Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: The Way Home by Anastasia Vitsky

A piece of art as much as a story to enjoy, 4 stars.

The first thing that struck me about The Way Home was the format in which this story is told. There's a very non-traditional series of time jumps that, at the start, can be hard to follow. The blurb description does this story an injustice. It sets up a plot expectation that the format doesn't fill, and the novel is so much more than that.

At the heart of the narrative is a friendship-maybe-more that grows over the kind of timespan you simply do not encounter in most romance books. And this is a romance, make no mistake. There is a domestic BDSM aspect (power exchange, spanking) that hints at some sexual overtones near the end of the story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

[trigger warning: major self-harm]

The major critique I had of this story surrounds the dominant conflict. Kat has depressive tendencies which culminate severely in two suicide attempts via sleeping pills. Either the format or the writing or both got in the way of my fully understanding this aspect of Kat. I didn't see a build-up to this kind of behavior so it caught me off guard. I'm not sure the first attempt was on-screen-- if it was then I didn't recognize it for what it was.

Anyone who enjoys the craft of writing, if you're into Tolstoy and Hemingway for their format as much as their content: read this book. If you're on vacation lounging for hours with nothing to interrupt you: read this book. There are beautiful scene pairs and excellent pacing throughout.

TL;DR: 4 stars. Beautifully written and as such, requires focus to enjoy.

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