REVIEW: Surviving the Merge by C.P. Harris

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The Official Description:  My name is Justin, and when I was seventeen, I fell in love with a boy named Damon.

Damon was sick, only I didn’t know it at the time. And like any disease left untreated, it festered and burrowed into the unaffected areas of us, until we were both so far from healthy, we were killing one another. Then a tragedy sparked our implosion.

With nothing of us remaining to salvage, I was left to pick up the pieces, while Damon found his escape in the abyss. Leaving me alone with Blake.

Damon and Blake are two halves of a whole. But Damon is the coldest part of darkness, and Blake the warmest part of light. Which form of ecstasy would you choose?

I love Blake with a ferocious intensity akin to the peeling back of skin. But Blake isn’t Damon. And Damon was gone—until now.

What once threatened to tear us apart has become our catharsis.

Outnumbered in the relationship with the man who was my life, I’ve begun to learn more about love than I ever thought possible.

**An M/M romance and book one in the Chadwick trilogy.
Can be read as a standalone, but reading in order is recommended as the characters make appearances in all three books. Surviving the Merge contains explicit sex and graphic language.

Author’s note: For those that appreciate warnings, please use the Amazon “look inside” feature to find them within the first several pages.

Just the facts: Character with Dissociative Identity Disorder who is married.

Truly unique… I’ve never read anything like this. It’s visceral, emotional and exciting. – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: First of all, please read the warnings for this book. There are some very intense emotions and some descriptions that may be triggering for people. The author and publisher have included a warning page in the novel. That being said, please don’t let that put you off reading this wonderful novel.

I read a lot of books… and this one is truly unique. I can safely say that I’ve never read anything like this before. The main character, Justin, is a dancer and is married to Damon.. who is also Blake. Damon had an absolutely horrendous childhood. As a result of one of the most traumatic and shocking childhoods, he has developed Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Damon was subjected to horrific things by his mother when he was a child… and Blake appeared to take over at times when Damon could no longer let his guard down. As adults, Damon is harsh and cold, controlling and fiercely possessive of his husband. Blake is gentle, loving, kind, and caring.

The relationship that Justin has with Damon borders on physically abusive. Except for the fact that their volatile interactions are consensual, the encounters leave Justine bruised and drained. It’s Blake that picks up the pieces and makes Justin feel loved and cared for.

The problem for Justin is that he loves both versions of his husband, perhaps even more importantly, he needs both of them. Each version of Damon provides something for Justin that he needs. It might be the control that Damon takes, the fierceness of his “want” but it’s also the sweet and constant love that Blake exudes.

When the characters begin working with a therapist (Julie) it becomes clear to Justin that he’s going to “lose” one of the men he loves if the integration is successful. Blake is the alter, he emerged when Damon’s life became so torturous and violent that he had to wall himself off to even continue to survive. The author does a wonderful job of balancing the therapy sessions within the plot of the novel. I’m quite impressed with the way the author managed to convey so much emotion and character development while still advancing the plot at a perfect pace.

Justin is a wonderful character in his own right. He is struggling to understand who he Is when he takes a leave from the dance academy he leads. He’s been so immersed in his relationship and dancing that he hasn’t made friends or discovered what else in life might be important to him. This story is as much about Justin’s self-exploration as it is about the attempted integration of Damon/Blake. He loves Damon and he loves Blake and even though Justin wants his husband to be whole and in a better place mentally, he can’t help but feel that he will “lose” someone.

There are definitely parts of this book that are difficult to read. I’m not going to detail it here because it’s all part of the slow unrolling of the plot of the book to discover it. Once more, I feel compelled to tell people to read the warnings for this story. I have added my own warnings here with my review. The events to occur in the book are such an integral part of Damon/Blake that I completely understand why the author included them.

I have to say that this is one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. The idea was something completely unique and it’s very well-written.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) mental illness, a character has dissociative identity disorder, rape (off-page), codependency, dubious onset, past child abuse, description of a murdered sibling, death of a sibling by a parent, description of murder, violent sex (consensual).

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About C.P.:

C.P. Harris resides in the city that never sleeps, although for her it’s lights-out by ten. She grudgingly dedicates her nine-to-five time slots to the finance world, but her most important role is mother to teenage twins. Her hobbies include, traveling, boxing, reading, writing–and more reading. And… more writing. She’s always had dreams of being a writer and after waking up from the most disturbing but romantic dream one April morning, she ran out and bought a laptop and hasn’t looked back. Romance is where her heart is, but she has plans to spread her wings across genres.

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