Book Review: Guns n’ Boys: He Is Poison (Guns n’ Boys #1) by K.A. Merikan

SGuns n' Boys: He Is Poison (Guns n' Boys, #1)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Own
Publication Date:September 11, 2014
Publisher: Acerbi & Villani ltd
Point of View: Third Person (Seth & Dom)
Genres & Themes:  MM Romance, LGBTQ+, Dark, Mafia

BLURB:

— Love is sour like a Sicilian lemon. —

The Family is always right.
The Family doesn’t forget.
The Family pays for blood in blood.

Domenico Acerbi grew up in the shade of Sicilian lemon trees ready to give his life for the Family. Ready to follow orders and exceed expectations. A proud man of honor.
When Seth, the younger son of the Don is kidnapped, it’s Domenico who is sent to get him back. The man he finds though, is not the boy he knew all those years ago. Lazy, annoying, spoiled, and as hot as a Sicilian summer.

Seth Villani wants nothing to do with the mafia. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get a say when the Family pulls him right back into its fold after his mother’s death. Thrown into a den of serpents otherwise known as the Villani Family, Seth has to find a way to navigate in the maze of lies. But when Domenico Acerbi, the most vicious snake of them all, sinks his fangs into Seth, the venom changes into an aphrodisiac that courses through Seth’s veins.

Domenico knows his life is about to change when he gets the order to train Seth up to the role of future Don. Seth isn’t made for it. He isn’t even made. But a man Domenico knows he would never have to fear might just be someone he’s always needed.

If Seth is doomed to follow in his father’s footsteps, he might as well enjoy himself—with the most intoxicating man he’s ever met. Maybe he can even fool himself into believing that Domenico isn’t a handsome sociopath who kills for a living.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: Enemies to lovers, mafia, homophobia, assassin, organized crime

Genre: Dark, twisted erotic romance / crime thriller

Erotic content: Explicit gay sex, coercion

Length: ~110,000 words

WARNING: Adult content. If you are easily offended, this book is not for you.
‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a gritty story of extreme violence, offensive language, abuse, and morally ambiguous protagonists. Behind the morbid facade, there is a splash of inappropriate dark humor, and a love story that will crawl under your skin.

REVIEW:

WARNING: Adult content. If you are easily offended, this book is not for you.

There’s something about this disclaimer in Dark Romance books that just irks me, that rubs the wrong way. This disclaimer is saying, “sorry if you’re feeling offended, but we did warn you, didn’t we, so then don’t complain for the horrible things written.” Like the wrong, horrible things are justified, because #disclaimer.

Dark Romances bother me, and I try to steer clear of them, because of that disclaimer. Usually, such books have ‘morally ambiguous characters’ disguised as such to mask their asshole, abusive behavior. He Is Poison is no different, instead it’s tried but wrapped up in christmas paper with the perfect bow that you can’t help but see the blood dripping from the edges.

Image result for gun n' boys k.a merikan

Seth, the younger son of then Don, is kidnapped. Don sends Domenico to get him back and take him to Italy. Away from the life he’s made in the USA those past years, away from the Family, away from his boyfriend (that Don, and the Family, most certainly don’t know about, nor can know), away from the freedom that Italy will not have.

Everything changes when Don makes a drastic, unreasonable decision—naming him the future Don. The thing is that Seth is so not the men for the job. Not only because he’s gay, or that he has no pleasure or want for the job, but he’s the biggest wimp to ever exist in the Family, probably.

Enter Domenico. The kid (not such a kid anymore) who tried to kill him when they were younger, and who Seth can’t keep his eyes off of. His half brother, who he has a boner for. Well.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30357511-guns-n-boys

So far, I’m all in. I actually don’t care for that ‘plot twist,’ nor do I think he’s whiny. It may come across to some that Seth is whiny throughout the book. Instead, I felt like this was actual, accurate reactions to how his life turned around. He might have his Mafia Family, and had lived through it, still when you get your finger caught off, I can imagine I’d scream the world down. I’d be crying for ten years, probably. Come at me with, “I thought we were passed that,” see what happens to your hand.

The problem with this book was Domenico. The problem with this book is trying to mask an asshole, abusive, rapist by dubbing him a dark, ‘morally ambiguous’ bad boy type character. K.A. Merikan has written the bad boy, and I’ll choose to chalk it up to this being one of their earlier series, because I’ve seen them writing the trope correctly. The problem with this book is the same with every romance book and having the bad boy walk all over the main character and calling that a romance. Teaching people that someone walking all over you, mistreating you, that sexual coercion is anything but rape, that he’s a ‘bad boy,’ he’s mysterious.

“Domenico sure hoped he wouldn’t get fat too soon because it would be a shame to lose such a delicious piece of lean bacon.”

Yes, sexual coercion was in the warnings, but reading just left me a bad taste. Over and Over, Seth tells Dom how he’s not comfortable with being a bottom. Instead of Dom being like okay we can do something else, he still pressures him. This is dubious consent. And sometimes it just reads as rape, because he’s aggressive and doesn’t take no as answer. OH. And the condom ordeal, like okay I get some people don’t wear condoms. But when your partner is telling you they want condoms, don’t just forgo it without telling them like what the fuck?

As for this comment, like what the fuck? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.

“Domenico hardly stopped himself from scowling when he brushed against a man in a dress, who exited through the same door. Christ almighty, what was the world coming to?”

“Women’s high heels didn’t belong on a handsome young man Domenico had fucked just days before.”

There are people like this in the world. I get that. But when you choose to write a character like this, it isn’t about the bad boy, aggressive, “manly* (eye roll, type it’s problematic as hell, and dangerous to write this type of character. To not only say “easily offended don’t read* makes it okay, but that you’re justifying this by using this disclaimer is disgusting and wrong. For authors to this day still be doing this is wrong. I could maybe see why they would do it if they provided would rectify the character’s thoughts by calling it our and saying this is not okay.

“Are you honestly trying to pass that ugly tootsie with one hell of a clit for a man?”

HOLY SHIT.  The amount of times Dom referred to Seth’s ex boyfriend as girlfriend. I didn’t not signed up for this homophobia. I get that there was what with the Familia, but from Dom. Get out of here with that shit.

For a second Seth is angry, and then Dom suggest going out and he’s forgotten that nasty, disgusting homophobic statement. The amount of times Seth and the authors disregard this behavior makes me sick. I honestly am hoping that this is called out later on in the series, seeing as how it’s still ongoing.

“A gold star gay suddenly coming out as bisexual? That was rich.”

I can’t with Dom. I don’t care what type of character trope he is, but he is just plain disgusting, and the homophobia he displays is *sigh*

The times when Dom actually acted as a human being is what makes me think that there’s a future for this series. I’ve read the blurbs for the later books and I honestly hope those rare moments from Dom, actually change his character around. I’ll continue this series, but because I don’t want this book to taint how I view K.A Merikan.

Goodreads | Lisa *-* GiViNg It To YoU * LoCk StOcK & TwO SmOkiNg BaRrELs (Essex, England, The United Kingdom)'s review of Guns n' Boys: Swamp Blood

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