Icarus by K. Ancrum: Emotionally Compelling

Icarus Gallagher is a thief. He steals priceless art and replaces it with his father’s impeccable forgeries. For years, one man—the wealthy Mr. Black—has been their target in revenge for his role in the death of Icarus’s mother. To keep their secret, Icarus adheres to his own strict rules to keep people, and feelings, at bay: Don’t let anyone close. Don’t let anyone touch you. And, above all, don’t get caught.

Until one night, he does. Not by Mr. Black but by his mysterious son, Helios, now living under house arrest in the Black mansion. Instead of turning Icarus in, Helios bargains for something even more dangerous—a friendship that breaks every single one of Icarus’s rules.

As reluctance and distrust become closeness and something more, they uncover the gilded cage that has trapped both their families for years. One Icarus is determined to escape. But his father’s thirst for revenge shows no sign of fading, and soon it may force Icarus to choose: the escape he’s dreamed of, or the boy he’s come to love. Reaching for both could be his greatest triumph—or it could be his downfall.

Icarus by K. Ancrum is a brilliant retelling of the Icarus legend that is not only a beautiful love story but is emotionally compelling, exploring trauma and grief. It is one of the most intense novels I’ve read with sparse prose and a fast paced narrative that immediately connects you with Icarus and his life. The novel drops you into Icarus’ life and shows you exactly how his life has been impacted by his father’s choices. When Helios is introduced, you see exactly how tangled their lives are. 

One of the pieces of the story that I love is how the trauma is explored in this novel, both how Angus’ grief effects Icarus, not allowing Icarus to have friends or really live but we also see how damaged Helios is by his father and by his captivity in his father’s house. I love how the friendship between them is developed and how friendship allows Icarus and Helios both to open up and be more vulnerable. For Icarus, that doesn’t just happen with Helios but he opens up to other friends, other relationships, even his own father. That growth of both characters and how they react to change is beautiful and emotionally compelling. 

If you love thrilling love stories that explore trauma and grief, a brilliant modern day retelling of the Icarus legend, then this novel is for you. The sparse prose, the fast pace and the emotional storyline with powerful characters are worth reading, not just for romance readers but for anyone who likes to understand other people and how choices dictate how they behave. This novel explores society, class, gender, and love in ways that are beyond description. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 climbs

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