Book Review: Strongman by Denise Rossetti

Strongman by Denise RossettiTitle: Strongman
Series: Phoenix Rising, Book 3
Author: Denise Rossetti
Genre: Fantasy Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: March 21, 2008 by Ellora’s Cave

A hard-bitten mercenary who's had a gutful of mud and blood and death, Fortitude McLaren joins the Ten Nations Fair as a roustabout. Tough, cold and competent, he's shocked and angered by his hunger for Griff, a circus acrobat. Brought up in the bigoted society of the Straight Church, Fort regards manlove with casual contempt. Not for him. Never for him. Athletic, cocky and single-minded about what he wants, Griff sets about getting it. Fort fights with everything in him, but Griff affects him like no one else. It's not just his strong, supple body. Fort is irresistibly drawn by the friendship the other man offers so freely. Fort may have found a friend, but the cruel memories of his childhood are the greatest enemy of all. When a job for Jan the Aetherii puts Griff in danger, Fort discovers what's really at risk - everything he is and everything he's ever believed in. To save Griff's life and preserve his own sanity, Fort must not only fight the battle in his soul, he must win it.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: I wanted more character development than I got but the world was interesting and the romance sexy.

The Set Up: Fortitude McLean grew up in the Straight Church where men were killed for loving other men so he’s never been tempted until now. He’s the new strongman at the circus and the confident acrobat, Griff, sets his eyes on Fort. But when Griff chases Fort into a dangerous mission, Fort will have to save Griff and figure out if Griff is worth battling his demons over.

Why I Read this Book: This book has an excellent rating on Goodreads so figured I’d try it.

What I Liked: I’m a sucker for good sci-fi world building and that’s what I got here. In this book there are different nations of people with some worshiping a loving, matriarchal goddesses and have a society based on sex and love. Then there is the nation Fort grew up in, the Straight Church, where everything is based on fear, repression and abuse. This world includes lizard-like humans who gnaw on each other as punishment and angel-like creatures that ooze sex appeal. Any fan of sci-fi like me will love this world.

What I Also Liked: Griff is an easy character to like. He wants Fort and goes after him. I liked this honest chase, though I doubt I’d have put up with Fort as long as Griff did. I could see how Griff’s earnest affection would be difficult for Fort to ignore. The sex between Fort and Griff is exactly what you’d expect from an Ellora’s Cave book and it doesn’t disappoint!

What I Didn’t Like: Fort has some serious issues and I never felt like they were fully explored. Fort would explain to readers about the Straight Church and his upbringing but he never really talked to Griff about it and the repercussions on how it made him feel. Fort’s issues with his father and the family he left behind is hinted at but not truly explored. 

Then I got a sense that Griff wore Fort down and I felt cheated out of Fort’s character development. I wanted to see Fort open up and embrace why his feelings for Griff changed, not just that they did. I love character development and thought Fort a good character that had a perfect opportunity for some introspective development but I never felt like I got that.

IMO: Loved the world building here and the sexy romance but Fort’s lack of character development reduced my enjoyment of this book.


J9’s Rating:
2 1/2 Frogs

Buy on Amazon Add to Goodreads

About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.