on Jan. 18, 2014 :
Basically a very elaborate hurt/comfort fic, with three sympathetic main characters suffering from PTSD after going through terrible abuses. This book was not what I was expecting from the description, but it was a fairly pleasant surprise.
The supposed 'sequel' -- nearly double the length of Part 1 -- is included. In fact, the two parts don't seem ever to be sold separately; at least, I haven't found any evidence that they've ever been sold separately. So this is really just one long book, with The Surrogate functioning as a kind of long intro to get us to the longer Reincarnate, where Somerville spends more time exploring interpersonal dynamics.
The only functional way that the two Parts could be called different books is because of the POV change between them. The Surrogate really has two main characters, Nikolas and Jaime, and is told in the first person from Nikolas' POV. Reincarnate is told in the third person and switches main POV's between Jaime and Severin, who was barely glimpsed in The Surrogate although his presence loomed large. Once Reincarnate begins, we never get Nikolas' POV again. I rather missed it.
I found The Surrogate itself to be a page-turner. Jaime and Nikolas are trapped in an awful situation, and I really liked the pace at which the details of this situation are revealed. There are some aspects that were transparently contrived and unbelievable, but arguably not the actual situation itself (a credit to Somerville's skill at world-building). Although I enjoyed seeing these characters through the aftermath, in Reincarnate, it became quite tedious at times. A long, repetitive litany of guilt and blame and self-esteem problems. Alternately compelling and tedious -- a bit like reading/hearing about other people's effed up relationship problems in read life!
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
C S McClellan
on March 11, 2012 :
As the author says, this isn't a book for the faint-hearted. The characters suffer through incredible brutality, but find the strength, not only to survive, but to find happiness. It's a long hard road, and one that draws the reader into the emotional turmoil and the struggle of all three characters to recover a sense of their own worth and their value to the other two.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)
on July 3, 2010 :
I enjoyed both Surrogate and its sequel Reincarnate. Jaime and Seve and Nicholas all touched me deeply and I was desperately hoping that they will be able to overcome the horrible abuse that was done to them and have some happiness ahead of them and I am glad that they did. I have no idea of course if author had in mind the abuses that Catholic church engaged in when she describes the horrific practices the priests of the Temple engaged in, but this real life association definitely came into my mind. Guys struggles to leave the past behind and how hard and painful to make it actually happen affected me deeply.
And while I also think that the book should have mentioned three some relationship (not for my benefit, I knew it before I started the book), I also think that this is one of the very best, believable and touching description of forming such relationship.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on May 16, 2010 :
I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Surrogate' and would give it 5 stars.
I loved 'Kei's Gift', so was keen to read more of Ann's work.
Once 'Reincarnate' got going, I realised it was going to end up as a threesome, and I really don't feel comfortable with those. I'm never convinced they can work - one partner must feel left out, or the 'minor' partner in the triangle, at least to my way of thinking.
I wish the book had been labelled that way, because then I would have avoided buying it and probably gone for something else by Ann.
The writing was, as ever, excellent, and the characters well developed with a believable plotline. However, the relationship dynamic let it down for me, which is why I only give it 3 stars.
For anyone who likes threesomes and can stand the rather graphic descriptions of abuse, both physical and sexual that Jaime, Seve and Nikolas endure, they would find this a very good read.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on May 14, 2010 :
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)