My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon.com
This is book #2 of a series and must be read in order.
I received a free review copy courtesy of the publisher.
Dominic and Michael continue their secret relationship between pupil and teacher in this, the second book of the Acclamation series. After tragedy strikes Dominic at the end of the first book, he has to learn to cope with his grief. Michael is no stranger to losing a loved one, and yet he watches as Dominic shows a darker side of himself. Worse, the other students at school are starting to suspect Dominic is gay. Will Michael and Dominic be able to keep their relationship alive and under the radar?
Reclamation has the same excellent writing style we saw in the first book. Everything is richly detailed, from Michael’s life as a teacher, to his feelings and thoughts on Dominic. In this book we get to see a little more of who Michael is outside of his relationship and his other friends, including his dead lover’s mother Makoto, a very forward Japanese woman who says exactly what is on her mind. We get to learn about Michael’s poor relationship with his father as well.
This book is a much more difficult read than the first one. While the first book details the warm glow of falling in love, Reclamation deals with the darker themes of losing a loved one, anger in the face of grief, and first time sex. Dominic and Michael argue for the first time, which was a very painful moment as Dominic throws everything in Michael’s face.
This book is also a lot more sexual. Knowing that Dominic wants him, Michael is a lot more confident in his approach. The sex scenes are well-written, but at times I felt the entire focus of the book (especially the second half) was Dominic losing his virginity. The author teases the reader by having Dominic hold out on sex over Lent, and while it is a milestone in their relationship, I felt there was a little too much importance placed on the act of penetration. The final scene was sweet and loving, but there were times in the middle where I just wanted them to get on with it. Their reasons for holding back seemed arbitrary at best, especially since they seemed to skirt around the rules and engage in phone sex and other sexual acts whenever they felt like it.
I also wasn’t particularly fond of the drug scene. While in real life I don’t care what people do in their personal time, I felt like Michael was too eager to make Dominic stay even though he wanted to leave. A piece of me started to question if Michael’s influence on Dominic really is a good thing for Dominic in the end. It was the only time in the series so far where the age difference between the two protagonists bothered me.
Despite my minor complaints, this was still an excellent book, just not a five star read based purely on the content. Not every relationship can be happy all the time and sex is a big deal for a lot of people. I do wonder where the third part will take the pair, especially as Dominic is set to attend Oxford and someone in this book finds out about their relationship. The cracks in their secrecy are starting to show and I’m looking forward to the next part with baited breath.