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Posted April 26, 2015
I love this novella of love in a time of war, of being afraid to act on your feelings because you don't think the other can possibly feel the same and of course because in 1945 it wasn't exactly legal, especially in Nazi Germany. Felix the ace mechanic and Baldur the ace pilot is a great little love story. A few years ago I would have bypassed this tale because of it's length, or lack thereof. Then I was asked to read and review a novella by a friend and I realized how many great stories and authors I was missing out on because of my preference for long novels. I will still most likely choose to read a novel over a novella when faced with that choice but now, I'll always go back and read the short tale when finished with the longer one. This is one of those stories that I would have previously passed on but not anymore. Skybound is the first story by Aleksandr Voinov that I've read but I look forward to reading more.
Posted March 3, 2015
Posted May 24, 2013
What can I say about this book? My thoughts are all over the place. Hello scatterbrained Sara. This was my first solo flight with Aleksandr Voinov and I am again stunned by the beauty of a story. The writing in this…sigh…it was comparable to poetry. I read the first paragraph and next line walking up my stairs as I was heading to bed, aware of the summary and prepared for the battlement of the story. As I settled in quickly to the cadence of the words I was taken aback. I backtracked up to word one and started again. Read the entire first page and then read it five more times before I moved on. I love to be sucked into a book but this? This engulfed me completely in its beautiful prose. Do I sound too swoony? Oh well, deal with it. This book, this story deserves it.
"I’m normally counting the empty spaces. The absences. But I never count them in his Staffel. Nobody else exists to me when he lands. Everything stops existing when he takes off, as if he takes it all with him when he goes up there, to places I’ll never see again."
Felix is a mechanic, one of the “black men,” who work on the fighter planes during the war, who attends to the fighter pilots as well. One fighter pilot has caught his eye, Baldur Vogt, and Felix is secretly infatuated with the man. After a brief chat one night, a shared cigarette and an accident in which Baldur gets injured, the two men enjoy some time off the airstrip together upon Baldur’s request.
What starts out as seemingly as chance to get away from it all and a simple friendship soon turns into more. The more was told slowly, slowly and beautiful careful not to rush anything. I am one who loves a good love scene, a good hot and dirty scene but there are times when you get more with less. The simple gestures and words these men share had me blushing darker than a sting of dirty words tossed onto the page.
"I don’t want to admit to the childish fantasies I have about him. For me, he can walk on water, dance in the clouds. I know he can’t, really, but what he can and can’t do pales into nothing when I look at him."
Now of course I loved the story of Felix and Baldur coming together but what I fell for in this book beyond the poetry-esque prose…the detail. There is nothing better to me than a story that can entertain and teach at the same time. (I love it in music as well and compared this book to many early songs from The Police. As a young girl I was constantly looking up words Sting used to better understand the song.) I was intrigued by the different planes that were being flown, the German words used throughout the book and the general feel of what was happening. Whether it was intended or not, I learned a bit about Germany in 1945 from this story. It’s why it took me a few days to read it. I would read, and then visit Google and YouTube. Read and visit sites again.
Again, the detail, it was amazing; the sky full of birds made of metal taking off and landing, the sounds as they performed their essential duties, I could hear it. I could feel the run of the cloth against Felix’s hands as he tries to rid them of the oil. I could…okay, I will stop there. If you can’t tell by my ramblings that I loved this story, well you never will. It was fantastic though it was short and that ending left me wanting MORE! I will just imagine what happens after that last word and trust me I have a short story in my head of how it all plays out. I needed to do it or my OCD would drive me crazy.
Skybound is a story of two men finding each other amongst the chaos and destruction in a time that feels like the end of the world. This is a book that cannot be missed. That is all that needs to be said.
"If the world ends tomorrow, how will I go? Without ever having risked anything, or having done the one thing I can’t stop thinking about?"
Posted November 11, 2012
An extraordinary experience.
What can be said about such a piece of literature that hasn't been said before by readers before me? Not much, but I will attempt to do it justice.
Aleksandr Voinov is a genius. This is not news to me, but with this title he took it to whole other level. I am not a fan of historicals nor am I a war enthusiast, but I am fan of this story.
When a friend mentioned that this was a must read I didn't hesitate. We have shared some great books together and both admire the author's work. And in all honesty, I could not resist reading a story that takes place in 1945 and the main character's name is Felix. This was the year my father, Felix, was born and I wanted to learn more about the period.
So I embarked in my journey. And what a journey it was! Voinov took me back to 1945, into a world I had only read about in history books. He dragged me there and planted me in the middle of chaos, right into a war that knew no boundaries. I was a witness to the madness, the struggle and the conflict. I was captivated.
I met Felix and through his eyes and Voinov's words I went soaring. The emotions that were brought to the surface left me breathless. The insecurity, the longing, the wanting and the hurt Felix projected made me yearn right along with him, cringe at the unfairness of it all and brought a whole new understanding of a war that I really never paid attention to.
The way these characters connected felt so very real. A bond forged in the worst of scenarios, the romance was not lacking to me at all. I didn't miss the sex scenes, for their connection was so clearly outlined and their intimate moments were packed full of emotion. The world and the action, so well described, had me at the edge of my seat. I could imagine every plane, hear every engine and clearly see the chaos all around. It all came together beautifully - the conflict, the romance, the emotions and the action. And all this in 36 pages.
It was an extraordinary experience to say the least. So thank you Lisa for your recommendation. And thank you Mr. Voinov for giving me a glimpse of an event that shaped history and the world my father was brought into.
Posted October 24, 2012
I am not going to hide the fact that I am a fan of Aleks' work, but Skybound takes it to a whole new level. I can only describe it as one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. From the opening paragraph you know that this is going to be an amazing experience: <blockquote>When he comes down again, his plane is steaming like a war horse. It is cold up there, despite the heat of battle. We all rush to him. Few others’ hearts are racing like mine, I expect. Mine is rattling like a badly maintained engine. The harsh tack-tack sound is hollow and sad and more dangerous than empty ammunition boxes in the middle of a dogfight.</blockquote> The visualizations, descriptions and sounds that come off the page bring the story to life. In the final battle sequence I swear you can hear the planes buzzing by you. This is, however, a love story; one set in a time that did not recognize the kind of love our heroes had for each other. The journey from start to finish is at times heart-wrenching, but no true love story is worth it's weight otherwise. I highly recommend this book, and I regret that it will not achieve the accolades and attention it deserves because it is “genre fiction”. Whether you are a fan of m/m romance or not this book is not to be missed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 5, 2013
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