Shattered Glass by A.C. Katt
Can love survive and be rekindled when a heart is broken like Shattered Glass?
Milo grew up in fear, hiding the fact that he was gay. Becoming a rock star with his band Shattered Glass was a dream come true. Finally lovers with Liam, the friend he’d desired since childhood, Milo worries about his image and keeping their relationship a secret.
Liam knew he loved Milo, even as a kid. But their fame and fortune can’t buy him the happiness of talking Milo out of the closet, able to freely express their love. Unfortunately, a fellow band-mate with vengeance on his mind conspires to break the lovers up in the most vicious way possible, destroying the couple’s relationship and shredding Liam’s peace of mind.
Six years later, Liam is older, wiser, and has rebuilt his life after the devastating loss of Milo and the band. Forced into a tenuous working reunion, Liam knows his heart still belongs to Milo. Working together to uncover the web of lies that pulled them apart, now all they have to do is survive the psychopath intent on silencing Liam and his music forever.
Contains hot rock star manlove, mysterious motives, and a brotherhood of friends strong enough to forgive.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shattered Glass is a heavy book. It’s got a ton of angst, a lot of despair, pain, and suicidal tendencies. There are mistakes made by every single character that have far, far reaching impacts that nearly destroy each other mentally and emotionally. This is not a light read so there are some elements that make it tough to want to continue. The entire story as a successful romance/love story hinges on whether you can get through the hard times and believe in the happy ending offered. I admit I’m of two minds. I never quite forgave the characters for their manipulations as easily as they were forgiven in the book. Also the dark well of horror the main character falls into is difficult and gut wrenching to read. The flip side is that there is a lot of “I love you forever” to try to make up for it and I pretty much liked reading the story. So it really hinges on your tolerance of the dark times to get to the good.
The story is another typical closeted rock stars in love that are torn apart through immaturity, ignorance, and a typical evil villain blackmailer/stalker. There are a few twists to this as one of the close friends of the two main characters is intimately involved in continuing the mental and emotional torture. The band starts with main characters Milo and Liam including drummer Sam and his younger brother Rick. They start playing when they’re in their teens and Liam joins when he’s a vulnerable 12. Liam’s mother dies when he’s only 16 so the guardianship goes to Sam and Milo. Their band Shattered Glass takes off and becomes famous but Sam leaves to go to law school as he always dreamed. Sam hires Bart Hedge as the replacement drummer and sends the dynamics of the band into a tailspin.
Not to give too much away (though I don’t think it is) Bart is identified early on as Liam’s tormentor and he does everything he can to tear Liam and Milo apart. His actions, combined with other close friends’ actions, isolate Liam and send him into a spiral that leaves him emotionally and mentally battered while being drugged, raped, beaten, abused, and tormented. This is the part where the story gets very dark and hard to read. Liam is a delicate young man, sheltered from the world and he’s pretty immature. He’s been dependant on Milo all his life and once that support network is taken away, Liam doesn’t really know how to survive. Since the story wants the readers to identify and sympathize with Liam, it’s incredibly difficult to read these continued and horrible actions against him. He has his own responsibility definitely but the others (all the others including Milo) are a significant part of really tearing him down.
At this point I almost quit reading but I wanted to see the turn when the story starts to build Liam up again and it does. The last 100 pages or so focuses on Liam gaining strength, intelligence, and maturity while dealing with this emotionally draining stalker. The actual reading also drains the reader as the story is engaging and absorbing enough to draw you in and play on your emotions. Some of the plot points are obvious and manipulative such as Liam’s family lawyer, Rick’s actions, Sam’s reactions, Milo’s justifications and so on. So you have to be willing to suspend some disbelief over the coincidences and inaccuracies to get into the story. The dialogue between the teenagers reads very adult and mature, which goes against their actions. The prose choices are much more staid and formal than their age and immaturity suggests so the beginning especially keeps reminding you that you’re reading a story.
Later on the narrative gets better but it’s still ultimately difficult. The characters still feel somewhat flat at the end since the story forgives everyone but never really gives enough depth and consideration in my opinion. Sam and Rick’s actions especially are horrific on a lot levels yet they are instantly forgiven regardless of the immense pain they put Liam through. Liam seems to think the world is fine with just Milo’s love so ultimately none of the characters felt as though they really changed. They grew from their sorrow, as must happen with age, maturity, and negative experiences, but they still failed to really take responsibility for their actions and feel anything other than mild regret. This definitely affected my enjoyment and final view of the story.
On the one hand this is an absorbing story with parts you don’t want to read and others you can’t quite put down. The flip side is of course reading this story takes a lot out of you. The emotional investment into Liam is pretty high and the payoff is a mixed bag. There is a definite happy ending and Milo and Liam ride off into the sunset but is it worth it? Only you can decide. I’m glad I read it but I wouldn’t read it again.
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