Friday, December 16, 2011

The Saturnalia Effect

The Saturnalia Effect by Heidi Belleau & Violetta Vane
Short Novella: 52pages
4 out of 5

Troy Khoury is serving a life sentence in Westgate prison for a robbery gone wrong. He just wants to keep his head down and do his time, but he runs afoul of an old-timer named Franchetti. Franchetti offers Troy a simple choice: kill fellow inmate Daniel Amato by Christmas in exchange for protection, or be tortured and raped to death by Franchetti's heavy, Pliers. Troy's no killer, though, and Daniel is as gentle and calm as can be. But a prison is a small place, and time is running out. Troy must decide how much he's willing to sacrifice before the choice is taken from him.
I spent hours in complete *ponder* over this novella. I don’t know if I will get this review right, but I will express why this unusual and deeply intense story is worth being read. I expected there to be the dark, because what else can you find in prison right? I expected a lot rape, violence of the worst kind, and some hope that this book would end happily. I was proven wrong in two out of three of them.

Troy Khoury is serving life in prison for a crime that isn’t even worth that much. That is what happens when a cop is killed and you were somehow involved. He is to suffer for his twin’s wrongdoing and the problem is his other half isn’t even there to serve the time with him. So he is in the worst possible place without the one person who made him whole. Troy is a bit on the pretty side, and he is fresh meat so the inmates are gunning for his ass (quite literally). When Troy is ordered to kill someone, he has decisions to make, either take someone’s life or become whore to the worst sort of men. Killing isn’t his MO but survival is.

His target Daniel is attractive, and luring him in with sex will not be the hard part because Troy finds himself attracted to the man. Its when Daniel starts to become more than a target, is where it gets hard. Their meeting is anticlimactic but it’s when they get together in the shower that I fizzled and burned in the chair I was reading in. My thoughts (shit this scene is hot and man it’s in the prison showers). So lets just say all the romantic shit ceases to exist in this book.  Troy is second guessing himself wondering if he has the guts to kill a man he might care for, but somehow his own life seems more important.

This story is only 50 pages long and there is a completely novel length of things to think about. Like Saturnalia a time celebrated just before Christmas, a time for lawlessness and opportunity to have something more if only for a time (basically a time to switch things up). I could believe in Saturnalia or I could question Troy’s mental stability after being incarcerated. He is a lonely kid who has to kill to survive in prison; he lost someone very close to him and has to spend the rest of his life in prison. Living in ones mind where there are, ‘pretty things’ is not so bad.

This is a book you will think about, and I guess the authors have done their job. I thought I got a neatly wrapped HEA, and I would have been happy with it. Though I would have just marked it off as *just another story*. Then it surprises you with a WTF moment, and you know it’s not just another story. Whether you love it or hate it. The illusion of a happily ever after is there but in the end it’s just that an illusion (maybe). What could possibly be a good outcome for two men who will live the rest of their lives behind bars. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for Daniel and Troy, no matter how much you wish otherwise. This makes the reading experience all that much harder, because you come to care for the characters. It’s a grim story but beautiful in its own way.
Overall, I really liked the story and the characters and though I want happiness for them. The reality is their might not be any, but at least they have each other (in a sense). It’s dark but offers some romantic and a little sweet. Its sexy in a straight-up push you against the wall and take what I want sort of way. Its many things but its what you the reader makes of it.  Every moment in this story could have been a fantasy of a scared and messed up boy, but what it makes you feel is entirely your own.

SideNote- As a cover slut, this one just makes me super happy *gawds I love it* 
4 Pants Off
Go Ahead Take Those Pants Off


*book provided by publisher*


  1. Thank you so much! But as for the ending, we ain't sayin' nothin'!

  2. *extremely sad face* I want to know, I am still going to keep pondering. Ponder.....

  3. Thanks for the review!
    I really want to check it out myself. >w<

  4. I think I totally missed something with this story and need to go back and re-read from the point where Troy is standing over Daniel. Your review made me see that I've looked at it too simply, too much at face value.

    I really liked the darkness in the story, but that was counterbalanced by the sweet romance with Troy and Daniel so it worked for me overall.

  5. Jenre I also have to go back and read from there. I feel like I am missing something inportant, some minor detail that I looked over. I could just say Troy is in a coma, or Daniel killed him. The possibilities are endless. I am really curious to see what others will think.

    You are right, it is very romantic. I am just lost in trying to figure it out @_@.


Go ahead and talk to me!