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Truth in the Dark

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"I am not beautiful..."

Knife's entire existence has been as twisted as his flesh and his face. The only thing beautiful in his life is his sister. When Gwennie is obliged to turn a suitor down because she fears to leave her brother to the brutality of their village, Knife is desperate for anything to ensure her happiness.

Her suitor's cousin offers him a way out, but it won't be easy. Aerie-Smith has been cursed to walk upright in the form of a beast, and his beloved village suffers from the same spell. Aerie-Smith offers Gwen a trousseau and some hope, if only Knife will keep him company on his island for the span of a year and perform one "regrettable task" at year's end.

Knife is unprepared for the form the island's curse takes on his own misshapen body. In one moment of magic, he is given the body of his dreams—and he discovers that where flesh meets spirit and appearance meet reality, sometimes the only place to find truth is in the darkness of a lover's arms.

145 pages, ebook

First published June 16, 2010

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About the author

Amy Lane

200 books3,357 followers
Amy Lane dodges an EDJ, mothers four children, and writes the occasional book. She, her brood, and her beloved mate, Mack, live in a crumbling mortgage in Citrus Heights, California, which is riddled with spiders, cats, and more than its share of fancy and weirdness. Feel free to visit her at www.greenshill.com orwww.writerslane.blogspot.com, where she will ride the buzz of receiving your e-mail until her head swells and she can no longer leave the house.

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5 stars
1,436 (35%)
4 stars
1,436 (35%)
3 stars
804 (19%)
2 stars
263 (6%)
1 star
97 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 542 reviews
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books1,988 followers
February 7, 2015

it's been over a year since i read this, and i still—

—when the whiskey flows and the cocaine blows and the moon is quite high in the sky of an evening

—still find myself cornering people at parties, quietly and earnestly explaining to them at length how some stories stay with us across the millennia, and why they're still worth telling, and what it is in these bronze-age murmurings that helps us feel less alone under a sky full of stars all dead a million years before any of us ever lived.

but sometimes i happen to be too drunk for all that.

so i just pull this story up on my phone and hand it to them, saying:

"this is really good. you should totally read it."
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,859 reviews5,634 followers
October 7, 2014
I'm going to go right out and say it:

This is my favorite Amy Lane book. Hands down.

It is the work of a master.

I got chills while reading it, honest-to-goodness chills running up and down my arms. I started this book right before going to the gym tonight and worked out half-heartedly in a daze. My mind was fully entranced in the world that Amy Lane created. After working out (maybe??), I read this book in my freezing cold car, not wanting to put it down to drive the three blocks to my house, knowing that I would try to read as I drove and not wishing to die just then.

The story was just that beautiful.

Honestly, I was expecting this to be great. I love Amy Lane when she writes her fairytale-like stories and I knew that this was going to work for me right from the start. What I didn't expect was it to be so amusingly snarky. Naef was such a beautiful character for me. Damaged, snarly, and untrusting, Naef protects himself with an arsenal of metaphorical and actual mini-knives that he caries in his pocket. His isn't afraid to throw his knives at anyone who he deems threatening. To see his relationship with Aerie-Smith develop slowly and tentatively was magical. They had this deep connection that felt so real it was palpable for me.

I refuse, refuse, to give away any spoilers about this book. I was so contained when I read this story, so amazed that I made it through this emotional journey without crying that I was completely blindsided near the end by one of the sweetest and most tender scenes that I have ever read. Then the tears started.

This book shined above and beyond all of the books that I have read recently.
Profile Image for Damon Suede.
Author 20 books2,115 followers
February 18, 2011
As a story model for romance, Eros and Psyche is hard to beat. There's a reason that Beauty & the Beast succeeds so completely when it's presented in a new incarnation whether its Cocteau or Disney.

First things first, Amy Lane is a haunting, subtle, skilled writer who refuses to settle for easy solutions. Every book she's written carries pain and secrecy thumping inside its ribs like a dark heart. Faced with the "update a fairytale" challenge, she's not going to settle for a facile approach.

Knife, the protagionist, is the direct converse of what most writers would tackle. He is literally deformed, arguably ugly, but fiercely appealing for reasons that aren't easy to explain. Aerie-Smith is beastly in stark, upsetting ways; if he is sexy and commanding, those things are handicaps as much as strengths. There are no quick fixes on offer here. Yet it IS a fairytale, and Lane walks her Knife's edge to wring delicious sweetness and sadness out of a very old story.

Lane also digs right at the core of the original Myth. She knows her Apuleius and (I'd imagine) many many versions of this story as well. What she has used to built her plot, the curse, the romance IS the hub of the myth itself: the act of seeing, the power and peril of secrecy and sight, the trust it takes to expose ugliness in yourself and others, the painful struggle between Truth and Darkness.

I don't like spoilers in reviews, so I won't ruin any of the witty twists she puts on her kingdoms or their quirky inhabitants. I'm not going to crow about her dynamic prose and her singular characterizations and her knack for odd emotion from unexpected sources, because you'll either see them instantly or think I'm an ass for raising your hopes. And I will only hint at the slivers of heartbreak and hope that she plants at strange moments. I will assure you that it is a fairytale with a happy ending, but one that comes with a keen sense of the cost of happiness and endings.

I loved this retelling, and I'm even more of a fan of Amy Lane than I was going in, which is saying something. She is a treasure.
Profile Image for Nancy.
557 reviews768 followers
March 17, 2017
Cross-posted at Shelf Inflicted and at Outlaw Reviews

“If anyone had learned that love was all the beauty the world needed, it was my lion-hearted beloved and his imperfect lover.”

I usually like Amy Lane’s blend of sweetness and angst and was keen to read a re-worked version of Beauty and the Beast, but this story just didn’t work for me on so many levels.

- The pace was excruciatingly slow, so slow that I feared not finishing it up in time to complete my reading challenge this month. Many times I was tempted to skim or abandon it. I was glad I held out, though, for the ending was realistic and satisfying.

- Naef’s physical and emotional pain was exquisitely rendered. I hated being in his head, however. His bitterness, self-loathing, swearing, and constant correction of his name (“my name is Knife”) became annoying.

- The relationship between Naef and Aerie-Smith happened way too fast and lacked spark. Their sex was frequent, but unerotic. Maybe it’s just the thought of doing it with a lion, even if he stands on two legs and wears a high-quality waistcoat, that was a complete turnoff for me.

- While I felt Naef’s character grew significantly, I wanted to feel that growth in his and Aerie-Smith’s relationship as well. As a couple, they left me feeling unconvinced.

- Aerie-Smith was a rather flat character who was too perfect.

- I really enjoyed Naef’s passion for carving and how he used it to express himself.

- Kudos for including interesting and likable female characters.

I wanted to like this story a lot more. There were some powerful turns of phrase, and sentences that had me scratching my head.

Sadly, it failed to move me.

Thanks to Eli from Bookie Nookie's Erotic Lending Group for lending this to me.
December 3, 2014
3.5 stars

This was a fantasy, erotic retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I found both frustrating and lovely.

I needed more details about Naef and Aerie-Smith's relationship; as such, I wasn't sure why either would fall in love with the other and why Naef was chosen to "save" the island in the first place. Aerie-Smith was a little too perfect, and Naef was a little too self-loathing (I understand he had a shit life, but the characterization of that fell mostly to him being bitter and hateful and swearing a whole lot).

The reason for Aerie-Smith's island being "enchanted" was uber lame. The "twist" at the end was also utterly predictable from the beginning, and the whole concept of the curse and the "misunderstanding" over how to lift it felt contrived.

The idea of falling in love with someone's soul vs. their body is not new, and I wanted Naef to get his HEA. However, the end of this book left me bereft and anxious.

Profile Image for Gail Carriger.
Author 65 books14.9k followers
July 2, 2018
This is a charming twisted retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and a real tear-jerker. It's as if Lane took Robin McKinley's Beauty and combined it with The Song of Achilles. There's an element of the Hunchback of Notre Dame thrown in there for good measure.

If you're a fan of alternate fairy stories, true love at all costs, and the ultimate melodrama of self-sacrifice than this book is for you. Definitely destined to became a favorite of mine.
Profile Image for Vio.
677 reviews
January 26, 2012
2.5 stars

A very unusual take on one of my favourite fairytales Beauty and Beast sadly it didn't quite live up to expectations. I struggled to feel a connection or affection for Knife or Aerie. Despite being an emotional and highly charged story I was strangely unaffected for most of it, there were a few sad moments here and there but not enough for me to say this was brilliant. I could go on but I won't as I seem to be in the minority with this one.
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews393 followers
November 5, 2013
Love isn't blind. Love transforms.

Respun Fairy Tales are not my usual fare, but I have to say that this one rocks. From the vitriolic spewing to the cruelty and charm I was thoroughly engaged and vacillating between smirks and smiles. It is a worthwhile retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Naef is a tormented soul in a twisted body. His physical pain is only exceeded by the psychological.
I tried very hard not to ponder the horrible irony that I was too ugly to love, and too ugly not to violate.
When given a chance to escape his present circumstances he does so only to free his loyal protector and sister, Gwen.
I looked around at my little corner, my niggling, festering hovel of misanthropy. It was ugly—hell, it was rabid, but it was all I had.

Aerie-Smith, the sensitive Beast comes with an offer for Naef. The leonine features have not diminished his humanity. If only Naef could learn the self-acceptance that Aerie-Smith has.

There is a lovely flip in this story and the reveal at the end takes this book from a 4 star to a 5 star read.

Again, I've had to footnote my previous statements about Lane's writing. In my defense, no naive men or misplaced melodrama--it is a fairy tale and thus the twists and extremes are de rigueur. And a big thanks to my friend Don who urged me to give it chance with the promise I could exact violence on his person if I didn't like it--cheeky bastard.

I want one of the chess sets.

Favorite quote:
I was terrified that this moment, my chance to live in happiness for however short a time we may have had, would be ruined because I was simply not carved out of the same wood as happiness, and that my grain was too twisted to ever take its form.
Profile Image for Barbara➰.
1,573 reviews380 followers
October 24, 2019
Naef, aka Knife, thinks his soul is as twisted as his body, truly a beast in the eyes of others. When he's given the chance to get away from his tormentors for a year, as well as provide gifts for his sister and mum, he decides to leave his village with his lion-god Aerie-Smith. What he doesn't expect, is when he gets to the island where he will spend a year as Aerie-Smith's companion, his body is changed. But, he thinks his inner self still matches his old outer self. Aerie-Smith sees him differently. Naef sees Aerie-Smith for who he truly is as well, not the lion-god beast that's on the outside. He sees the Truth in the Dark

I honestly wonder why I put off reading this book for so long. It captivated me from page one. It was absolutely beautiful...very different and unique. I adore Beauty and the Beast type stories. The kind of story where you know the characters fall for the person inside, not on the outside. You know that kind of love runs deep. I find books like this highly romantic. This one was with a twist but in the end, it's the same. Loving who a person truly is no matter what's on the outside.

I loved how strong and protective Naef's mum and sister were of him. His sister literally killed for him. His mum and sister both deserved happiness. I teared up a time or two and I swooned a lot. I laughed and got kind of ragey at Naef for being so difficult. But in the end I loved this book so much. I hate that it's over.
Profile Image for Bookwatcher .
746 reviews120 followers
November 27, 2010
Quick description about this book:

Love... this book is a Fairy Tale about LOVE

Naef is a tortured soul and body. Born with a disability and a "repulsive" body he don't know how to be kind. He love his sister and his mother, and his world is his work, as a woodcraft. When he is working with his knives and doing art with wood he can express all the beauty he would like to see in his life. Only he will be the narrator, and don't fool yourself thinking that is a "fairy-tale" where the narrator talk with pretty birds and sing songs each 5 minutes...

Nope... he really hate the world and use a very colorful vocabulary to show that

Aerie-Smith is a cursed prince, and to Naef eyes a Lion God... well, I saw him like that too.... He is kind, powerful and aristocratic... the exact contrary of Naef.

How and why their story will became a heartbreaking love story is up to you to know... read it... and then tell me if you agree that it's, like in my opinion, a wonderful love story.

5 Stars
Profile Image for Natsroshan.
134 reviews39 followers
September 7, 2014
I'm not a fan of fairy tales in general, so I hesitated a lot before I read it. What a shame. (I should really stop doing this, I often let a book hang in my TBR for stupid reasons!)

The dialogues are captivating, the story is moving to tears, very funny sometimes ...
Naef is endearing in his self-pity, but my preference goes to Aerie-Smith (a really weird name lol) whom I found very noble. That's what Nael needed and he found it.

Thank you Amy Lane for making me spend such a good time.
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 75 books2,513 followers
June 10, 2011
This book is structured as a fairy tale, but Knife, the narrator, is one of the most real characters Lane has created. The story allows Lane to be more lyrical and poetic in her language than anything else of hers that I have read, but there is an interesting human relationship in there as well. There are moments of humor, and elements of universal truth. The narrative voice is occasionally glaringly modern in its phrasing, but somehow it works with the character and the story. Well worth the read, even if fairy tales are usually not your cup of tea.
Profile Image for T.A. Webb.
Author 33 books625 followers
January 9, 2012
In a small coastal town on the Archipelago, Naef was born. Club footed, awkward, pained and shunned, he was nonetheless loved and cherished by his sister Gwen and his mother. Gwen was his protector, companion and confidant. He could at least feel normal with her.

Then, when he was but twelve, the young men of the village, in the way such boys will do, attacked and violated Naef. In that moment, the young man decided there must be no value to him. So he started to become as twisted and pained inside as he appeared on the outside.

And his sister Gwen, ever the guardian, took her knives and settled the score. Nobody would harm her brother again. And he took up his knives, apprenticed to the woodworker of the village, and grew very adept at making finely carved items and small little knives to keep those who wished for trouble in line. And took on the nickname the silly children have him - Knife.

So he grows up, more and more isolated and bitter.

"My insides matched my outsides...I had spent years...I had spent my entire life twisting myself inside so that I could match the body and the face with the fates the fates plagued me with."

And then one day, Gwen meets a nice young man, a captain on a ship from the harbor. He wants to marry her but she won't leave Knife. So Knife strikes a deal - Gwen's suitor has a cousin looking for a companion for a year. He would get paid and leave, Gwen would marry her beau, and his mother would leave the village and they would have a happy life without him.

And when Airie-Smith shows up to strike the deal, Knife sees he is cursed in his own way. Because Airie-Smith is under a curse, forced into the shape of a lion who can walk and talk like a man. So Knife agrees to the bargain. He will accompany the man to his home on an island south, and at the end of one year, perform on small, regrettable and unpleasant task.

So off he goes, and when he nears the island, he discovers that all the people on the island are cursed to take the form of animals, like their Lord. And the task he is to do - it will help break the curse. And when the sailors on the ship carrying him turn into monkeys, he himself wakes to find...he is in the body of his dreams.

The two grow closer, as friends, then more, as the year progresses. When the deadline approaches, Knife discovers what the small regrettable task he is to perform is.

Will he be able to do it? Will the curse be broken? And what will the costs be to everyone involved?

Amy Lane has taken the Beauty and the Beast legend, twisted it like Naef's leg and spine and created a work of beauty, pain and richness. The love, the sacrifice, the terrible cruelty of the task - all combined to make this beautifully imagined and lovingly executed tale one of the most touching pieces I have read. Ever.

This stunning book grabbed me from page one had had me in tears - real tears - in the first five minutes of reading.

And the prose. Just so damned good.

"Every beat of my heart ached like an abscessed tooth."

"What must it be like to have such faith in the world, in plans, in your own ability to control your fate? It was contagious, that's what it was. I could not help it. I caught his hope like a plague."

"I could not disparage - not even in harsh jest - a man who offered me the kindness of touch."

"A man like me...a man like me did not take kindness for weakness. Kindness in the face of all the tiny knives the world had to throw at a body - that was real strength."

And then, then the one that was a knife in my heart.

"It was the capacity for love that made me beautiful after all."

I felt beautiful.

Profile Image for Rain.
1,577 reviews28 followers
October 15, 2021
This isn’t a grumpy-sunshine, it’s a grumpy-grumpier.

This was a poetic M/M, retelling of Beauty and the Beast except in this story, the beauty is also a beast. Naef has accepted who he is.
I was not beautiful. I may have been at birth - most babies are beautiful at birth. But my foot was twisted and deformed as I emerged, and my spine eventually tilted to accommodate my limp.
The incredibly deep love between his sister, Gwennie and himself is beautiful.
“You may not think much of yourself, but Mum and I see the sun rise and set with you.”
His sister is his glorious avenging angel when he is horrifically attacked one evening when he is twelve. In surviving this attack, the cruelty has shaped his mind, just as his birth shaped his body. Naef grows into a barbed, violent, and angry man. His mother and sister are the only light in his life.

Naef or as he calls himself, Knife, is a talented woodworker. People come from neighboring islands to request that he carve chess sets for them. One day a handsome captain arrives to their island and falls in love with Naef’s sister, Gwennie. But she won’t leave her brother, so the captain comes up with a plan.

Aerie-Smith is the beast in this story, an actual lion. All the people on his island have been turned into animals and they have one year before the curse is broken. Naef is to be his companion for the year. The foreshadowing throughout the story makes it abundantly clear what needs to happen to break the curse.

Love begins to develop as these men spend more time on the cursed island together.
This night, sex was starlight. Sex was oxygen. Sex was us, and we were beautiful, beautiful and perfect in each other’s arms.
This is such a gorgeous story. It’s introspective and dark, and so deeply touching. This was the comment that broke me....
“Did you think you were the only one who closed his eyes and felt truth in the dark”
I really liked that other than the men who hurt Naef in the beginning, no one is evil in this fairytale. Bad things happen, but the conflict is mostly internal. It ends with a beautiful hea.
Profile Image for Argona.
169 reviews257 followers
November 17, 2015
I am not certain about my final rating but I am going to go with 3.5 stars. This is a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast", a very nice story that has inserted some really original ideas into this classic fairy tale and has very beautiful messages.

What I liked the most was Naef, the main character. He is bitter, damaged and yet kind and pure deep inside. He was a very interesting and original character and I couldn’t help but care for him and follow his story. I also really liked what people were cursed into in this story and that they were in danger of loosing their humanity. I think this concept had a lot of potential but the story didn't really go there. Perhaps it was a little too dark and gory for a fairy tale-like story.

I am sorry to say that Naef's love-interest, Aerie-Smith, was a little too good and too perfect to be true or realistic, even for a fairy tale. At least this is how I felt regarding him. He didn’t have a single flaw, not really. Their relationship didn’t exactly click for me either. Their love was a little too rushed, considering the big obstacles that they had to go through. To fall in love with a person’s heart and soul rather than their appearance or body is not easily achieved and everything happened too quickly for my taste and and therefore the story failed to move me that much.

Also, the cause of Aerie-Smith’s curse was way too insignificant for me. As others have also mentioned, the punishment simply did not fit the crime. I think the original cause from the classic fairy tale might have been better for this story. The elves were...extra? Too much?

I did like the ending and the realism it retained. Not everything was fixed and I think it was better this way. A little secret was also revealed that made me really like the title of the story.

At the end, I have to say that I am among the minority here and most of my friends have really enjoyed this story. So if you like fairy tales and M/M romance, you would probably enjoy this story.
Profile Image for Eli Easton.
Author 74 books2,611 followers
February 9, 2017
Another fantastic read by Amy Lane. It's amazing to me that she can write contemporaries so well but also pull off a fantasy like this one like a total pro.

I loved this book from page one and just was delighted by the story and the prose over and over. I think my section when Naef was still on his home island was my favorite-- what a wonderful build-up of an underdog character. His sister and what she did to protect him was startling and so very dark in a Grimm's fairy tale kind of way.

Aerie-Smith's island, and the description of the people/animals, was terrific world building. I loved the story and the plot arc. But my favorite thing about this book is the language Amy employs. I highlighted passage after passage that was just sheer brilliant writing.

I bow to your gift, Ms. Lane, and try not to be too envious!
Profile Image for Feliz.
Author 58 books107 followers
August 29, 2010
There are good books and great books and then there are books you can read again and again and never get tired of, books that grab you, suck you in and make you fly. This is one of them.

Naef is an ugly clubfooted cripple,despised by everyone but his mother and sister. Living in a twisted body has left him bitter and disillusioned, and so he's beyond wary when a stranger appears on his native island, claiming he wants to hire Naef as a "companion for a year with a regrettable task at the end". It helps, though, that the stranger, Aerie-Smith is cursed to be a lion walking like a man, complete with mane, whiskers and tail. It further helps that working for Aerie-Smith will gain Naef's sister Gwen the freedom to marry the man she loves, Aerie-Smith's cousin. So Naef goes with Aerie-Smith to the enchanted island, where people live as animals, struggling to keep their humanity. Aerie-Smith is their king, and he would do anything to save his people. Naef thinks he's prepared for anything, but he doesn't expect the change the enchanted island brings upon him, his body, his heart, and ultimately, his soul.

This would have been so easy to mess up. Naef, who often turns his ugliness and the way it influences the lives of his nearest and dearest over and over in his mind, could so easily have come across as whinig, wallowing in self pity and maudlin. Instead he is bitter, sharp, witty, self-deprecating in a way that forbids pitying him, in a way that makes it completely understandable why Aerie-Smith can look past his appearance to fall in love with Naef's true self.
Aerie-Smith, on the other hand, could have been a tacky, grave Prince Charming quite easily. Yet, he's noble without being condescending, caring without being oppressive, and simply loveable. Much of this has to do with his flaws, his own deep fears, his feeling of guilt for his people's curse, and his struggle against the beast he appears to be taking away his humanity.
In this masterful adaptation to the well-known fairy - tale there's no black and white. There are two beauties, and two beasts, but in the end, there are simply two men whose love for each other is stronger than any magic and stronger than fate. A masterful book. Everyone who likes fairytales, everyone who wants to escape into another world now and then, everyone who still hasn't lost his faith in love, should read this book.

Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,133 reviews432 followers
June 14, 2017
4 Stars

"Godsbedamned!" This was good. Really good.

There's not much else to add to any of the great reviews already out there. I will be the first to admit that I'm scared of angst and this is freakin Amy Lane! You can't read m/m and not hear about her. But Rosa gently nudged me towards this lovely tale; she promised me it would be ok...

So I was expecting angst and I got it. It was my favorite kind - want, doubt, insecurity - and this had it in spades. What I didn't expect was the enjoyment I got out of it as well. The verbal sparring these two undertake was smart and fun and funny. In and amongst that were some extremely scorching UST and wonderful smex. These men fall hard for each other and through their forced time together, they learn about love, forgiveness, and acceptance. I appreciated the ending and was so touched by the raw vulnerability of both Naef and Aerie-Smith. It was wonderful to witness and know that they healed each other and in the end, finally found their much deserved happiness.

Thank you Rosa! However, that doesn't mean I'm ready for something more hardcore from this author ;) Baby steps...
Profile Image for Otila.
364 reviews29 followers
November 5, 2015
I love fairy tales and I love Amy Lane and when they come together, it's magical.

Once upon a time, there lived a boy named Naef. Naef was not a beautiful boy, in fact everyone in his village thought him ugly. People were cruel to young Naef and when very bad things happened to him, he became Knife. Knife was a bitter, angry man whom none dared get close to. One who decided that it was better if his inside matched his outside because when people can't get close, they can't hurt you. Then one day a nobleman, Aerie-Smith, came to the village and took our hero to an enchanted (well, cursed) island. There Aerie-Smith taught Knife all about love. How to love, how to be loved, and most importantly, how to love himself.

This is a beautiful story. I loved Knife. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and just protect him from the world. Knife's sister, Gwen, was my hero. Then there's Aerie-Smith. His love for Naef is just so wonderful and beautiful and... and I think I'm gushing out of every pore so I'll just say READ IT...PLEASE.
Profile Image for Christina Marie.
145 reviews101 followers
December 4, 2013
Damn. Amy Lane punches me right in the emotions EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

So, it took me awhile to get into this. I actually thought for a second that I finally found an Amy Lane book I didn't like (not that I was looking). I think I was just having some trouble connecting with the characters for a little bit.

That was quickly remedied. Somewhere around 20% I was dragged fully into the story, and I did end up really enjoying this.

And then, towards the end, I could not stop crying. Not sad tears. No. Those borderline happy, sentimental, why the hell won't my eyes stop leaking type tears. The worst. But so good.

I'm still too sappy and emotional to write a proper review. I just want to say that this was a little heartstring pulling morsel you should probably go read. Like, right now.

Go on.

Profile Image for Nikyta.
1,409 reviews254 followers
October 4, 2011
This is the type of book I could reread numerous times and never get bored with or stop myself from crying while reading it. It's such a sweet story, a fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast.

I connected with the characters right from the start. Naef and Aerie-Smith buried themselves into my heart. Their pain was my pain, their happiness was my happiness. And no matter how many times I read this it always feels like I'm reading it for the first time. Experiencing the curse, watching Naef find himself in his 'chubby bunny' body and realizing Aerie-Smith and Naef aren't in love because of what they see of each other but of who they are inside and the truth they see in the dark. It always breaks my heart and makes me cry happy tears whenever I get to the end and realize it wasn't the chubby bunny Aerie-Smith saw and loved but of who Naef was from the start that captured Aerie-Smith's heart.

The curse in the story was at times both tame and frustrating. To think Aerie-Smith got cursed because of such a simple thing made me so sad. And the way he's so guilt-ridden and shamed by it was horrible. But Naef didn't blame him or was disgusted by it and tried to show Aerie-Smith that. Which gave me a giddy smile for how he proves it.

In the end, I absolutely loved this book. I've read it multiple times and each time it gets better and better and no matter how many times I read it, I always cry, every time, in the same exact spots. It's a book I'd recommend everyone.
Profile Image for Mary.
Author 117 books4,614 followers
June 16, 2010
Whatever I say will not be enough because just the imagery in the story itself will make you tremble. The language is so hauntingly beautiful and then the story on top of that is just amazing. Naef doesn't think he's beautful or worthy of love and Aerie-Smith knows he is but it's hell trying to convince him. The story is by turns touching and surprising and romantic and hot and hard to read in places like good story-telling is. This not your mother's Beauty and the Beast, it's way better. It should not be missed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews214 followers
February 13, 2017
'We are good at seeing the truth in the dark, right?'
This is a wonderful spin on beauty and the beast theme. I spent more than half of this book crying. Don't worry, it might not affect you the same. I cry when reading.

The protagonist Knife is a brave choice: he is actually deformed and ugly. It is not just in his head. He had a childhood from nightmares except in his own home. There his mother and sister loved him unconditionally. When he gets an opportunity to stop being an albatross around his sister's neck, he takes it. His obligation is to spend only one year on a beautiful, but cursed island as a companion of Aerie-Smith, his sister's beau's cousin. Aerie-Smith is cursed with beast form. He will only have to perform one 'regrettable task' in the end. Then he could leave.

You might think you know the story, you might think it is not worth rereading. You would be dead wrong. It is and at the same time it isn't the same story. Every time I read 'one regrettable task' it broke my heart a little, even if I only thought I knew or suspected what that task was.

As for the title, it couldn't be more suitable.

While it has enough of a happy ending to satisfy me (I need one) and it is perfect, Truth in the Dark will still surprise you.
Profile Image for Heather C.
1,468 reviews213 followers
April 23, 2012
This was such an beautiful story.

What defines beauty? Is it who you are on the inside? Is it who you are on the outside? Or is it what your beloved sees in you...flaws and all.

So there lies the Truth of Naef and Aerie-Smith. Inspired by the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast, with some interesting twists. Naef, or shall I say 'Knife', broke my heart! Although I didn't cry I did feel strongly for both characters.
Yes, it was dark and a little sad, but it was just so sweet.

What is beautiful? Naef and Aerie-Smith

I give it 4.5 Stars because it took me 'til about 30% to really get into it.
Profile Image for Deeze.
1,592 reviews265 followers
January 25, 2012
When I first started this I really didn't think it was going to be for me, but the more I read the more my imagination was captured.While it follows along the lines of Beauty and the Beast it becomes much more. At times I was a little put off by Naef/Knifes speech, but then I realise that it was in fact extremely accurate for him. After all a bitter twisted soul will spout bitter twisted words.

For me the ending was perfect in the way it didn't have a perfect fairy tale ending. Amy Lane again shows her talent for writing emotion and thoughts and feelings that will stay with you long after you close the book.

This is like the perfect fairytale for adults.
Profile Image for Dreamer.
1,788 reviews128 followers
June 4, 2016
Amy Lane's re-telling of 'Beauty and the Beast' with a gay twist. An unusual yet intriguing fantasy told from Naef's pov in the first person. An odd use of english profanity to my British ears!

Bitter abused cripple Naef (Knife) is taken as companion by lion man Aerie-Smith to his island where Naef undergoes a dramatic transformation.

'I was terrified of my weakness, of my sharp tongue, of my every flaw. I was terrified that this moment, my chance to live in happiness for however short a time we may have had, would be ruined because I was simply not carved out of the same wood as happiness, and that my grain was too twisted to ever take its form.'
Profile Image for Mandy*reads obsessively* .
2,203 reviews327 followers
April 4, 2014
Wow. A really powerful story!

This is one of my favorites, I love fairytales and true love and this has that.
I did wish for a slightly different resolution to one issue, but I can overlook it because the rest of this book is just plain awesome.
Profile Image for Pavellit.
227 reviews21 followers
November 15, 2017
This one was oh-so good, with a refreshing take on 'Beauty and the Beast' and the twist on it couldn't have been done better. A beautiful fairy tale, with added adult content, of course, about trusting your love, and seeing with your heart what you can't with your eyes, seeing the truth in the dark. Messages to learn and to live by. And the whole ended up squeezing its way into my heart.

I love stories with at least one character who is really an underdog that is found lovable by someone. Here they both are initially fairly wretched. One of them, Aerie-Smith, is cursed and placed in an animal body while the other, Naef /Knife (his name for himself, you have to read the story to find out why), is ugly, a young gay man living in a small village with only a mother and sister who truly love him. Naef /Knife's characterization is adorable. He is beautifully written, sharp and twisted, filled with so much anger, and who can blame him after what he endured in his childhood, but as the story moves on and he's helping to break the curse and free the inhabitants from their animal bodies on the island, his personality's changing more than it appeared at first glance. Despite my concerns that the author was going the normal path, the ending is hauntingly beautiful. It invokes issues of self-worth and what it means to be beautiful.

I also liked it, for the fact it wasn't so complicated, and despite the fantastical elements, it felt to a great degree real.
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