Shatterproof by Xen Sanders – my review
Shatterproof is a wonderful story of life, death, devotion, vulnerability, acceptance, falling in love, figuring your stuff out and trying to live with your inner demons.
Paramedic and ethereal Saint meets Grey the suicidal artist. Saint is afraid to die and Grey is afraid to live. The two men choose to face death together.
They make a contract that leads makes their mutual attraction develop into awkward sexual tension, love and respect for boundaries. Saint doesn’t want to be loved but Grey sees him for who he is and loves him anyways. Sadly one of them is cursed to die if Saint cannot kill Grey, who wants to die anyways. Saint just wants to know why.
Shatterproof’s main focus is a message about trying to live when you suffer from depression and allowing people to break down your walls. It is a romance but this is the main theme. It does have a trigger warning at the beginning (kudos!) and a great Epilogue with help links for sufferers of depression and suicidal thoughts. The ending doesn’t glamorize curing depression or anything like that. Its very realistic and beautiful through and through. Love does not cure all but it can help light the darkness with a good support system.
This book is also an anti “Princess and the Frog” or “Vodou is evil dark magic” as it does explain and focus on the Haitian Vodou religion and lore, most of which is depicted as a plot device for villains in movies. This book is educational on a subtle level
Shatterproof as a romance is an easy to read and quick to get hooked on. Its not super dark despite its content. It’s very straightforward about its subject matter. Its very poetic in some places. Where one person complained in a review about it “dragging on” I found it beautiful and profound. The characters are complex, wonderful and relatable. It is well paced and wonderfully written. It doesn’t matter that the characters are gay or hetero or heteroflexible and interracial. It is M/M interracial romance but so beautifully relatable to anyone. The characters have vulnerabilities and deal with them like real people. This is a wonderful rollercoaster romance. Even without the romance aspect it was hard to put down as a thriller/mystery as well. The kissing and sex scenes are well written and light. Quality over quantity is the key here and this has it where a lot of stories I’ve reviewed just doesn’t. It’s not repetitive at all. There is only one explicit love scene. I would have loved to see more but more is hinted at and referenced lightly.
I would love to see a sequel or even a prequel on Saint’s past 200 years. Even a series. This was a great story.
Love scenes / Erotica: 4/5
Grey: is relatable as a “dark” suicidal character. The way his descent into depression and how he copes with staying alive is beautiful and it’s not taken lightly. He is also deeply religious. He does explain how dark days come and go and there is no reason for how he feels which is the reality for most people with depression. It was well explained and not sugar coated. In Saint he finally feels human again. I can personally related to his experiences. Besides losing everyone he loves and pushing away his only friend, he doesn’t know why he is depressed.
Saint: is a 200-year-old supernatural being with no memory of his earlier life. He is bound to the area he lives in, fading into hiding every 20 years or so until he needs to “feed” again. He hates what he is and sees himself as a murderer and an object to be used. He guards his feelings fiercely and tries to pretend how vulnerable and broken he is inside. He saves lives as a paramedic because he is guilt ridden that everyone he loves has died.
The minor characters are well written as well. Saint’s work partner, Grey’s best friend and the coffee shop lady. One is purposely written suspiciously. Excellent story telling.
I only have 2 complaints and they are just technicalities really:
1) Grey’s time length in the hospital. My friend is a GI nurse and she deals with plastics. Her floor does get failed suicide victims like Grey. I think he would have had a longer recovery time. I’d like to confirm it since I am a bit of a medical snob. I used to be a pharmacy technician and have some natural health care certificates etc. I’m just a med nerd.
2) It does have a bit of time skip where it could have had a little more smut or relationship building. If you like subtle sex scenes this was perfect. If you are more into Erotica it felt like the time skip dulled the buildup. It does lead to Saint finding out more about himself however it just felt a strange compared to how beautifully well paced and well written the rest is. The characters were “going through the motions” during the time skip so it is justified but as it is a romance and romances build up to that a little bit more smut/intimacy would be great. I’m not going to discount this great book for that one complaint.
This is a great book and I’d recommend it to anybody that wants to read a good story whether it be romance, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, LGBTQAI or general.
Thanks for the free copy to review. I will read it more than once I’m sure.