When Victor Lucius was sixteen years old, a few cruel words out of his mouth led to a brutal tragedy, one that Vic has been trying to make up for ever since. Now, working as a missing persons expert, Vic tracks down and rescues people from abandonment or abuse, trying to alleviate the guilt constantly weighing him down.
His latest case—a boy who was kidnapped at the age of two and then held captive for nineteen years—is by far the darkest of his career. If there's any chance of Vic finally redeeming himself, helping this boy might be it.
But rescuing Colby from his basement prison is only the beginning, and brings a whole new struggle to Vic's life:
(Note: This story takes place in a fictional world, the same as in the Shifting Isles Series. There are multiple gods, different names for the days of the week, etc. A glossary is included.)
G.R. Lyons stumbled into writing as a form of trauma recovery when traditional therapy wasn't working.
Then the story ideas just kept on coming.
Pulling from a vivid imagination as well as real-life experience as a trans man, a sexual assault survivor, and a person living with mental illness, Lyons has written multiple, interconnected series set within his fictional world of the Shifting Isles.
When not writing, Lyons can be found belly dancing around the house, studying anarcho-capitalist philosophy, buried in his never-ending TBR pile, or working out at the local CrossFit gym.
This book was unsettling due to some moral and ethical issues in what happened with Vic and Colby. While Vic didn't necessarily take advantage of Colby, it was still on pretty shaky ground in my opinion. I can't say much without giving away the story but this one was a hard one to swallow.
Ok first and foremost, TRIGGER, TRIGGER, TRIGGER. This is probably the worst as far as triggers in this series. Well, no probably about it. It is. This are issues of rape, torture, imprisonment, etc. So please if any of this is a problem for you, do not read. However, for me, the was my favorite out of this series. Each character in this series has just touched me in some way, but none more so than Vic. And now, little Colby. That sweet little man. The story starts out with Vic and his own tragedy. That was hard enough to read, because you finally get to know the real story of Vic and why he does what he does. Vic’s job is to rescue children in bad situations. And usually they're extreme. Very rarely does he have one that's not. When I first started this series, something about Vic grabbed me from the beginning. They all did, but Vic the most. There was always something there. And now I know why. And bless him, guilt has a way of making things rough. But at least it put him in a profession that does good. The problem is, it's a rough job. He just wants to make up for what he feels he did wrong years ago. And this new case, it's a Whopper. Police found a dead man in a house. Nobody really thought much after they got him out. But when they found DNA evidence of someone else, they found something unbelievable. They found what they thought was a boy, and in very bad shape. (No, I'm not going into details in case someone reading may have a trigger. Plus I don't want to give anything away.) Vic and Ryley got little Colby out of there and end up finding out he's actually 21. Not a boy at all. And he's been missing for years. The more he gets to know little Colby in the hospital, the more he feels like he can't send him anywhere else. He needs to bring him home. That's what his home is going to be for anyway, to help kids get a new start after stuff like this. But Colby is a special case, and it's going to take a lot for him to recover. Gah. I had to walk away for a bit and settle myself before I could write this. I'm still reeling over this. This is another one that just, BAM, right in the heart. Colby. Little, sweet Colby. I love this book for many reasons. Vic had, several times in this book , opportunity to take revenge, and he didn't. Oh, he got off his chest what he needed to. No doubt about that. But mostly he just supported. In a lot of ways he wasn't ready to face things, but after seeing little Colby and what he went through, and that of someone else close to him, he knew he had to face his demons. And he did. But most importantly, Colby started to. Now going through any tragedy, it doesn't mean it's ever going to go away. But facing your demons to free yourself…..it's brave, courageous and so much more. And I love that. Colby fought. Many times he didn't want to, but he fought anyway. He learned it was ok to trust again. He learned to face his fears a little at a time. And so much more. He's a brave little guy and he stole my heart from the get go. Yes, this book has a lot of tragedy. And it's brutal. But there's so much more. It's about hope, facing your fears, redemption, freedom and more. It's about learning there's life after. And maybe love. Maybe not. But there’s the dream of. This book hit me on so many levels and to be honest, if I could, I'd give it more than 5 stars. It's that good. And I will be reading this for years to come.
First and foremost: TRIGGER WARNINGS: Child abuse, Rape, Graphic scenes, violence. Those are the most important ones that I feel need to to be listed. This book is not one for those that have triggers to any of those things because some of this book is very graphic. Not all of this takes place in the moment of the book but they are described in the memories of what happened. So forewarning.
This book is one of those reads that has you heart broken for the main two characters several times over. It is a great read about overcoming the horrible things that has happened in the past but at the same time leaves you feeling the pain and heartache of the character. It is one of those books that when you are reading the book you just keep thinking that if this happened for real, it would be a modern day horror story.
Vic has dedicated his life to finding young men that have been or are being abused and helping them to get to safety and the help they need to start a new life. When his best friend gets a call out in a individual that has passed away and something odd comes back, Vic knows that this is a case that he will not walk away from unaffected. The fact that it goes back to a cold case that Vic thought that he oils never have answered to really boggles his mind. Especially since it has been so many years.
Colby has never known anything but abuse. Since that is all he knows, he does not have anything good to compare it to. So when he is rescued after all these many years of being abused, it is hard for Colby to understand that Vic wants nothing in return for helping him.
It is not easy for Colby nor for Vic. The abuse that Colby suffered brings back a lot of horrible memories for Vic as well. But it also breaks his heart for the way that Colby was treated. It is going to take a lot for Colby to ever be able to trust anyone again.
But there is also the fact that the more that Vic gets to know Colby, the more he realizes just how strong of a person that he is and Vic also starts to fall for Colby. But he knows that nothing will ever come of it.
Can Colby ever get over what he went through in order to have somewhat of a normal life? Can Vic learn to let go of his past and the guilt he feels because of it?
This is a book I would describe as being a book of learning to live for the first time ever and learning to let go of the past. It is a sad read in more ways then one but it is also an inspiring read because of what these two men have been through and they are still standing and notgiving up.
I look forward to the next book in this series when it comes out.
Was given this galley copy for free for an open and honest review
Redemption and letting go sum up Illumined Shadows, G.R. Lyons’ third installment in the Treble and the Lost Boys series. If you’ve been following these standalone stories, Zac has Adrian, Ryley has Asher, and here we see Vic get Colby.
Vic’s path is a tumultuous ride fraught with pain and guilt, but most of all with closure and love. Illumined Shadows is truly gut wrenching, and hard to read at times, but oh so worth the effort.
Victor Lucius has been counseling his deceased brother’s ghost, and making tremendous strides. But the event that lead to Cam’s death, and its aftermath, have left lasting scars on both men.
As a missing persons expert for Sturmwyn Insurance, Vic has a knack for finding lost people, and in this case a young man. Using his “gift” helps Vic atone for failing his brother. Cam’s story intertwines fully with Vic’s and in itself is a horrible tragedy on multiple levels.
This is a dark story that doesn’t hold back.
Colby was abducted at the age of two. For nineteen years he has been held captive by a sadistic and depraved “bad man” for the “enjoyment” of he and his buddies. Colby has been taught to use his body as payment for everything he is given – food, shelter, meager scraps, even clothing.
This is a dark story that doesn’t hold back. The content provides just enough to give the complete picture surrounding the horrors that both Colby and Cam endure. The terrors are written well and stir nothing but outrage, anger and sadness. Revealing one atrocity after another, the journey is all about the healing process, redemption, and moving forward from the past.
The road is not easy for Vic, Colby, nor Cam but together they help heal each other. As they grapple with the here and now, trying to determine what is right and “acceptable”, each man slowly let’s go of their demons and looks forward to a bright and happy future.
Where I did struggle slightly was with Colby’s age. He is an adult but throughout the story is depicted as a “boy” which was a trigger. But… when reminding myself that Colby is a young man not a boy, Illumined Shadows morphs into a beautiful romance with a happily-ever-after.
This is a tough book to rate. The writing is very good. Clearly this is an experienced writer who knows how to tell a story. Each character had an arc and was well developed.
I did not enjoy the constant child-like portrayal of Colby, the secondary main character. He’s physically small, I get it, and liked to tuck his hands under his chin, I got that, too, but treating him like a child and not like the young man he is did him a major disservice. There was so much more room for growth, if only he’d been allowed to become an adult (man). I would have truly enjoyed the romance in this book if Colby had been allowed to mature, instead he was being kept in this child-like state by his portrayal as a boy.
For someone who wants to go into the business of adolescent counseling, Vic acted very out of character; I’m sure he’s aware of the ethics of counselling. This required major suspension of disbelief and could have easily been dealt with if Vic had had his idea of the halfway house/therapy business until after his success with Colby. I would love to see this changed a bit in a rewrite. It would ground this story in so much more realism and give it extra depth by NOT requiring suspension of disbelief from the reader.
Speaking of realism, the urban fantasy “alternate world” setting was almost non-existent. There were hints here and there and some magic thrown in, but not nearly enough to sell "different reality." I have not read the previous books in this series and I wonder if I missed all the good world building and this one just relied too much on previous efforts. (I'm not speaking about the paranormal aspect, which was well done and which I've enjoyed immensely.)
Overall, I had a love-hate relationship with this book. I enjoyed the writing and growth in the characters, but did not enjoy the child-adult romance.
The book started out pretty good and I enjoyed the story up until roughly 30-40%. Then they had their first kiss and sorry to say that but it made me uncomfortable af. I totally get that Vic was really attracted to Colby and like another character told Vic: You can't help with whom you fall in love with. Even if it's a guy who looks like a 15 year old boy. You can't.
What you can help with is not acting on your attraction and Vic does that during a very questionable situation no less. Colby was raped and sexually abused for 19 years (!!!!) and Vic literally threw himself at Colby who didn't understand what was going on. Okay, I went on because hey it's a romance novel, right? But after that first kiss the whole story dragged... and dragged... and dragged... and at some point I really wondered what the main story was because the romance was completely pushed into the background. Instead we get a ton of secondary storylines which drew me crazy at some point!! The icing on the cake was when suddenly a friend of the wife of a friend popped up out of nowhere and turns out to be a telepath who can literally heal every scar and damage done on Colby. But only the physical ones. A telepath... I repeat: A TELEPATH! Why can someone who controls their mind suddenly erase something physical but can't erase Colby's memories??? Or maybe she can but for some reason I don't get she didn't say so.
Whatever... when the next SUPER-DUPER not important character got introduced I finally gave up. (DNF @70%)
“Illumined Shadows” is the final novel in this trilogy. Victor Lucius finds himself having to come face to face and address his emotional issues with the finding of Colby; the tragedy of Cam his brother and his failure with Ryley. Vic has carried a burden of guilt throughout a good part of his life and as an insurance agent has taken on the mission of finding lost and abused people. Vic’s life comes to a head when the horribly abused Colby comes into his life. Vic learns some of simplest things gives Colby a sense of security: Cam, a dog and music. Vic and Colby still have to find a way to heal and live a full life again. “Ice on Fire” is the first book and introduces Zac Cinder and Adrian Frost, two young men who find themselves coming from very opposite worlds. Adrian is in a very abusive situation because of a domineering and cruel father and it leads Adrian to panic attacks and self-harming. Zac is always trying to be responsible and deal with his own problems and not burden his family. Zac comes from a loving and wonderful large family. Besides being in a band, which Zac has high hopes for, he plays in a trio known as Treble with Victor Lucius and Ryley Skye. “Heavens Aground” the second novel in the trilogy gives an in-depth look into the failing relationship of Ryley Skye and Victor Lucius. Regardless of their feelings for each other Ryley and Vic still work together on insurance cases and searching for lost people. The case of Asher Arden, who has been missing for thirteen years, turns Ryley’s world upside down. Ryley always seems to be assertive and confident but is somewhat in denial of issues. He’s plagued with nightmares, odd emotional occurrences and he’s not willing to accept what’s really going on with himself. I was so intrigued with the blurb for “Illumined Shadows” that I found myself curious and read the trilogy which I highly recommend. I have to say I was not disappointed. “Treble and the Lost Boys” is a spin-off from “A Shifting Isle Trilogy”. “Treble and the Lost Boys” trilogy is filled with a combination of mystery, fantasy, contemporary, paranormal, and futuristic/modern day world. The author provided a glossary for this trilogy that really helps as the novel progresses and it gives a basis on how the Isle of Agoran and other isles came about in the year 2952. The characters in each of these novels are very interesting and deal with many different emotions. I was so glad that they all continued throughout the trilogy. In a way they come together as a support group for each other. Just fair warning several of these characters suffer from serious abusive situations; self harm, rape, abandonment, panic attacks and some scenes are very graphic. What I really found intriguing in this futuristic world it seems that it’s mandatory everyone have an insurance policy that covers just about everything. The job of insurance agent crosses lines with being detectives. Vic and Ryley have a certain expertise in the insurance field: Vic deals with the abused and missing people and Ryley deals with the dead and often times their cases cross. This was a first time read for me by G.R. Lyons and I’m curious to see what’s in store next.
This one definitely has a trigger warning - description of rape and sexual abuse of characters. If this is difficult for you, then give this one a pass.
The story and the characters got 4 stars from me, but more than one of Vic's thought processes only got 3, sometimes only 2 stars. So this was a solid 3.5 stars for me, rounded up.
The good: Vic, Colby, and Cam were all well-rounded characters. Vic wasn't just a hero, and he wasn't just a broken person. Colby wasn't just a 2-dimensional abuse victim, Cam wasn't just a ghost, and Vic wasn't just a haunted (see what I did there?) broken man with a saviour complex.
The material was gritty and, at times, difficult, but it was thoughtfully and sensitively done. The story was always moving forward, and never felt stagnant.
The bad: This story takes place in a paranormal world where there are mages and ghosts, and people go off-world, and there are different words for the days of the week. The paranormal part was fine. The off-world and different terminology business, to me, was unnecessary and distracting. It would have worked much better at keeping me in the story if it were just regular old Earth where there happens to be magic and ghosts. Others have done it, and it's not distracting. I don't want to have to learn new terminology just to read a book.
Vic's thought processes deserved a hard slap upside the head at times. When he realized he was attracted to Colby, he kept worrying about how he might not be able to keep his hands off him. Off a sexual abuse survivor! How will he be able to do it? I'll tell you how, Vic - by just being a decent effing human being, that's how! There's no "I might not be able to resist". You. Just. DO. Seriously, is it THAT hard to comprehend?? And then there was his whole "I can never ever have gay penetrative sex EVAR because my brother was raped and that led to his death, so it would be a betrayal of him to ever just be myself!" Um, WTF? Seriously? Why would your brother ever think that you having a loving and respectful physical relationship with someone would ever equate to the nonconsensual brutalization that he endured? How does that thought process even make sense? That was so far out to lunch that it seemed it was just there to create some (unnecessary and ludicrous) angst. The story would have been just fine without that nonsense at all. And the whole "one MC decides for the other MC what they would ever do without ever discussing it with them first" ridiculousness has to stop being a thing in stories. Vic decides for himself that Colby will never ever want him That Way because of what he endured growing up. How about you discuss it with Colby, hmm? How about trying that on for size? Let Colby decide for himself what he wants? It's called communication, and it's a desirable thing.
As long as you don't dwell too much on those annoying plot points, it's a pretty good story, and I had to go back to read it again just a few days after the first time. And Colby's tendency to climb Vic like a koala and just cling there and be carried around? That's got to be one of the cutest things ever!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This is the third story in the series, and although I think it could be read alone, it’s more enjoyable reading the series in order. I liked Vic from the moment I ‘met him’ in the first book, so I’m very happy that the final book in the series is his.
He is such a kind soul, and beating himself up over a tragedy that happened years ago. I thought the author did a great job in showing Vic’s guilt, and how he reaches for happiness, then stops himself by reminding himself that he doesn’t deserve it. I love stories that feature music in some shape or form, and I enjoyed the descriptions of Treble’s rehearsals, and in particular Vic playing the cello and how the part it played in helping Colby step out from his shadows.
I really felt for Colby. The Bad Man comes across as truly evil, and I could feel Colby’s fear as I was reading. The opening scenes when he is trapped in the basement were very chilling, and showed exact how inhumane people can be. He comes a very long way in this story, and I loved how patient Vic was with him and how they grow a friendship that turns to love.
Although this story is about Vic and Colby, I enjoyed catching up with the guys from the previous two books in the series, and seeing their relationships through different eyes. It’s one of the things I love about reading series. I also liked how Ryley and Vic are still close friends, despite their relationship not working out. I thought Ryley had grown since the last book, and is now much more confident with his abilities.
Cam is a great character, and I loved how others could see him, and he still finds a way to communicate with Vic, who can’t. I thought this story was as much his as Vic and Colby’s, especially in the way he is important to both of them. As a side note—Vic and Cam’s father is such an arsehole!
One of the things I really like this series is how on one hand it feels like a contemporary story, but because it’s set in a fictional world, there are also the magical elements which add depth and another dimension to the storytelling.
I’ve enjoyed every book in this series, but am leaning towards this one as my favourite. I’m hoping as the author has other stories set in this world, we haven’t seen the last of these guys. I’d recommend Illuminated Shadows to readers who enjoy stories about accepting yourself and letting go of the past.
I liked the start. The characters and story were compelling. The ghost was a weird plot element but I loved it.
Then came the first sex scene, and no. Just... NO. First of all, where’s this instalust from? Random and totally strange. And I mean INSTAlust. After knowing the guy and living with him and holding him, there’s just random uncontrollable lust. Second of all, a man who later tells us he has never penetrated another man has a conversation where he worries he won’t be able to stop himself from basically forcing himself on a boy/man who was sexually abused for nineteen years. Whaaaaa???? It makes him seem either a) like a bad person, which he has NEVER BEEN or b) like a sex-crazed animal, which he has also NEVER BEEN. There’s no mating call or anything to blame it on. And the scene was just... ick. Not sexy. I like dark romances. This was just yucky. It was dub-con that didn’t know it was dub-con and it was poorly done.
And from there it just gets weird. No sex or any development for months. Maybe they kissed? I’m not even sure. Then telepathic healing of physical problems. Then more ghosts. Then a pedophile criminal who just gets off with, “Hey, we know what you did.” Whaaa????
And then, SPOILER ALERT, we have the magic dick. Because suddenly all will be well if they can have penetrative sex and everyone’s emotional scars will be healed. Again, just NO. I mean they go from kissing for months with no other intimate contact to penetrative sex. Whaaaa????
It was just so utterly and completely insensitive to abuse victims that I could barely hang in there to finish it. It was all over the place with plot, and the bad guys never seem punished for their crimes, and it REALLY needed a sensitivity reader.
Illumined Shadows is the third and final book in the Treble and the Lost Boys series, and we finally get Vic's story. You know something big is behind him, due to how he was with Ryley, however, in this book you get the full tragedy of just what exactly happened.
Everything is brought back to Vic when he rescues Colby from the 'Bad Man'. This was a perfect example of how monsters can hide in the light, when Colby only felt safe in the dark. These two have one helluva road to travel, and the rest of the Treble gang are there to help whenever needed.
This book has a trigger warning for a reason! This is a dark story, that doesn't hold its punches, so be warned. However, it is also excellently written, being descriptive enough to get the full horror, without being gratuitous.
I have loved this series, and have no hesitation in recommending it. I will say the only reason this is a 4-star book is simply because I couldn't quite get my head around Colby's age. Due to his lack of growth, he was small for his age (Vic is able to carry him around on his hip!). Due to his lack of education, and the atrocities that happened to him, his mindset is slightly child-like. Couple this with Vic calling him 'My sweet boy', and it became slightly uncomfortable for me to read. I had to keep reminding myself he was actually 22-years-old.
On the whole, this is a fantastic book that finishes off this series with aplomb. Absolutely recommended by me.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
5 Stars.🌟 A very emotional read. Well written by an amazing writer, this includes a little magic, ghosts tagging along, and cute puppies and more. The characters have huge past events that they must deal with to move on. Victor couldn't help his brother, Cam but they could help Colby deal with his horrible past. A story with love and patience for all to cope. Vic and Cam must face the events regarding Cam's death and the lead up to it. The author throws in a twist and suprises along the way like all the past books. The ending is a fantastic one which left me in book hangover especially with emotions throughout the story.
Victor was apart of the band Treble and they were due to start rehearsals again. Its two years since his brother, Cam was murdered. Vic's other job was finding missing boys and was set for another find although it been awhile. Living in darkness and physically abused and raped, a boy lived all his 19 yrs. Now 21 and rescued by Vic and Ryley, Colby had a longgg recovery ahead of him.
At first, I thought that because this story took place in an entirely different universe, the culture developed differently regarding sexuality and professional boundaries. If a culture did not have such body shame, or a mind, good; body, bad viewpoint, maybe recovering from trauma and sexual violence could include exploring sexuality with your teacher/guardian/amateur therapist.
Then Vic had a freak out about his attraction and that theory went out the window. Of course, maybe it’s Vic’s own trauma and guilt that causes him to freak rather than the libertarian ideals of the Shattered Isles, which seems to be a “do as thou wilt” society without a central government.
Also, ghosts. A dead brother turned poltergeist, able to write messages and undergo talk therapy to slowly heal from a horrific attack, a decade long coma, and final horror watching his parents disconnect his life support weeks before experimental surgery to help him regain bodily function.
I haven't read any other books this series and this was recommended to me when asked for hurt comfort book. Vic rescues people that are in need of it from abusive victims to run a ways.
Colby was kidnapped at age two from hospital and has been help prisoner ever since (trigger warnings for reference to abuse and rape). He is found by Vic and his friend when his abuser is found dead.
Vic has to work with Colby because he knows nothing but abuse in his life. He's terrified and thinks has pay with his body for things. Vic shows him otherwise along the way they slowly fall for each other.
There is also the second story in this of Vic's brother Cam who is a ghost. I really loved Cam and his way of helping Colby too. Colby can see him but Vic can touch him yet not see or hear. I thought way they communicated was awesome. Vic Colby and Cam have to face a lit of things in this book. It is a slow burn kinda which at times did drag for me but over all really enjoyed
Vic helps find lost boys. When he finds a boy who has been held captive for nineteen years, he has no idea that the young man will become the most important person in his life.
Colby has only know pain his entire existence. When he’s rescued by Vic he enters a strange new world he knows nothing about. As he learns to cope with the strangeness he comes to trust Vic.
I liked the other books in the series but this one was the most gut wrenching and also stunningly sad. Watching Colby blossom under Vic’s care was very well done. The rest of the characters from the other books appear to help Colby settle into his new life. This was not an easy book to read but it was ultimately satisfying.
Review Copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads.
Wow, just wow! Icould not put this book down! Oh, the angst! My heart was breaking not only for Colby but for Cam and Vic as well.
*****Spoiler***** My only issue was Logan and how that was handled. I wanted him to pay for what he did to Cam and knowing that Vic didn't confront him for weeks or get the police involved knowing he could have been hurting another boy during that time didn't make sense to me. Other then that only other thing was I was waiting to hear about the Bad Man's ghost no longer having power over Colby. Other then those two things I loved every word and can not wait to read Cam's story, hoping he gets an HEA.
I cant believe I waited this long to read this book! It is EXACTLY how I imagined it should be, given the tags and blurb. I fell in love with Colby and Vic as well as Cam and other side characters that really bring this gem of a book together. I already finished the Transivity series so it was nice to see Vic get his story! Don't make the mistake I did and wait a second longer in reading this book, I finished it in one day. Great job once again, GR! 💜
if you cant read about sexual a use do not read this book
This was all tho a true in the sexual abuse it was so sad that these people went thru all they did the brother being raped and murdered and then spending all that time in a coma and then the dad pulling the plug when a cute was found and then having the brother be a ghost wow this book had a lot of different y stuff going on ..But it wasn't a bad book is was just a sad book
The concept is pretty original. As much as I've read in this genre, this book stuck out to me for the originality of the concept and situation. Well executed. I truly felt for the character, felt proud of them as they rose to the challenges and grew through the book. The material is rough, but everyone comes through, you just have to trust the story to get you there. I'll be back for more by this author.
One of my favorite tropes is trauma victims being rescued and flourishing with love, support and acceptance. This book fit the bill and I dove right into book three. It was a tad confusing at times because it was such unique world building (and I probably should've started with the first in the series, ha!), but this was a great book! Major trigger warnings! This story isn't for the faint of heart, MC1 has been been through it all. But it was a heart warming read with a great HEA at the end.
This is a difficult book to read, and there could be triggers for some people. However, it is also a heart wrenchingly beautiful story to read, and is well worth it. A story of finding your way back to the world after the worst that humanity can throw at you, and finding someone to travel that journey with you