Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: From Johann To Tannenbaum
Author: Ashlyn Forge
Series: Toys and Soldiers #4 (but can be read as a standalone)
Heroes: Johann & Tanner
Genre: M/M Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: 345 pages
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Available at: Amazon & Barnes and Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads & Booklikes
Blurb: Johann Andreas IV is a rich loser who has a raw deal in life. He is handsome, yet with a poor self-image, clever, but still uneducated, and despite being the heir apparent in his grandfather’s will, he’s about to be thrown out with nothing.
In the underground colony of his birth, two things matter the most to its denizens: a name, which will guarantee his wealth and status, and a designated branding tattoo, the only thing allowing Colony-Dwellers to live safely underground. Johann has one year to secure both.
His grandfather’s unexpected passing has propelled Johann to the foreground of his family. He must learn the family business within the year. He’s up to the challenge but one thing stands in his way; his mother has plans of her own…and they don’t include him.
A few months ago, I read a story that not only blew my socks off but made me immediately want to read the sequel AND purchase the print books of both stories. In Liam’s Wake (see my review here) was a ball of craziness I could not let go. I was nervous the sequel wouldn’t live up to it but, to my pleasure, it was so much better…
This is the journey that Johann Andreas IV takes from being a self-conscious, overweight nobody to a person who finds his place in the world and a person to love him. I’m not going to go into details about what happens because, honestly, I wouldn’t be able to explain everything that Johann goes through or the shear craziness that is this story (in a good way!). What I will say is that Tanner and Johann go through many things together and apart. They live separate lives but yearn for the same thing. It’s about self-discovery and acceptance, love and friendship, right and wrong and how you have to lose things before you realize the importance of what you lost. It’s a gripping tale that kept me captivated from beginning to end.
I loved the characters. Johann has so much depth to him that I wanted to save him from himself. He’s not a perfect character. He’s overweight, selfish, somewhat conceited but all he craves is someone who wants him for him. Tanner is that someone. Where Johann takes, Tanner gives everything he has just to make Johann happy, even at the cost of his own happiness. It’s heart-breaking, to be honest, because these two have more of a history than anyone could ever know and no matter what they do, everything seems to conspire against them being together… even the ‘needs’ they think they each want. When all is said and done, the influence they have on one another not only grows them as people but matures them and cements them into the lives they were meant to live.
My only niggle with this story was that I felt like Johann was very self-centered, to the point it was frustrating to read. Considering how he grew up, I could kind of understand it but I just wish he would have taken into consideration how Tanner was feeling or how hard Tanner was trying to make Johann comfortable. I felt so bad with how Johann treated him at times that I wanted to yell at Johann 😦
In the end, I absolutely adored the story even if there were some moments I wanted to smack Johann. The simple fact that Johann grew so much throughout the story, though, leveled out my dislike of his selfish moments. Tanner captured my heart and didn’t want to let go, and the numerous twists and turns throughout the book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The world Ms. Forge has managed to create is awe-inspiring and I can’t wait to read more about the characters within it!
If you’re a science fiction lover like me and enjoy stories that have multiple conflicts, an intricate world and heart-wrenching characters, then you’ll enjoy this one as well, so give it a try!
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*