Author: Varian Krylov
Length: 326 Pages (Kindle)
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: I loved the lightning-strike fierceness of the connection between Godard and Ángel. It was physical and sexy and rash and reckless and, in the end, unquestionably romantic.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: After years struggling to realize his dream of directing a feature film, on the final night of his fundraising campaign Godard is on the cusp of having everything he ever wanted. The man he loves is upstairs waiting for him, and he’s just a few dollars short of his GoFundYourself goal.
Then everything falls apart.
His personal and professional life in ruins, when his old nemesis from film school offers to fund his dream project if he’s willing to shoot it in Spain, Godard knows it’s a deal with the devil. But he also has nothing left to lose.
Among the labyrinthine streets of Barcelona’s Barrio Góthico, the city’s vibrant music scene, and the sun-gilt beaches of the Costa Brava, Godard begins making shooting his dream project and putting his life back together, largely under the domineering gaze and deft touch of Ángel, the god of jazz.
But Ángel is keeping a secret, and a deal with the devil always comes at a price.
Review: So often in the romance genre, a second chance at love is a theme that replays itself from story to story to story because it’s such a reliable one. It’s a trope that author Varian Krylov plays out so beautifully in The God of Jazz: Fugue, Concord, the intense and erotic journey of one man’s attempt to pick up the pieces of his shattered heart and seize hold of the dream he thought was all but forfeit. Krylov opens this novel in a way that sets the tone of pathos—some of it overt, some of it subtle—that permeates the story, rooted in the betrayal Godard suffers at the hands of the one man he thought he could trust.
The second chance motif plays out again when Godard is made an offer he can’t refuse—not if he wants to cling to the hope of having his movie financed. The man he chooses to trust with his dream also shares a history with Godard that plays into the storyline in a variety of ways, testing Godard’s resolve at nearly every turn and causing him to question his own judgment, particularly in the face of his growing attraction to a man who is the personification of passion and sex.
Krylov has a gift for translating her words into feelings, setting the mood and tone of a story in a sort of synesthetic way. The dissonant chords of failure and loss Godard experiences at the outset of the novel are as tangible as the sights and sounds of the city of Barcelona are evocative. When he first lays eyes on Ángel at the beach, the coup de foudre of lust is palpable, and that intensity of passion carries out through the rest of the novel in a big way. Every scene in which Godard and Ángel interact is permeated by a current of erotic tension. There’s a reason Spanish is known as a romance language, and the way Ángel growls and purrs and seduces Godard is an added layer of sexy. Ángel, the God of Jazz, oozes a commanding sensuality that leaps off the pages thanks to the author’s skill at provocative imagery, but it’s also the intense desire Godard feels for the man that is so easily used against him and his shaken sense of self and what he’d thought was real. Godard’s world was dismantled before he left for Spain, so his foundation for trusting in anyone, let alone in himself and his feelings, is compromised, which is what causes so much of the drama in the story—the suspicions and mistrust planted by a former friend and now business associate Godard has pinned his future as a filmmaker on.
Beyond Godard and Ángel, this story is populated by a host of secondary characters who are as charismatic and integral to the storyline as the MCs. The roles each of these men and women fulfill varies in importance to the core of the story, but each are necessary and offer a sense of completeness to the setting, and they enrich the story-within-the-story, the film set for Fugue, Concord, one of two contradictions to the second chances theme in this novel. When Krylov weaves the plot of her movie into the narrative of The God of Jazz, she does so with a level of care and just enough attention to detail that I was overcome by the despair of the story Godard was telling. It was such a great contrast—the hope of a new beginning for Godard and Ángel juxtaposed with the tragedy that the movie’s lovers are facing, and I don’t mind admitting I was choked up by the earnest emotion of it all.
The novel’s dramatic arc plays out in a manic way, extreme to the point of chilling, but is also the point where Godard and Ángel’s relationship solidifies and becomes something more than a short-term affair, leading to the second of the thematic contradictions for Godard—sometimes there are no do-overs; damage that’s been done can’t be undone. I loved the lightning-strike fierceness of the connection between him and Ángel. It was physical and sexy and rash and reckless and, in the end, unquestionably romantic.
You can buy The God of Jazz: Fugue, Concord here: