Title: Vassily the Beautiful
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Characters: Vassily Nikolayevich Belikov, Sumereki Silka
Sub-Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Vassily Belikov, composer and pampered son of privilege, suffered neurological damage in the accident that killed his father. Resentful of people treating him as an invalid, he lives as a recluse, dependent on his mother. All that changes the day she brings home a new husband with two sons of his own.
When deep-space pirates capture Vassily’s mother, he’s left to the mercy of his cruel, amoral stepfather. Fighting addiction, fear, and his own physical shortcomings, he’s forced to seek out the criminal mastermind Baba Yaga for a crucial piece of equipment. While she agrees to deal with him if he beats his Exoticus addiction, paranoia and mysterious intentions infuse her household. Drawn to her fierce, suspicious youngest son, certain his actions are all carefully measured, Vassily must find the courage to face both his fears and his desires if he expects to survive.
Whew! After reading this book I feel like I’ve just gotten off a rollercoaster of angst, adventure and a beautiful romance. I admit the cover art is what really appealed to me at first. I think it’s stunning and it captures the main hero, Vassily perfectly. But there are times when I get drawn into reading a book because of its gorgeous cover and in the end I’m disappointed. I’m very happy to say, that in this case, it’s not true. The content within this book is just as beautiful as the artwork, so in my book, that’s almost perfection.
For the first hundred pages of or so, I was a ball of nerves. Vassily is a smart, talented sweet man who is recovering from an accident that killed his father. Even though Vassily survived, he suffers from physical damages and mental ones as well. Because of his injuries, his mother is determined that he stay in her care and her control. Since she travels a lot she surprises Vassily one day with a new husband and two adult step-brothers. Vassily is not happy with this new arrangement, but since he’s determined to not disappoint his mother, he tries to do what he can to accept them. As soon as she has to leave on business, Vassily is quickly shown how cruel and awful his stepfather really is. He brutally forces Vassily to take a very addictive drug, knowing that his stepson will always crave it for the rest of his life. Vassily is basically used as a lab rat, while his stepfather tweaks the drug every time he forces him to use.
When his stepfather needs some vital equipment to make his formula perfect, he send Vassily out to find Baba Yaga with a note and a warning to Vassily that he must not return home until he gets what he wants. Alone and sick from withdrawals from the drug, Vassily is soon found by Baba and her three sons, and she insists that they clean Vassily up and get the drug out of his system before she’ll do any business with him. As he is going through withdrawals, he becomes close with two of Baba’s sons, and becomes fascinated with the biggest and most surly one, Sumereki.
You’ll have to read the book to find out the rest of the story. I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to like this book at first. Poor Vassily goes through so much in the beginning that I began to wonder how much more he could take. He’s such a likable man, but a little bitter and resentful of having to be babysat all the time because of his physical limitations. Still I really empathized with him and instantly found him to be a fascinating character. I also appreciated how strong Vassily really was, and I’m not really talking about physical strength but in mental strength. As the book progresses, and under the careful guidance of Sumereki and his two brothers, Vassily really grows into his own man. He learns to stand his ground and to fight for what he wants and believes in. I really loved Vassily and I cheered him on every time he worked through something he once thought he’d never be able to do.
Sumereki is another fascinating character in this book. He’s growly and considers himself unlovable and not worthy of being touched by others. He is strong and unique because of his genetic tampering. He is immediately attracted to Vassily, but there’s also something about the pretty man that brings out Sumereki’s protective streak. I loved watching Vassily tear down the walls Sumereki had put around his heart and see the lovely man he really was on the inside. These two men really were perfectly made for each other and I loved watching their relationship grow into something very special indeed.
I really loved this book! I loved the adventure and the different twists and turns the plot has as the book progressed. There were times I wanted to smack some sense into some of the characters. (I think his mother makes a horrible decision more than once.) But after the nail-biting angst in the beginning of the book I ended loving the romantic and sexy-sweet love story between to very likeable and desirable heroes. I HOPE there will be more written about these characters in the future, *cough* Ras and Pol have their own story *cough* because I would to read more of this interesting world and amazing heroes in the future.
Reviewed By: Gabbi