“Trasmundo: Escape” by Varian Krylov

26008860Title: Transmundo: Escape
Series: Trasmundo #1
Author(s): Varian Krylov
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 236 pages

Strange, quiet Luka doesn’t live in this world; long ago he took refuge in his art, escaping into surreal mindscapes inspired by his favorite painters. In the beautifully monstrous realms of his imagination, he is safe from the pain of his losses: his family, his friends, his hope.

Until war breaks out, and he is forced to flee the only home he’s known since he was thirteen.

Captured by an enemy soldier, young Luka is marched across brutal terrain, toward a fate known only by the bearded menace holding him prisoner. Quick with a knife, tireless and strong, Tarik guards the purpose of his mission as he takes Luka deeper and deeper into enemy territory.

When the soldier discovers the painful secret he has been hiding since childhood, Luka fears he is about to endure a new kind of cruelty, worse than being abandoned, ostracized or beaten. Or is it possible the soldier holding Luka prisoner is the one person who isn’t afraid of the truth behind Luka’s silence and lies?

One of the aspects I loved about this book, was that I didn’t need to be super informed on geography or current events to understand the content, because the author creates a fictitious world, where the setting is socially and historically similar to ours, but she changes the names, terrain, and history, to make it different enough. Because the author doesn’t have to concern herself too much over historical accuracy, it gives her a sort of freedom to explore the issues, while also allowing history dunces like me the chance to enjoy the content.

Another aspect I loved about this book, was Luka, our protagonist. Oh my god, he was the sweetest thing. He loved art, and the poor kid was probably the nicest person on the planet, but because of unfortunate events and horrible bigotry, he’s beat down over and over again. It was heart-breaking to watch him suffer so much, but eventually I got the sense that it was building him to be a stronger person.

As with all of Krylov’s works, I enjoy her use of explicit and poetic detail, as well as the fluidity of her sentences. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s read her before that this story is dark, but Krylov also enjoys the idea of beauty in the most unlikely places. I had to admit, when I was reading this I was certain everything would end in doom and gloom, but the ending surprised me. I forgot who told me once that the end of a story should be surprising but inevitable, but that’s what this was. It was perfection. If you like your romance stories a bit grittier, and your worlds dark and dangerous, you’ll enjoy this work immensely. On the other hand, if you love poetic landscapes and comfort, you may find it here, in the most unlikely but inevitable of places.

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