I read the first seven pages of this book no more than 15 minutes ago. I am still in tears. I am horrified and disgusted by what I read but that’s notI read the first seven pages of this book no more than 15 minutes ago. I am still in tears. I am horrified and disgusted by what I read but that’s not really what has me writing here. What has me going is the fact that there are damn near 500 five star reviews on here for this piece. I admit, I have not read the entire book, as I said I didn’t even make it to page ten before I wanted to throw my kindle across the room and watch it smash into a million pieces, but it wouldn’t matter if the last several hundred pages were pure freaking gold—which they might be—you still could not pay me to finish this book.
The things I read in such a short amount of text were horrendous. Unbelievable. Read on before you post some haughty and pompous reply to my review about how I should have read the other reviews first and known what I was in for—I did—or how I shouldn’t negatively review this book just because I couldn’t handle the descriptions—I can. I assure you I am not squeamish when it comes to books. I’ve read books that have involved everything from rape and torture to sex-trafficking and self-mutilation. But there is a difference there, in those there is a sense of wrongness. There is none of that here. But none of that is even why I am so appalled by the reviews for this book.
What I can’t understand is how anybody could look past the atrocities that the main character (Vadim) admits to in the first few pages and still continue on. How could anybody read the things he does and the things he finds acceptable and still want to read on and cheer for him in a romantic relationship? One of my favorite quotes ever is: “Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” But there is nothing to understand here. This man rapes and murders and ruins people’s lives for FUN. How can anybody look past that and see someone worthy of their loyalty as a reader? How can you read this and not be appalled?
His comrades were discussing whether Afghani women were shaved (“Serious, they all are!”—”No way!”—”They are!”—”They are not!”), and he knew where that discussion was going. By finding one to prove the point. They said women here fought like cats, but he was in the mood for a tiger. Something much stronger than vodka. “Fuck it, go and find one, but make sure it looks like it was somebody else.” Cut her throat afterwards, he added with a gesture, but his boys knew that. They’d done this shit before.
They had arrived. Greeted with tea and shit, those goat-fuckers didn’t have the beginning of a clue, but that was how Vadim liked them. Jump them full force when they didn’t expect it. The city was in for a hazing. They had used a tank to smash open a house.
Vadim looked down at the bleeding body, and his stomach tensed in that dark, good way. Had from the moment he had known there was an excuse to spill blood. It raised the crimson flood in his veins. Raised it. Nearly breaking point. He sneered, and kicked the guy again, who didn’t twitch. Jaw breaking move. A good one. But also a finisher. Not so good. He poured some vodka over the guy’s face, hoped he’d get up and maybe have half a fight left in him, but that was the end of the story. Fuck him. Not enough fun. Not nearly enough fun.
I suppose the point I am trying to get across is that this man—Vadim—may be written as a fictional character but he is real. A man who rapes and murders women for fun and encourages his minions or soldiers to do so as well? Saddam and Uday Hussein. Joseph Stalin. Osama Bin Ladin. A man who, along with his soldiers, rips people from their homes? Destroys properties? Ruins lives and takes what he wants by force? Adolf Hitler. A man who is a sadist? Who gets a sick sexual feeling of pleasure from seeing and causing other people’s pain and blood? A man who murders thousands in cold blood? Take your pick of any monster throughout history and even present. Could you ever find yourself cheering or empathizing with any of them? Because that is the reality by identifying with the main character in this book. It’s akin to cheering for the Hitlers, Hussiens, Stalins, and Osamas of the world.
I’m not trying to criticize or demonize anybody by writing this review. And I’m definitely not trying to start any fights or raise anyone’s hackles—though I’m sure that will happen. I just wanted—needed—to get my thoughts out here and clear my mind of the horrendous things I just read and the fact that the world is so desensitized that people are seamlessly able to look past all the atrocious things this character has done, will do and finds acceptable and still consider this a good read with an identifiable main character. Also the fact that I’m recommended to do the same. To look past the number of innocent lives that this character has taken, the number of families this man has ruined, the number of tears and pain that this monster has caused and be okay with that? Just because it’s written in a ‘fictional’ not historical book, love is added, and the names aren’t the same?
In a nutshell, here is the truth of it all and what I’m really trying to say: Don’t comment on my review and tell me to calm down, that this is just a book and I’m getting too bent out of shape over something that’s not even real because this is real. Vadim is real. He has lived in many men and will live in many more. These people—these victims—are real. They have lived (or died) through the things that Vadim describes as fun and fulfilling in the first seven pages. I’m ashamed to wonder what they might think of a book with a main character like Vadim and the fact that so many people are identifying with him.
I pose my final question: There have been in the past and will be in the future monsters just like Vadim. In real life we fight against them. We pray their evil won’t ever touch our lives. Then why , in a book, do we cheer for them? ...more