Lena Grey's Reviews > Oneiros

Oneiros by S.L. Armstrong
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Aug 09, 2012

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

Who of us hasn't wanted to escape reality from time to time? That's why we take vacations or perhaps just indulge in some serious daydreaming. It's therapeutic, relaxing, refreshing, but most of us realize that it's only temporary and sooner or later, we have to go back to our normal routine. Caleb, from 'Onerios' by S.L. Armstrong, has a good reason to want to escape. He's just been diagnosed HIV positive and his whole world, all his hopes and dreams are dashed.

Caleb isn't quite desperate enough to kill himself. He has a cat to take care of after all, but the emotional burden of being in the here and now is becoming too much; he slowly, but surely, slips into a deep depression. There is no wonder why Caleb is so easily seduced by the idea of having eternal pleasure with the God of Dreams, Morpheus. While Caleb is with Morpheus, he doesn't feel the pain, disappointment, and anxiety of his future being shattered by a few minutes of unprotected pleasure. He's swept away in a world of passion which temporarily satisfies his needs. As he slips further and further away from reality, the voices of the real world get quieter and quieter. Caleb's ability to break away decreases by the moment. Nothing matters but his trysts with Morpheus.

Fortunately, Caleb has a HIV positive knight in shining armor named Scott who is a wonderful, supportive man, wanting more from Caleb than he's willing to give. After all, Scott is in the real world and being there means Caleb can't be with Morpheus. Scott is someone who understands and tries to help. Scott wants to be with Caleb and refuses give up on him. Scott becomes the lighthouse beckoning Caleb back to life.

This is a complicated, but satisfying story which mixes fantasy with reality in such a way that I wasn't sure if Morpheus was real, or a figment of Caleb's imagination, one to help him deal with his condition. The same could be said of Scott. Was he a real person, or the voice of reason in Caleb's head which eventually made him decide to come back and deal with his situation, rather than giving up entirely? Whether these are analogies or not, it's a very effective method of telling the story. S.L. did an admirable job of describing someone in the depths of despair. I'd recommend this story to those of you who enjoy a book with great sex, handsome men, and angst, but also one dealing with the more serious issues of managing depression especially in the face of tragedy and finding a way out of it. Thanks, S.L., for handling this serious problem, while adding some gratifying sensual content in the process.

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