How exactly does one explain a story so moving that it's sliced your heart into tiny bits, ripped your idea of love apart, and then pieced it all back together again, making it more beautiful than it was before?
Not only did J.M. Snyder's Persistence of Memory move me, but in approximately 100 pages it managed to change the way I see love.
This is a story of of the future. A time when people are pulled from their homes by a government that erases their memories, brainwashes them and turns them into soldiers.
The people culled by the government not only lose the ability to remember who they were, they lose the ability to remember that they were ever someone other than the soldiers they are once culled.
Five years ago, Joah was culled but he managed to hold onto one thing. His name. And Joah knows that if he had a name then there is someone out there who can tell him who he was; who he should be.
The story opens with Joah's escape from the government compound and it took no time at all for me to fall in love with his strength. J.M. Snyder put a little twist on the usual escapee/fugitive theme. Culled soldiers have a chip inserted when they are first taken. The chip not only takes away the soldier's free will but, if someone manages to escape, it lets out a constant and high-pitched shriek the farther away a person gets from the compound. You go too far and the shrieking begins to burst blood vessels, causing the soldier to bleed from the inside out.
So, is the government worried once Joah escapes? No, because they expect him to die.
Joah fights against the voice in his head telling him to go back, the constant shrieking, and the wounds he's gotten during his escape. He's determined and his determination is the only thing keeping him alive.
And then he finds Tobin.
Tobin was a gorgeous character, the husband who was left behind when Joah was taken away. Tobin is the man who has waited for Joah for five long years. Tobin had no reason to hope his husband would return to him, but he held out hope anyway.
This is where J.M. Snyder put a stunning spin on the way love is usually handled in the romance genre. Tobin's love is so strong and everlasting as he patiently tells Joah who the two of them were before Joah was culled. Joah's desire to love Tobin as much as Tobin loves him broke my heart. There was no insta-love to be had in this story but the bond between Joah and Tobin was so much more believable and so very touching.
I loved reading about how these two men rebuilt their love in the midst of a very unique situation.
One thing I loved about this story was that the problem of the chip implanted in Joah's brain by the government was not abandoned. It plays a large part in the way the story ends. I felt like I was balancing on a high wire for the last 20% of the book. Never have I wanted two men to get their Happily Ever After as badly as I wanted it for Joah and Tobin.
The way that J.M. Snyder pulls everything together in the end was brilliant. I smiled for a couple hours after I read the last word.
I recommend this little story a million times over because this story is not just a gem, it's a million tiny diamonds.