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Counterpunch by Aleksandr Voinov


by Aleksandr Voinov

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Enjoyed the world building and the relationship between the 2 mc. After reading several other reviews, I didn't find it as graphic as I thought I would. Good read. ( )
  sharrow | Sep 21, 2013 |


No spoilers -- Just some quotes.

Go look this up before reading this book:

"What's my name, Ernie?"
-------------------- Muhammad Ali to Ernie Tyrell

**** I feel it is important to note that you do not need to be a boxing fan or aficionado to understand and ultimately love this book. Voinov carefully places you into this world and guides you effortlessly, so, the experience is completely full, rich and most of all, enlightening.


Walls closing in with no way to escape, is a feeling that penetrates throughout this story. Voinov's tight writing and hard hitting peak in this book, leaving a lasting impact.


We see our own, familiar world, with some slight changes to the rules, through Brooklyn's eyes. He is a man who has known freedom and has lost it. He is forced to tolerate confinement, humiliation, pain, torture, sexual abuse and worst of all, loss of self. Brooklyn is a slave.

"Okay, so slavery sometimes fucks up freemen, too."

Nathaniel, the smooth, educated, wealthy gentleman is the only one, who it seems, knows there is more to Brooklyn than being a slave. Nathaniel appears to be perfect, but as is typical for Voinov, that would be too easy.

Although this story comes to us through Brooklyn, the secondary characters are vivid. They range from likeable to hated. Watching Voinov paint such depth into these characters is fascinating. A writer could easily let his novel rest on the strength of his primary players, but not Voinov, he develops them to extract a full range of emotion from the reader.


As a reader it is hard to know what is worse; Brooklyn's sentence or his self-imprisonment. He knows he is still a man with values and worth but he also feels that he can never pay for his crimes. This would be easy to accept if you were certain that he deserved his punishment. The nagging feeling that eats at the pit of your stomach just grows and grows until you think both Brooklyn and yourself are going to burst. Then he does. And so do you.

This book could be read for the pure intent of enjoying a tense ride. There is, however, so much more here. A lesson. Do I dare compare this with the despair and hope in a book as epic as Uncle Tom's Cabin? I do. The message is no less important now than it was in 1852. Or in 1967 when Muhammad Ali demanded to be acknowledged. Powerful writing, powerful message, powerful characters. Easily comparable.

"Fight like a man or die like a slave."

In a word, exceptional.


Take a look at my Male/Male Romance Book Blog:


( )
  LisaT131 | Sep 21, 2013 |
Holeeee fuck. That was the best thing I read in a long time. I just didn't want it to end. Ever.

I was merely going to have a peek at the first chapter, since I don't have the iPad and don't like to read on the desktop screen. Good plan. In theory. Before the story grabbed me by the neck, jerked me in first one direction, then another, got me hot and cold and then spit me out four hours later breathless and begging for more.

It's rare to find a book that has everything done right. This is it.
  G.B.Gordon | Jul 10, 2013 |
It's over? Nooooooo!!!

I've had this one on the shelf for awhile now & I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner. Oh Brook, you were such a surprise to me. Twists and turns, I couldn't predict what would happen to you next. I would've liked to know more about Nathaniel's life but that's a minor quibble. This is Brooklyn's story and I loved it. I just hate that it wasn't longer! (there's just no pleasing some people...like me) ( )
  FanGirlMom | Apr 2, 2013 |
If you are looking for a sweet romance, you will not find it here. However, if you are looking for a richly plotted story that focuses on the strength of the human spirit in the face of an unkind fate, then you will be well rewarded with Brooklyn's journey.

Early on I felt Brook lacked emotion, but I came to understand that if he allowed himself to think too much, or feel too much he could well have been unable to keep going. As an owned slave, Brooklyn has few choices other than to do what he's told and his focus is on his training as a boxer and beating his opponents. I believe this is the only thing that keeps him sane.

When Nathaniel Bishop enters Booklyn's life, things get complicated. Nathaniel is one of the few people in Brook's life who doesn't seem to just use him and offers hope that he can help Brook overturn his conviction to slavery. But of course, things do not go smoothly and there are a number of surprise twists before the story is concluded.

When I finished the story I felt a bit in awe of the journey I'd just taken along with Brooklyn. I was left with such rich promise for his future and a desire for a sequel to see it come to fruition. I believe though that a sequel with a HEA ending would not be nearly as powerful a story, so am not expecting to see that happen. Instead I've decided to be content to use my imagination and just be happy that Brooklyn now has the opportunity to choose his own future.

Highly recommend. ( )
  DianeYu | Nov 19, 2011 |
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