Zander has known Vadim since he was an abandoned kid in an orphanage where life was dark and bleak and painful and Vadim was the only good thing he had. Vadim then introduced Zander to Petyr and the three of them made their own family in the loneliest of places. Zander has been in love with Vadim since he was a child, but it seems Vadim will always be out of reach and Petyr is the one standing in his way. Zander severed their ties brutality one night and Zander has never gotten over the loss of Vadim.
When the men meet again years later, it is under more unfortunate circumstances. Zander is a successful defense lawyer and Vadim agrees to help as someone is trying to kill Zander. Petyr also returns and Zander knows that his appearance is suspicious and even dangerous, as Petyr now has connections to the Russian mafia. The visions Zander has are still there and his mental health is a battle that Zander doesn’t think he will ever be able to win. Zander’s adoptive father still demands everything from him and Zander’s life will never be his own. All Zander wants is some peace and he wants Vadim, but someone would rather see him die than ever allow that to happen.
Years of Silence is a dark, heavy book that spans years in the lives of Zander, Vadim, and Petyr. When we first meet Zander, it’s as a high profile defense lawyer and the emotion raging through him is clear and visible. His work takes over his life and, even though he is an adult, his adoptive father still controls every aspect of his life. The book is told with scenes from the past and the present and we get caught up in Zander’s life with a then and now aspect to it, as the timelines come together and overlap.
The writing here is prosey and soft, even given the harsher themes depicted. There is a good story here, but the structure of it made it difficult to get to that story. The book is long at close to 400 pages and I could have used a stronger edit in many areas. Zander is working on a case and we get paragraphs of the full state law that were not needed and there were other similar instances that included too much unnecessary detail that only overwhelmed the story. Parts of the book read as is if it was an incomplete translation and although the majority of the story was written in third person, there were sentences mixed in that shifted to first person and it was incredibly noticeable and jarring given the feel of the book. Some things also didn’t feel realistic to me. For example, there is a time when Zander and Vadim visit an abandoned building that had mostly burnt down 15 years prior, but the written material they needed was still safe and easy for them to find and view. Zander’s doctor also tells Vadim about Zander’s medical history over the phone, even though he has never met Vadim nor has the authority to do so. It was also difficult to follow the ages of the characters at different points with the timeline of events given. It was constantly one thing after the other in trying to work through all of this to get to the story.
Zander suffers from mental illness that is described in the blurb as “floral horror,” and I will make note of that as well without going into further detail on his condition. It’s something that has consumed Zander for years with violent and damaging consequences. Yet, when Zander is able to finally take some control back and starts to feel “better,” his symptoms change as well for the better and how the mental health storyline progressed did not sit well for me.
There is a twisty story here between Zander, Vadim, and Petyr and complicated romantic ties are present and this story is certainly more about enduring love than it is a romance. There is a lot of history between the men and it all comes together at the end, but it was so much all at once that it felt rushed to piece together all the moving parts to this story.
From my reading perspective, this book would have benefitted from a strong edit from start to finish since there was an interesting, twisty, darker story, but the structure made it difficult to enjoy.