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on May 06, 2013 :
* Same review as published on Goodreads
Cold Beautiful by Yamila Abraham, art by Himitsu Studio, is a yaoi short that's been on my 'to read' list since it was first published. For me, the attraction was the cover, which I might add, is quite well done.
Here's a brief synopsis. Cold Beautiful, from what I gathered, takes place in present day Russia, and is the story of Yolkov, a prison guard—a young, good-looking prison guard—who is attracted to one of the most dangerous criminals housed within the prison walls, Zhirov. Yolkov is totally rapt by Zhirov, partly because the man saved his life during a riot. Basically, Zhirov protected him from being gang raped. Incarcerated for life, Zhirov seems to have changed and longs for freedom—to see the sky and trees again. But, he also longs for Yolkov. Eventually, an opportunity crops up that neither man can ignore.
Government officials offer a chance to leave the prison by way of work on an island, which has become an environmental hazard—a dumping ground for hazardous waste. Yolkov is eager to give Zhirov the change of scenery he desires as payment for saving his life, and Zhirov wants the chance to be alone with Yolkov. Of course the warden is a backstabbing bitch, and there are strong undertones of Russian propaganda.
After a lengthy buildup, I found the characters Yolkov and Zhirov endearing, a pair of men I thoroughly enjoyed reading about. But, and here's the big but, the first chapter proved confusing because the story seemed to start in the middle, without a clear explanation. The second problem, just as Cold Beautiful had a weak start it had an equally weak ending. After such a bittersweet romance, I'd expected Yolkov and Zhirov to share in some type of victory, but the conclusion was unworthy of these men. I felt as if I'd been robbed, that the author got tired of writing and just did what she had to in order to finish the book.
I give Cold Beautiful 3 stars—Yolkov and Zhirov were wonderful, the sex was hot, and Himitsu Studio did an excellent job with the cover. As for the plot, though it had great potential, sadly, it turned out to be a disappointment.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)