For Liam, no job is impossible. But this particular one is more important all the others. If he can pull it off, this job will make him enough money to get his friend desperately needed medical help and to set them free. All he has to do is steal an ancient dagger and not get caught. Of course things don’t go as planned.
Vincent is both outraged and amused by the audacity of the young man who dares to break into his home. He captures the thief, planning to interrogate him, but instead realizes that Liam is destined to become a part of his life. As Vincent and Liam struggle to untangle the web of lies between them, they must deal with enemies, the harsh realities of their life, and their own, broken memories. It won’t be easy, but it might just save them both.
The Acrobat was…challenging to review. It tends to rely to heavily on tired clichés and characters that never fully develop. It starts off well and we’re introduced to Liam as he struggles to teach his hapless friend Mal the art of pick-pocketing. Predictably, it doesn’t go well and Liam ends up working for a less than reputable boss. His actions are noble. He thieves to protect Mal and his devotion to his friend is admirable. We know he had a rough childhood, but Liam never feels like a complete character. We’re just given bits and pieces of him and expected to fill in the rest. We aren’t even told how he gets his nickname, The Acrobat. We have to assume it’s because of his skill at thievery, but it’s one of many holes in a very uneven, well-trod plot.
Vincent reads like a caricature of any old vampire ever written. There isn’t much originality to him and it’s never clear why he and Liam care about one another. A small part of these problems may stem from the fact this is a translation, but the bigger issues come from poor character development and a plot that never evolves beyond a very simplistic format.
One of my biggest issues with The Acrobat is that is filled to the brim with child abuse and dubious consent. The child abuse is told as a part of Liam’s past, which is understandable. But literally everyone in his life or that he meets seems to be obsessed with sexually abusing young children. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, yet never treated with the depth it deserves. From the start, Liam is Vincent’s prisoner and their relationship is imbalanced. Liam is quite capable of verbally defending himself, but their sexual encounters are borderline rape. Liam does not say no, but nor did I feel he was ever in a place to do so. I won’t call it sexual assault outright, but nor was it as consensual as it should have been. I realize that dubious consent is a sub genre that some readers enjoy, but I’m not one of them.
The Acrobat failed to develop beyond its rather crude and simple beginnings. Neither Liam nor Vincent is a fully formed character and the book is littered with banalities and a plot that founders from the start. I can’t recommend this one, especially if you have triggers for child abuse or dubious consent.