This Is Not Revenge by Romilly King
The new dark gay romance series from Romilly King – Author of the Delphic Agency and Handled Series.
He’s never going to believe this is for his own good.
It looks like revenge.
I swear it’s not.
There is zero motivation for me to revenge what he did to my Father.
I’d rather kiss him for it.
(No, don’t think like that)
This is me doing the only thing I can to save him.
I can’t take the thought of one more death on my hands.
Too many people have lost everything so we can live.
And there is such power in the enemy vanquished.
He’ll understand, once I get through to him, once I explain it all, then we can be allies, or even friends.
I think I would like that.
It’s a shame I have to lock him up to do this.
(He does look really good in my chains though)
This Is Not Revenge is the first book in a new trilogy by gay romance author Romilly King. It features damaged characters, an unreliable narrator, and themes of dark, twisted love. The story arc will continue across all three books.
Trigger warning – this is a dark gay romance book and includes graphic violence, sexual scenes and psychological manipulation between lovers. Additional trigger warnings inside.
First of all, that blurb!
I already knew I will love this even before I started. I just had that feeling.
GIL and LEO ♡!!!
Sweet, caring, enchanting, equal parts worldly and innocent, quite delusional, very adept at killing, Gil is everything and more. He is a favored son of a serial killer. Raised in a cult, he completely believes his father’s delusions that they have magic. He kidnaps Leo to keep him safe from his father’s wrath. His father has a long reach and other sons at his beck and call who will go after Leo.
Leo is a forensic psychologist who helped put Gil’s father in prison. He describes himself as a typical gay man, thought himself capable of withstanding the mental tortures of an abduction but learns surprising things about himself while being chained to the wall. He also learns surprising things about his captor.
The psychological aspect of the book was really well-done. This is written in dual POV which worked perfectly with the plot. It had me questioning whether the book might actually be paranormal, especially in light of Gil’s firm conviction that he can use magic. And yes, it would really seem he does. But then you would get Leo’s POV and the reality would shift back to the mundane. It was a real mindfuck. I loved it.
I also loved that one line at the first part that hinted this might be set in the Handled world. If so, would there be cameos? Please?
The trigger warnings set my expectations for this to be very dark and disturbing. It’s actually kind of mild a.k.a. I wasn’t disturbed (but YMMV so do heed the TWs). But it is quite intense in many ways. It is this intensity as well as the complex and compelling characters, the fast-paced plot and the brilliant writing that made the book perfect for me.
This Is Not Revenge is one of the best Stockholm Syndrome stories I have read. I loved how the author laid out Gil and Leo’s internal conflicts, how they got to know each other, how they slowly won each other’s trust. I relished the delicious anticipation building up to the point when things shifted between them. You can really FEEL that moment.
It was such a tender and sweet romance. I think it’s absolutely wonderful that, Stockholm Syndrome or not, they were able to find a pure and beautiful emotional connection amidst all these fucked up circumstances. For me, it’s what stood out the most. Witness this heartwrenching scene where they had to fight against the evil father:
“We have to stop this.”
Gil looks at me, “We?”
“Yes.” There is utter certainty in my voice. “We, always we, from now on, forever, we.”
There is a desperate hope in his eyes. “But I’m mad.”
“Me too, apparently it’s catching, and I don’t care.” I’m suddenly fierce, suddenly determined, begging him to believe me.
I don’t suppose there was ever much doubt.
This madman, I love him. I can’t help it, and I am going to do everything I can to fight for him
I too caught the bug, apparently, because I’m crazy about these two madmen.
This Is Not Revenge is book 1 of a trilogy. It ends with a cliffhanger.
5 Stars – absolutely perfect
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