Unsettling yet Compelling Romance

Close Liaisons  - Dima Zales, Anna Zaires

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.


My Initial Reaction…

Close Liaisons was right up my alley. It’s a really upsetting romance that made me feel uncomfortable at times, and yet I felt very compelled to continue reading.


The Characters…

Mia is a really well-written character. She is an average girl living an average life as a college student when she meets Korum, one of the Krinar that have invaded earth, and he sets his mind on having her. She feels intensely uncomfortable with him – not just because he’s an alien, but because of the way he makes her feel and most importantly, because she’s basically a prisoner – even though there is a veneer of freedom. The struggle that she goes through with her own emotions and how to deal with Korum is great – she’s constantly second guessing herself, caring for him and fearing him all at once.


Korum is also captivating – I just can’t decide what I want from him, a bit like Mia. He is so entitled it pisses you off. And yet he’s hot and dangerous (which, let’s face it, can be hot).  He does not need Mia to change him and he’s completely unforgiving for who he is. In real life that would probably irritate the shit out of me, but in a novel it just makes him the ultimate alpha character. There were moments where I thought I saw – or perhaps hoped for – a soft emotional underbelly, like when he tends to Mia’s injuries or massages her; I’m not sure what to think of those moments, I think he’s a character with a lot of depth to be exposed in future books.


The Story…

The world building was one of the more enjoyable pieces for me, in part because it’s just so creative. We’re taken to a place not far from our present and very recognizable, minus one big exception: there are aliens living among humans, called the Krinar. I should say living openly among humans, because they’ve been around from the start – from planting the cells that gave Earth life to guiding our evolution. They are an very unsettling god-like presence, because they look like humans – but are also very clearly not human. They are evolutionarily more advanced in every way, plus they feed (for pleasure, not necessity) on human blood. Yep – we’ve got extraterrestrial vampires! How cool is that?


The Krinar have mostly integrated themselves into human society by keeping to themselves and, while some have a problem with them and others practically worship them, most seem to just go on with their lives blissfully ignoring their presence. That’s what Mia did, until Korum becomes interested in her. And Mia is trapped. He’s stronger than her and she knows there’s no hope of fighting him. And there’s a part of her that’s also intensely attracted to him and doesn’t want to resist. And he is not interested in her will – he won’t physically hurt her – but he basically owns her.


I cannot express this any other way, so please excuse my language – but the dynamics of this were so well written that it was a total mind fuck.  For me as a reader and Mia as the person experiencing it. I was so incredibly uncomfortable with some of these romantic moments and at other times I really liked Korum and others I just hated him. And Mia – as I’ve already gushed above- is such a complex character, her feelings really propel this story forward. When combined with the work Mia starts to do for the resistance movement, things get very intense. She’s in a very vulnerable dangerous position, with feelings that make it more complicated than it already was.



Concluding Sentiments…

The story really pulled me along – but it was a story for me that was built mostly on character interactions and the emotions that governed those moments than an actual plot (which I love).  Things get intense – very sexually explicit and in uncomfortable ways because of the dynamics of Korum and Mia’s relationship – but I do recommend it if you enjoy reading emotionally uncomfortable and distructive relationships. I do – because I can’t help but cheer and hope that they’ll morph into something more, which is why I’ll definitely be reading book 2.

Source: http://fantasyismorefun.com/2013/11/close-liasons-anna-zaire-coyer-book-review.html