Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Justin and Damon have been in love since they met in high school years ago. The moment Damon saw Justin, he wanted the goodness that Justin exuded. The men are now married and Justin is now fully aware that Damon is only one part of the whole person. Damon has Dissociative Identity Disorder and for the last five years, it has been Blake, Damon’s alter, that Justin has been living with.
Justin and Damon’s earlier relationship was obsessive and co-dependent and an incident one night was the catalyst for trauma that threatened to break them. Justin tried hard to pick up the pieces of himself and their relationship, and when Damon couldn’t handle it, he left Justin with Blake. Damon is darkness and control and Blake is tender and warm and Justin craves both halves of his husband. And, after five years, Damon has reemerged. Except, Damon has no interest in coexisting with Blake.
Through intense therapy and Justin’s never-ending strength and love, the journey begins to merge Damon and Blake. Damon, who has suffered horrific trauma in his childhood, is not at all on board in the beginning and it’s a true battle to get him to want to accept change. Told through Justin’s POV as he is outnumbered in his life with one man, it will be a tough road for them all to survive the merge.
The darker books always catch my attention and C.P Harris is a new author to me as this is the author’s debut book. I have seen this book mentioned several times and this Reading Challenge was a great time to finally open it.
As you would expect from the description, this is a story that lives on the edge and can be a harder book to read. Damon suffered such horrific emotional and physical abuse as a child that his mind fractured and one day Blake emerged. When Justin met Damon, he had no way of knowing this at first, but Justin fell hard for Damon and then for Blake. If it sounds confusing, author C.P. Harris lays it out easily, although when the book opens it might take a moment to orient to the fact that Damon and Blake are both two halves of one person.
Justin and Blake are living successful lives and Justin tries to keep the trauma that he has suffered out of his mind. He has been living with Blake for years and not even Blake can feel Damon anymore. They rarely discuss Damon, as Justin feels he was the catalyst that sparked life changing trauma for Justin, but there are lies been told that Justin is not aware of.
This book is a lot of things and Harris really gets into the relationship Justin has with Blake and with Damon. Blake is the one that appears to be stable on the outside and is warm and tender, always putting Justin first. Damon is dark and possessive and obsessive and the hardcore and often violent intimate relationship Justin has with Damon is what Justin craves as well. But there is no reasoning with Damon and, while Damon loves Justin, he can’t express this. Damon has had no chance to process any of his trauma and his mind and emotions haven’t been able to evolve and process all of the grief—and there is a lot of horrible grief and trauma to process.
I liked this book most of the way through and was really caught up in the relationships Justin was having with Damon and Blake. It’s not easy at all to merge the two and Justin barely wavers his support of them, even though he is put through so much. The ending and wrap up stalled out for me for a few reasons. How Blake’s job was dealt with wasn’t thorough enough for me. In the beginning, we see him as Blake at work, which is all that the employees know. Then we’re told he’s there as Damon and then, as the merge starts happening, there is no further discussion, even if the staff are now referring to Blake as Damon and I felt Blake as a character got a little lost at the end. Also, the side characters weren’t balanced for me. There is a side story toward the end with one of Justin’s friends that took too much time away from more pivotal points with the men for me. Also, one of Damon’s friends, Ash, is a central part of his life and is spoken about often throughout the book, but we don’t learn much about him until further along.
Damon, Blake, and Justin give us a glimpse into a life that is not often seen from the inside. Their relationship was unique and it was an interesting journey to take with them. There will be more books in this series and I will be looking out for what those characters have to survive.
Note: Surviving the Merge is on sale for $0.99 on Amazon through the end of September.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for New-to-Me Author Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of FIVE $20 JMS Books bookstore gift cards (you can see the full event prize list here)! Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by NineStar Press: a Kindle Paperwhite loaded with 50 NineStar Press books! You can get more information on our Challenge Month here (including all the contest rules) and more details on New-to-Me Author Week here.
I bought the book but I’m waiting for a good moment to read it, because it seems intense. Thanks for the review.
Great that you have it. Some parts can be intense but interesting to read.
This is waiting for me on my kindle! I’m glad to see it get a good review
I have a copy of this, but I’m waiting to be in a better emotional place to read it.
Just bought a copy and I also will wait to be in a better, stronger emotional place to read it.
Great to see so many people have it already.
This does sound like a challenging read, Michelle. Thanks for your thoughtful review.
This sounds like a very interesting read. I will put it on my wishlist.
The second book in the series should be out soon too.
This book sounds so good. Thanks for the review.
Very intrigued by the review. Appreciate the review. I feel like it’ll be one of those stories that you get hungover on and it’s on sale at this moment? Win, I think.
I’ve heard so much about this! The story is super interesting.I really want to read it, but since I won’t to be able fully focus on it,I have to keep pushing it till I can finally finish some work.
I love a dark story… Thank you for bringing this one to my attention, Michelle!
This sounds very different from anything I’ve read before and I’m very intrigued. I might give this one a try!
I don’t think I can handle it, but it looks fascinating!
Oh man I’m not good with the darker stories. How Justin’s heart is pulled between the two different personalities probably makes for an interesting tale, but all just too dark for me. Thanks for the review.
Great review! I’m going to have to check this one out. I like the darker stories on occasion, and being a psych major this sounds right up my alley. We shall see! Thanks. =D
Wow this sounds so intense! It will make for a thrilling read
Not a book for me but thanks for the review!