Strain, A Strain Novel

Strain, A Strain NovelReread from 9 5 15 9 9 15.Yup, still enjoyed it Can t wait for the sequel Men are most complex, because we think with two heads.That s what I thought reading this book I will go into that later, but Strain was exactly how my pants felt while reading.Anywho.In this post apocalyptic world, a viral plague has swept the world as the result of a biological warfare gone wrong The result of this are the creation of superhuman soldiers named Jugs, short for Juggernauts , the terminal disease known as Rot, and manifestation of feral humans known as Revs not zombies Our especially young, and naive 19 year old Rhys Cooper, has been holed up in a monastery when the Revs attacked He becomes infected with the blood of the Revs, before the Jugs were able to save him With the possibility of either dieing from Rot, or become a Rev, his only salvation is to become infected with the same viral strain that created the Jugs, and will impart immunity to Rot and becoming feral Of course, this saving virus is best transmitted through butt sex Several times a day over six weeks Can I get a prescription for that.At this point, my two heads weren t in agreement My big head rolled its eyes at this, not expecting the equivalent of an omega werewolf orgie among a den of alphas The last thing I wanted to read about is a naive virgin boy being passed around the dinner table like the salad bowl at Olive Garden Yet at the same time, my little head So yes, there s the fact that Rhys gets to have butt sex with all these hot super soldier guys I m not a fan of this, as I m usually a one on one or even a one on one on one kind of guy But what saved this story was the fact that it managed to not feel like some cheap porno shot in a post apocalyptic Super 8 Motel In all seriousness, the author did a good job in making the act feel like a necessity for Rhys to survive It seemed obvious that Rhys only felt an emotional attachment to one of the guys, the 43 year old and very alpha male possessive leader Darius, which allowed the romantic in me breath a little easier At the same time, I felt that there really wasn t really much of a basis for Rhys and Darius feelings for one another since most of their interactions were sexual as opposed to having conversations with one another After a while, I shrugged it off At least they started getting to know one another in the later half of the book Readers should also note that there is a strong d s relationship here, including other kinks.The world building was excellent As I mentioned earlier, this isn t really a zombie apocalypse as there are no zombies Just feral humans, super soldiers, and the Rot Most of the first half of the story focused a lot on Rhys emotional hangups, which grated on my nerves Yes, he s young and naive and was abused But I just couldn t, for the life of me, understand where he was getting at And I don t think he did either.Talk about annoying.But he eventually spelled it out later in the book and became likeable Thank goodness And Darius asides from his ponytail , was hot as hell Very aggressive alpha male personality that may not win awards for originality, still made my pants steam There was also a nice cast of secondary characters that lend enough presence for readers to become emotionally attached mainly, the other members of Darius team.There was a bit of action towards the middle and end of the book And I was even shocked to find myself getting tearful at the end.So yeah, lots of over the top sex butt sex with five people in a row without feeling too porny Emotions from I am horny to WHERE S THE KLEENEX of the former than the later A nice cast of characters and a well constructed dystopian world Overall DNF at 64%That s it I just can t take it any.Where the hell is this story going Rhys is a 19 year old teen who spent his teenage years in hiding in a monastery after a zombie apocalypse destroyed society as we know it.However, the zombie virus is actually a bio weapon gone bad And wasn t it ridiculous how the scientific background of the virus was designed EXACTLY to justify the torture that Rhys was supposed to go through in this storyThere are several strains of the virus The original carriers soldiers are infected with a strain that turns them supernaturally strong, but if they are wounded and their blood comes in contact with air, the virus mutates into a different strain that infects others through the air, turning them into catatonic living corpses who want nothing but kill and eat flesh Those zombies called revenants can also infect humans through blood contact which is then a third strain Yeah.Anyway, Rhys is attacked by revenants and is potentially infected by them The soldiers that come to his help now have the choice of either killing him right away before he turns into a revenant or infecting him with their own strain to turn him into a powerful Juggernaut soldier who is immune to the zombie virus And this infection can only be done through sex because, see above, if it s through blood, the virus would mutate again and turn deadly for Rhys.So how do they solve the problem Lots and lots and lots of sex with all male soldiers I mean Even worse, though Rhys, who just lost his ENTIRE family is now gang raped by countless soldiers who expect him to enjoy himself they re doing him a favor, after all And while Rhys just wants to die of embarrassment, he even realizes submissive tendencies about himself that the soldiers leader, Darius, exploits massively.By the time I decided to stop reading, I didn t even care any where this story would go Would Rhys become a full on sub and live a life in a BDSM context Would he stop being everyone s sex toy and settle down with one guy I just don t care.Oh, and there was a zombie apocalypse Oops, with all that sex, one might almost forget However, what REALLY bugged me was the fact that this felt like a depiction of all the ways you could sexually transmit HIV The similarities between the Alpha virus and HIV were uncomfortably obvious and that s something that really rubbed me the wrong way1 star 3.5 stars Well that was something different While I like me some kinky sex, I don t like dub con or non con, I don t usually like the darker reads, and I m certainly of a fan of monogamous relationships than menage or partner sharing With all of that, I was expecting to have some issue with the sex content of this book However, that ended up being my favorite part of the story Huh What I ended up having issues with was the the characters themselves Who ve guessed it I ll start by talking about what I liked When I say that I don t like dub con or non con, I mean that I don t find anything sexy about rape or people who commit acts of rape However, this book really wasn t like that Rhys, the MC, contracted a fatal virus from the Revs aka zombie like creatures in an attempt to save his sister and nephew When he is rescued, he finds out that his only chance of survival is to contract another virus that may counteract the Rev virus The second virus alpha strain is only transmitted through sex and so in order to save him, they have to have lots and lots of sex with him oh yeah, baby Now, Rhys agrees completely and each of the men that has the Alpha strain are sweet and caring when they come to have sex with him When Rhys complains and barely complies, I would hardly call it non con It is hard to explain, but it didn t come across as malicious or unwilling, if that helps This book is pretty kinky though and I loved that about it I particularly loved Joe and Tony and their kinks view spoiler I love a humiliation kink scene hide spoiler Never have I a read a book that so highlights the anguished relationship I have with my enjoyment of rape fics Make this M f and I d be having a conniption fit Seriously, people Rhys has to be gangraped for 8 weeks or HE LL DIIIIEEEE This is so much wrong An Antonov full of wrong Yet rarely, if ever, have I been so turned on There is something very, very amiss with me and I should not be allowed to mingle freely with the general population.And then I cried my way through the end of the book like a tiny baby You should see my pile of tissues Because Gormley made me care like a bastard sniffs Not a five star because I was dissatisfied with the very end of the book view spoiler I wanted a soppy fucking scene hide spoiler I am fine by the warnings, but not stories that romanticize violent and abusive relationships Rapefics are rarely love stories Entirely subjective and in depth discussion to follow.The novel follows the experience of Rhys Cooper, a young man exposed to the virus that is turning humans into revenants i.e., zombies , and the squad of soldiers who take him on and offer him a chance for survival Survival comes with a caveat, however the virus Rhys must contract in order combat the first can only spread through sex repeatedly, often, and with many partners to give him the best odds of survival Despite its great pretense, Strain did not live up to its potential After I read an interview with the author, I pre ordered this in a heartbeat Gormley said,what would happen if M M intercourse was if not life giving in the way we consider M F intercourse to be then at least life SAVING, a very positive, important force I also wanted to deal with the psychological aspects of the mate or die fuck or die trope, where a person is forced to set whatever their personal feelings about sex aside in order to do what they must to survive, and what can happen when the intimacy of sex instead becomes about the necessity of survivalAmazing, right What a fantastic idea to run with I loved the setting of this story, loved the plot, the writing, the characters all of it, really But I can t say I loved this book The love between Rhys and Darius, the soldier who saved him and grows attached to him, is impossible to root for It saddens me, because there is so much richness in this story to explore between the zombies humans, civilization chaos, humanity inhumanity, and how it s exemplified in forced sexual intercourse to save Rhys s life He s living at the intersections of intimacy, endurance, shame and lust What lengths must he and others go to in order to save his life How much is one s humanity worth if it s ignored or forgotten for the greater good But instead of solely working with these themes, Gormley tacks on a D s relationship that brings it all to a crashing halt Rhys s desire to submit calls into question the entire set up It seems, dare I say it, convenient, that he enjoys having choices stripped away That being demeaned, fucked in public, raped, and otherwise brutalized is really okay, because, you know, he got off and it ll save his life WTF, man I wish Gormley had just stuck with the psychological aspects of sex without intimacy, and what it did to a romantic 19 year old virgin with an iron core will to survive Other authors such as Manna Francis and Lisa Henry have used BDSM to explore intimacy in fantastic ways, but here it s just So Uncomfortable In the book, they mention that in a gentler time they would have set up boundaries But for Rhys, there are no safe words, and his treatment never stops His perpetrators are human enough to see the wrongness of raping him their actions, and we re supposed to empathize with them, with Rhys It s an imperfect world, they say It is what it is, and that s just not good enough for me.Because satisfying a kink does not mean love Rhys and Darius can enjoy the best, kinkiest sex in the world, but it does NOT mean that they belong together, or can trust each other, or should ride off into the sunset The relationship here was a case of Stockholm Syndrome Hero worship Victimization Rape culture How could I root for their kisses and cuddles when they never deal with the trauma, with the shame, with the many times Rhys said no Darius essentially raped Rhys until he loved his rapist, and it left a very, very, bitter taste in my mouth view spoiler It really all hinges on Gormley s justification that Rhys s rape is akin to pushing a person from a burning building to a river below Hurting someone to save his life This is the grey area, the nature of dubious consent As I understand it, a rare person could conceivably forgive his rapist under these circumstances BUT That is in no way a romantic gesture, it does not make the rapist a good person, and it does not simply erase the traumatic memories of assault Using the analogy in a romantic context cinched the Stockholm Syndrome nature of theirum love hide spoiler Terrific I had my doubts about this because I m not a zombie fan, and I considered the set up really risky TV writers sometimes use the phrase coinkydink to refer to an overly convenient set of conditions, in this case a deadly virus that can only be cured possibly by having as much sex with as many people as possible I ve read a bunch of Evangeline Anderson stories with a similar idea e.g a demon who must have tons of oral sex with a woman or he ll implode a vampiric alien who must bite his severely needle phobic lady love or she ll die of a virus and they drove me bonkers But Gormley takes a basically implausible idea and uses it as a stepping stone for a consistently sensitive, intelligent exploration of sex, desire, trust, inhibition, power, shame the list goes on Given the essentially dub con premise, the story is not as dark as I was expecting, but for once that was a plus, because Gormley avoids the exploitative potential in favor of a mellow pacing that really allows us to get to know and care about her characters not just Rhys and Darius but a small crew of wonderful secondaries who create a very lived in feel to the whole story There s a fair amount of encounter group style dialogue as therapy or narrated reflection, but the insights were so astute that again I didn t mind at all Examples You made me do something I had to do but couldn t It s like Like what Darius question was a hoarse whisper Like shoving someone out the window of a burning building into a river far below Darius could tell himself he was saving Rhys s life all he wanted, but the fact was, he liked that power differential too much for it to ever be right You can t just go half in with a kid who doesn t know how to play the game so that you have all of the authority and none of the responsibility I m pretty much a sucker for most D s stories and dark fics, but I save my admiration for authors who go further than just tossing out some kinky acts for heat or shock value and actually explore the complex and contradictory impulses that underlie these sometimes unwelcome desires That Gormley accomplishes such a nuanced, respectful exploration within the unlikely context of a Zombie Apocalypse is triply impressive Highly Recommend. This is one of the those books that I wanted to think about before writing a review and now I feel like time is stealing it away The feelings are evanescing Who you fuck and how you do it has jack shit to do with whether or not you re a decent guy What I liked 1 The Journey format2 Sizzling kink What I didn t like 1 The Yo yo conflict Rhys takes us on2 Poor judgement about another character creating the main conflict later.All of this is made complicated and enriched by the discussion with friends about consent, dubious consent and non consent How people interpret the points really messes with parts of the plot and I haven t even tried to analyze the legal differences of our three separate countries to understand our respective positions Loved that the book evoked debate Overall, it was entertaining and while a couple plot points and deliberate misguidance creating the conflict was less than stellar in my opinion, it was still a highly diverting book.Favorite quote You ain t no plastic doll, boy, he growled, inches away from Rhys s lips You just need to be handled right. I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.I have to say that I really enjoyed this book, but I also think enjoyed is almost the wrong word It is a dark, often hard book The relationships aren t pretty, or sentimental, or really all that romantic People come together out of necessity, out of situation, and out of convenience There is a huge age gap between our main characters There are elements of non con, dub con, and hard kink Elements that would have usually sent me running in the opposite direction, but in this book it all works for me What makes these elements make sense to me is the setting of this book The world we know has fallen away, and they are in a much darker, harder place I appreciated how much colder, and practical people have become It fits the setting, and seems much authentic that some of the hearts and flowers stories zombie I ve read The plot was nicely paced, and I liked how much I found out about the history of what happened and the military unit along the way naturally instead of one large info dump I liked the depth to the character No one, not even the secondary characters, were as simple as they first appeared I liked that the I got to know characters, the I appreciated their depths, and complexities I also have to say I love the strength to the female characters It was nice to see them hold their own, and survive as best they can No damsels in distress in sight A strong, dark read that felt authentic and genuine I appreciated the ending, it fit the feel of the story without feeling too bleak or hopeless. In A World With Little Hope And No Rules, The Only Thing They Have To Lose Is ThemselvesRhys Cooper Is A Dead Man Cut Off From The World Since Childhood, He S Finally Exposed To The Lethal Virus That Wiped Out Most Of The Human Race Now His Only Hope For Survival Is Infection By Another Strain That Might Confer Immunity But It S Sexually Transmitted, And The Degradation He Feels At Submitting To The Entire Squad Of Soldiers That Rescued Him Eclipses Any Potential For Pleasure Except With Darius, The Squadron S Respected, Capable LeaderSergeant Darius Murrell Has Seen Too Much Death And Too Little Humanity He S Spent A Decade Putting Plague Victims Out Of Their Misery And Escorting Survivors To A Safe Haven He Can Never Enjoy He D Rather Help Rhys Live Than Put Him Down, So When Rhys Can T Reconcile Himself To Doing What S Necessary To Survive, Darius Is Forced To Save Rhys In Spite Of HimselfBut With Each Passing Day, It Looks Less And Less Likely That Rhys Can Be Saved Which Means That Soon Darius Might Have To Put A Bullet In The Head Of The One Person In Years Who Reminds Him Of What It Means To Be Human 4.5 Stars One of my favourite sub genres within M M Romance is Post Apocalyptic novels, I love the raw grittiness of them, where life is stripped down to baser instincts and the most intrinsic and essential need to just survive becomes paramount, mix that with some D s power exchange and BDSM elements, throw in a slow burning, intense and extremely erotic relationship between two MC s and I m ecstatic Especially, when the author does it all to perfection and Amelia Gormley did just that, she captured my attention and sated my imagination and need for dark and depraved reads which hit all my kink buttons From the very first page I was captivated and my heart held hostage by both Darius and Rhys I loved them It s a remarkable story and the plot development and world building is such that you are there, you can see it all with your own eyes and you can feel the desolation of humanity when clinging onto any tiny sliver of hope becomes all consuming, and that is exactly what this book was to me, ALL CONSUMING for the duration I just couldn t put it down I want MORE, really I do, and I will get to that at the end because I can see some serious stalking taking place until Ms Gormley concedes and writes a book 2 So if you read the blurb, you may think this is going to be some kind of fuck fest and in essence I suppose it is, because it s a do or die situation There are also elements of non con and dub con in this book along with a little knife blood play which isn t to everyone s taste, but of course my depraved mind just soaks it all up Having said that, there is so much to this book, it s about the emotional and psychological impact on our two MC s of Rhys s possible death and their fight for his life, with the uncertainty of it all creating a bond between them, giving that glimmer of hope for the future But Rhys s survival touched than just Darius, because now all the Jugs were invested in ensuring Rhys contracts the virus needed for immunity.It was agonising to watch Rhys, inside he was just a child that wants love and affection, a boy that still needed to grieve for his lost family, he is sweet and idealistic with a innocence that should have been nurtured I had a constant knot and ache in my chest for his desperate loneliness Now he has to fight for his life with sex, a lot of sex, as in several times a day sex, with a parade of soldiers the humiliation and degradation of it making him shut down emotionally because Darius was the only man he wanted, with Darius Rhys comes alive inside whilst the others leave him feeling numb.Darius is a leader, stoic, guarded and tough with comfort and compassion unfamiliar to him, hardened as he is by the harsh and stark realities of their existence But Rhys ignites something within Darius he finds hard to control, the Alpha strain the Jugs were infected with, kicks in his dominate side, causing overwhelming jealousy and a need to protect Conflicted and fearful of his sexual desires that seem to have become deviant in nature because of Rhys s responsiveness and need to be controlled, he withdraws Which of course causes all kinds of conflicting emotions in Rhys, struggling with his conscience because of his own desires and zero life experiences with which to draw from except for a zealot priest with a god complex and his son who both physically and mentally abused him.This is a very emotional journey for both men, who seem to have found a connection, a trust and understanding in a world where they are surrounded by devastation and death, where every moment is precious, they at last have something other than surviving the next day to hope for.Strain ends on a HFN, but as I said earlier, I wanted I wanted to see their intimacy and passion grow, I wanted from Darius, to see into his heart and watch him totally let himself go and just love and I wanted to see how Rhys would fit into life at the Fort because there are a whole host of great secondary characters in this book that I also want from I went through hell and back with these two men, I fought revs and unfriendlys with them, I sweat blood and tears and also walked every god damn mile with them I was filled with nervous anxiety and apprehension and just when I felt the calm, it was over GUTTED This book is a five star read, without a doubt, It s excellent and if I knew there was a book 2 on the horizon then it would be up there on my fav shelf but that little niggle of wanting , actually forget that, I NEED MORE, is what s holding it back from the five stars it so deserves So Amelia, I may become a woman possessed until I get what I need

Amelia C Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4th grade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor She s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real life interest in angst, kink, social justice

[Reading] ➻ Strain, A Strain Novel By Amelia C. Gormley –
  • ebook
  • 375 pages
  • Strain, A Strain Novel
  • Amelia C. Gormley
  • English
  • 28 February 2019
  • 9781626490710

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