Friday, March 6, 2020

Cardeno C. - Home Again

Noah Forman wakes up in a hospital and can’t remember how he got there. He holds it together, taking comfort in the fact that the man he has loved since childhood, his partner, Clark Lehman, is on his way. But when Clark finally arrives, Noah is horrified to discover that he doesn’t remember anything from the past three years, and he simply can’t understand why. It will take some painful confrontations if Noah’s going to figure out why he’s lost all memories of his recent past... and secure the future he’s dreamed of having with Clark.

Comment: Years ago, I was recommended the third book in this Home series by Cardeno C., which currently has seven installments.
However, I'm usually interested in reading series in order and since the books in this series weren't very big, I decided to go get this one and the second to read them in order until the third, which I had gotten before.
Sadly, it was a bad decision (one I repeated with a different author too, right after this book) and I think I should have stuck with the book recommended for it appeals more to me.

In this book we meet main characters Noah and Clark. They met as teenagers when Clark and his mother moved into town and Clark started spending time with his friend Ben, Noah's older brother.
Noah is a rebel and very much aware of his sexual preference, something his family can't seem to accept but Clark is fascinated and he knows he's found his other half. Not even the four years that separate their ages stops him from knowing he's found the one even though it will take them years to grow into their feelings.
However, when the story starts, Noah is in the hospital, his brother is there and no signs of Clark. When Noah finally asks for him, everyone reacts weirdly but eventually he arrives. The problem is that Noah's accident took his memory of the last three years and he and Clark are no longer together. What could have happened, will they be able to reunite?

Although the premise of this story is not impossible, it was still difficult to just accept it. Besides, had the story been told in a more engaging way or with better execution, I could imagine being much more appreciative of what could mean to see one's life change radically without being aware of how.

This was the first book by this author I've tried. I see the author is prolific and by the type of covers, by the comments of some readers I knew the stories would be a certain way (more about drama/feelings/relationships rather than setting or complex world building). I was not expecting the sort of fluffiness and sugary feel of everything. It did feel as if the characters spent a lot more time discussing their feelings through dialogue and descriptions rather than actual development and that didn't win me over from the start.

I could have overlooked any personal preferences, had the story been engaging and addictive but I confess the flashback method got on my nerves a bit.
The story is alternatively told between present and past  and each protagonist tells one side of the story, Clark in the past, Noah in the present. I understand this is a good way to tell us how the characters met and how their relationship developed without it feeling like info dumping but it felt as if the story never had stability and if I were to put all past and present sections together, then the present one is definitely not interesting at all. Besides, there's a reason for Clark to have not been with Noah from the start as soon as the story begins and when we learn why? Ridiculous!

Noah and Clark can be seen as good characters by many readers, but for me they were not. I think the tone of the story was overly sugary which makes me see them as too much focused on their issues ad I feel more balance between their personalities and their lives was missing.
They felt like they were victims too much, in the sense they acted and had thought processes as if they were poorly dealt in life or something. But more than this, I guess it's the way the story is told that just didn't make me fee eager to know more. If this is the author's style and way of telling a story, I suppose I'll always think the characters are weakly presented and their story unappealing.

As the story moves along, the hows and whys of some situations come to life. I like angst and I like drama in books but I also like confident people or characters that act as grown ups, as conscious people and, frankly, both Noah and Clark were way too focused on sex while having somehow childish attitudes in some areas and I really didn't like being in their heads. 
It was not fun to read this book, nor was it the addictive emotional roller coaster I imagined.

To think about going through all this again - as I suspect the other books by the author will be similar in style - is not a hopeful scenario. I might try the book I originally wanted to read but I think that will only happen in a distant future.
I bet this has worked/will work for many readers but it was not for me.
Grade: 3/10

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