You can read my full review at Sinfully Sexy .
5 “CONFLICTED” STARS
“...but love isn’t always roses and rainbows and butterflies in your stomach. It’s equally cruel and painful and the world’s worst villain.”
Song of the Fireflies
by J.A. Redmerski is a book that has left me deeply conflicted and not in a good way. I do not think I have ever finished a book and was immediately perplexed as to how I should rate the said book. I want to start by saying that I am an emotional reader and I tend to rate books according to how they make me feel. If I were to do that with this book, I perhaps would have rated it 1 star. I hated the fact that I was so damn angry for most of the book. With this being said, Song of the Fireflies
challenged me. The book is well written but it took everything in me to keep reading. I experienced such a plethora of emotions while immersed in this book, most of them darkening my mood. So why the heck would I give this book 5 stars then?
It’s simple. This book made me feel
. Sure, it was not good emotions. But, nonetheless, I became wholeheartedly involved in the twisted imperfection that was Bray and Elias. I ached for them. I got angry. I loathed what was happening. I became completely entrenched in this fucked up and messy story.
“Promise we’ll always be best friends,” Bray said, lying next to me. “No matter what. Even if you grow up ugly and I grow up mean.”
Brayelle Bates and Elias Kline met when they were eight and nine years old respectively. From that moment on they became the best of friends and spent their childhood and beyond creating memories. They were inseparable. Throughout the highs and lows of school and life, Bray and Elias were there for one another never quite crossing that line into something more than friends. That changed when they reached their early twenties and they finally succumbed to the deep feelings they had for one another. That is when everything fell apart and Bray left Elias alone and broken-hearted. Five years pass and once again Bray and Elias are reunited and decide to give their relationship another try. Despite the time part, Bray is still the emotionally unstable girl with some deep rooted and serious issues. It is not long before Bray makes another terrible mistake. However, this time Elias is not willing to let her go. Fearing consequences and separation, Bray and Elias make a run for it leaving their families and friends behind.
Going into this book I had no idea that I would experience such a disturbing, unbridled and dark relationship. When you first encounter them as children you can’t help but get caught up in the promise and innocence of young love. How quickly that changed. Instead what occurred was agonizing and painful. I felt so heart-broken and sickened as I immersed myself in this tumultuous journey. Not many books have done this to me if I am to be completely honest. Even after having contemplated this story for a bit of time, I am still unsure as to whether I was even able to emotionally connect with Bray and Elias themselves. There was just so much abysmal darkness that surrounded Bray which she in turn enveloped Elias in. Many times I felt like Elias just needed to walk away and be done with Bray. But then, from another stand point, I felt like if he was willing to go along with Bray’s stupidity then perhaps he was simply lying in the bed he made. His love for Bray was inexplicable and truly transcended my understanding.
At the crux of this entire story and reading experience is Bray herself. I truly disliked her, maybe even loathed her. Her mind-set was undoubtedly warped. She was disturbed and an emotional wreck. She was truly the darkness that set the tone for this book. I admit that it took pretty much the entire book to come to understand Bray (somewhat) and I am still unsure if I even truly grasped what the author was attempting to do with this character. My emotions for Bray mostly culminated around being completely furious at her for her immaturity and selfishness and also being stunned and saddened at how she drew Elias into all her murkiness and gloom because of her actions. Usually when I read about broken and despondent characters I always want them to get to their happy place and find love. I can’t say that this occurred with Bray. She already had the undying love of a wonderful man but it was never enough.
Do not go into this book hoping to experience a love story that will leave you sighing and all sappy, completely engrossed in the passion the hero and heroine share. Nope. For me, Bray and Elias epitomized what I believe is an extremely toxic relationship. Yet, despite totally exemplifying how cruel and painful love can be at times, Bray and Elias somehow made it through the cloudiness and despair. They somehow withstood the test of time unable to walk away from one another. Was it healthy and beautiful? Hell no. Was it real and achingly raw? Absolutely.
How much would you risk and sacrifice for the sake of love?
As much as I despised much of what transpired in this book, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the fact that J.A. Redmerski did a stellar job accurately depicting issues that are very real and that can be the uglier side of human nature. This precise and truthful interpretation is ultimately why I am giving this book 5 stars. I guess I ultimately came full circle when it comes to my feelings for this book. While I most definitely hated Bray and all her unpredictability and volatility, I can no longer state that I don’t understand it. At some point compassion needs to come into play. After all, we are all fucked up in one way or another. For some it just happens to be more of an extreme.
All in all, Song of the Fireflies
is not a book that I took lightly. I am sure it is one that I will be pondering for a few more days. I think this is a book that if you are interested in you should give it a go and form your own opinion. I believe that many will hate this book while others will embrace the crazy expedition. The beauty of reading is ultimately experiencing books for ourselves and forming our own opinions. Therefore, if this book interests you, give it a go. Just don’t come seeking me out if you need therapy afterwards. ;)An advanced reading copy of Song of Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.