I could give this 3.5 stars, based on the fact that the first half of this book really was beautifully written and incredibly touching...The second half, I still am not sure how I would rate it...I feel like I read two books today.
This was the story of Gareth and Evin. Gareth is a boy who lives in the shadows, he was born different, a monster his parents said, his skin is green and his eyes glow. His parents won't let him be seen seen in the daylight, so he must hide and watch the people in his village from afar. There is one boy in particular, Evin, who he is fascinated by, Evin is lovely and Gareth longs to know him.
Gareth and Evin are boys who are prisoners of circumstances. Gareth is unloved, abused and humiliated by people that should love him unconditionally. Evin is a boy with urges and desires that make him a criminal in his village, and those who know about his desires, use them as a way to abuse and humiliate him sexually.
One night Gareth intervenes as Evin is being hurt, and from there they begin a friendship that turns into love. Gareth's voice during this time of sexual and emotional discovery with Evin, is one of the most touching things I've read. His awe, his wonder, his guilelessness, lack of self-awareness and his absolute sincerity were a thing of beauty. I smile just thinking of his reactions.
Gareth had never been touched, and with Evin he discovered the connection he could have with someone else. At the same time, Evin found that with Gareth he could touch and give pleasure in a way that would fulfill him too. They healed each other. I just loved the idea that no matter the abuse, the heartache, the pain, people can still save a place in their hearts, that is open, and pure and full of love for the person that can find it. They were in love and they were happy. Suddenly their world was shattered. They had to escape.
This is where I lost Gareth and Evin, and was thrown into another story, and never really got them back. I will say this, I appreciated the author's efforts in creating a world that was interesting, creative and magical. But there was so little of that in the first half of the book, that it took a while for me to reorient myself...The world creation and the sub-plots were so layered that I lost the Gareth and Evin I loved, and to me THEY were the book. I can't say this book disappointed me, it didn't. It just went in a direction I did not expect, and honestly did not want.
In the end, I would still recommend this book, if only for the fact that Gareth is a character well worth reading. I wish this book would have had much more of him. The world was interesting, it read like a fairy tale at times, and there were seriously fresh and ingenious moments.
This is the first novel I read by this author, and I will read his other book. He made a brilliant and devastatingly charming character in Gareth. I look forward to seeing who else I can get to know in his stories.