Hurt - Varian Krylov 3.5 STARS"Do you think a person can love, be in love with more than one person?"If your answer to that question is anything less than the affirmative, then this book is definitely not going to make sense. Personally, I'd answer that question with a yes but with many qualifiers, which I guess explains a lot about how I feel towards this book. Menage stories thus far is still very foreign to me, particularly those that strive to work the characters involved into an actual relationship. I have a great deal of difficulty reconciling the intense psychological and physical concepts I'm bound to be confronted with. I've only read one of Varian Krylov's works and she writes pretty intensely and graphically that stamping her name in a menage plot has overkill written all over it.This actually reads like a 5-star book but Hurt just felt a little too intense. We always complain about the lack of character depth in some of the erotica books out there but this one had me lost and confounded in each of the characters' dimensions. So much that I sometimes couldn't reconcile Galen's character when he's with Vanka and when he's with Khalid and vice versa…and er, vice again.This is a book about needs and people finding ways to satisfy it and be satisfied of it. All that in the messy context of love. It felt like reading an extended dream sequence where certain lengths made sense then it shifts gears and have that hazy and fuzzy logic: logical actions taken on urges that a person with a pedestrian lifestyle will probably never have.It did get a little too heavy on the sex. I'm the kind of reader who enjoys the raunchy in my erotic reads but it did get too mechanical/technical in stretches, especially between Vanka and Khalid, I think this is my first read involving a modified strap-on action and believe me that's intentional. So much so that my favorite bits were Galen and Vanka's moments after her mastectomy when he'd care for her because I get to see them beyond beings with holes getting pumped and filled. Galen and Khalid's relationship was an entire psych dissertation on its own. I'm relatively new in reading M/M relationships in books and honestly I prefer it when both parties know what they want and have both feet in the pool. Galen's uncertainty is one of the things about slash fiction that makes me queasy. Don't ask me why, but reading about a straight man struggle and come to terms with new, homosexual urges makes me fidget a bit. His love and his fears when it comes to Khalid feel too enormous that I have a hard time rationalizing him as the same man who is also suffering in his love for Vanka.After reading Lost I was wondering what treasures Krylov has in her arsenal of the perverse and while I can't claim to understand the entirety of this deep introspection on love, trust and need, I can't say I'm not impressed. Her strength certainly lies in the poetry of her narrative. She painted an excruciatingly vivid narrative picture in this novel that earned more awe from me than any exuberant depiction of oral sex could ever do. Vanka's hospital scenes, the raw despair in the narration, stands out to me more than anything."I feel like the rest of me just caught up. I want you with everything in me. I want you so badly, there's not room for anything else."I'm just a sucker for simple words strung together in beautiful, artless honesty.