and surprises are. Emerge yourself in this world and allow it to carry you from shock to surprise, from laughing out loud to silent tears falling from your eyes, from utter joy to heartbreaking sorrow and everything in between.

Having said that, I can’t make myself stop my review there either. So I’ll share a few quotes that jumped out at me and give you my thoughts on those.

The following quote makes perfect sense, taking into account most of the story takes place twenty years ago. I can imagine how much fun Tiffany had when she put the words into this story.

“A Jesuit pope? It’ll never happen.” – Søren

When I first met Søren I wasn’t sure I was ever going to like him. Which each subsequent book my appreciation for him grew until, by the time the last book in the Red Years series came along, I’d fallen fully in love with him. In fact I was convinced there was no way I could grow fonder of him. Of course I was wrong. Søren’s words always hit a nerve with me.

“You’re the most miserable bon vivant I’ve ever met. Drinking is for celebrating, not for suicide.”  - Søren to Kingsley


“You can be a new man, Kingsley. If he’s dead, then he’s dead. But you don’t have to live the rest of your life walking around inside his corpse. You can have a new life.” – Søren

Kingsley’s love for Søren is a thing of beauty, both heartbreaking and uplifting. The bond between the two men is something to envy and aspire to. You know these two will still be tormenting and uplifting each other well into their eighties and I for one, would love to present when the reminisce about the lives they’ve lived at some point in the future.

“You never hurt me. Do you know that? Even when you hurt me you never hurt me. I loved it. It wasn’t until you stopped that I felt the pain.” Kingsley to Søren

Just in case you now think this whole book is filled with heart wrenching and soul crushing moments, let me reassure you. Tiffany Reisz has, as always, found the perfect balance between deeply moving and laugh out loud funny and everything in between. Kingsley’s relationship with Sam is just one example of that.

“Are you dressed? Is it safe to turn around again. I don’t want my delicate lesbian sensibilities overwhelmed by your incredible manliness. I might get vapors, whatever those are.” – Sam

Everyone who’s read the Original Sinners books from the start is well aware of Kingsley’s trademark question whenever he gets into a car with somebody else. It was wonderful to at last discover the origins.

“Have you ever had sex in the back of a Rolls Royce, Kingsley asked, trying not to rip Søren’s shirt in his rush to  unbutton it. He needed Søren’s skin on his skin right now. No, Søren said. But ask me that question again in an hour.”

Quotes like the following are one of the reasons Tiffany Reisz has me hooked on her words for life. She manages to articulate emotions and feelings I’ve experienced but have never been able to verbalise. Her talent is a thing of beauty.

“His heart clenched so tightly, his chest hurt. No wonder he’d sought after pain all his life. It felt just like love.” – Kingsley

As the title suggests, this is Kingsley’s story. Just as Nora told the story of her early years to a relative outsider in The Saint, so does Kingsley in this book. Since the blurb doesn’t reveal who our King talks to, I won’t tell you either. Suffice to say it was nice seeing that character again and learn a little bit more about their present day circumstances. The following quote summarizes this book for me better than I ever could; better even than the official blurb.

“But his confession hadn’t been to a priest but about a priest, the priest he loved not despite all the sins they’d committed against each other but because of them, because the sins were what bound them together. And the love. Of course the love. Always the love.”

The King has more than earned its five star rating, but here’s the thing. I adore Tiffany Reisz’s writing. Her dialogue is sharp and witty, her characters are larger than life and as real as if I personally know them, and her stories captivate me every time I read one. And yet, these White Years stories don’t quite touch me in the same way the Red Years books did. And I know exactly why that is. In the first four books everything was new; the characters, the ideas, the way the story developed. All of it was exciting and surprising, every single detail and twist kept me on my toes.

The stories in the White Years books are more detailed explorations of events mentioned in the earlier books. While we get an endless amount of new to us and utterly fascinating details we already know the basics of these stories, and, more importantly, we already know how they’re going to end. You can only read a story for the first time once, and The King made me sorry it wasn’t really my first encounter with these characters and the drama unfolding around and because of them. And that is why The King ‘only’ got five stars; the reason why I didn’t attach a few plusses or even turned the grade into a six.

Having said that, I can’t wait for the next book.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

No comments: