The World As He Sees It

The World As He Sees It - A.C. Arthur Full release day review originally posted at Sinfully... Addicted

While this book can be read as a standalone, if you’ve read [b:The Truth as He Knows It|23358161|The Truth as He Knows It (Perspectives #1)|A.M. Arthur||42914372] you will get so much more out of the story as Tristan’s relationship with Noel plays a big part here. This one focuses on Tristan, who was introduced in the first book as Noel’s best friend and who I instantly fell in love with. The two of them were victims of a gay bashing in college, leaving them both seriously injured, but leaving Tristan with short term memory damage. He is otherwise healthy but he is living in an assisted living facility with mostly elderly residents and while he retains all his memories up until the time of the assault, his short term memory tends to max out at 30 minutes. He has resorted to recording everything that happens in notebooks, on sticky notes and even on his hands. If something repeats enough, for instance Noel’s boyfriend Shane visiting him, he will retain a sense of “déjà vu” but won’t necessarily remember details; Shane becomes familiar to him, but he can’t remember his name.

Tristan briefly met Gabe in the first story when he was alone at Gabe’s dads’ bar and freaked out when his memory failed. Gabe assisted him and never forgot him. When Tristan returns to the bar with Shane and Noel the two spend the night dancing and strike up a friendship. Gabe has his own issues revolving around living with and supporting his alcoholic mother and he is holding down two jobs, one of which is making gay porn films.

As the two men get closer and Tristan participates in a drug trial that may strengthen his memory, Gabe struggles with how to reveal his porn career without losing Tristan. There are also some unexpected problems that arise between Tristan and Noel as Tristan starts to become more independent and spends more time with Gabe.

For those who are wondering, this book is a lot lower on the angst scale than the first story. While Tristan’s injuries and the life he has been living is heartbreaking, he is such a fun, sweet character and once he comes out of his shell his enthusiasm and joy just jumps off the page. He has times where his situation brings him down and he sees himself as a burden, or where he is jealous of Noel’s relationship with Shane, but he is also intent on trying to improve and live a life outside of the care facility. When Gabe enters his life as another connection to the outside world, Tristan’s flirtatious and loving personality really comes out. We get to know them first through their email correspondence before they start an actual physical relationship, which was a nice way to see that Gabe really wanted to be a part of Tristan’s life regardless of his condition.

Gabe is a perfect match for Tristan. The enormity of his heart can be seen in his refusal to walk away from the mother who has used and abused him his whole life. He has been filming porn for two years to support himself and pay off his mother’s debts. It also allowed him to have sex without attachments. Gabe is instantly attracted to and protective of Tristan, and he is able give Tristan what he needs - someone who will love and treat him like an adult as opposed to someone who is broken or damaged. The sex scenes were hot and the chemistry between the two characters smoldered even when they were just looking at each other across a table.

The drama in the story comes mostly from everyone tiptoeing around Tristan and keeping things from him. Both Noel and Gabe are keeping some pretty big secrets with the rationalization that they are waiting for the right moment or don’t want to hurt Tristan, but of course we know that never works out too well. I liked the way Tristan handled himself in both situations. I’m pretty sure there will be a big division in readers’ reaction to how the fallout from Gabe’s porn job is handled, but I for one didn’t have a problem with Tristan’s reaction. It was not necessarily what I expected, but I liked that it was something different and that Tristan asserted his ability to choose what he would and would not accept in his relationship regardless of how Noel or anyone else might have wanted him to act.

Tristan and Gabe quickly became one of my favorite A.M. Arthur couples. The story was paced really well and had a happier, lighter tone than the first. By not getting dragged down in drama it allowed the focus to be on building a solid relationship between the two characters and finding ways to work around unmovable obstacles. There is a happy ending and I hope to see more updates on Tristan and Gabe in future books.