Raze Cover
Title: Raze
Author: Heat: Re
Genre(s): Romance Contemporary
Tags: addiction age gap grief LGBTQ queer recovery karaoke m-m
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Synopsis from the Creator:

Sometimes the walls we build to save ourselves have to come tumbling down.

For the last ten years, Huey has built his life around his sobriety. If that means he doesn’t give a damn about finding love or companionship for himself, well, it’s probably better that way. After all, the last thing he wants is to hurt anyone else. Until Felix Rainey walks into his bar, fresh-faced, unbearably sweet—and, for some reason Huey can’t fathom, interested in him.

As the eldest of five kids, Felix Rainey spent his childhood cooking dinner, checking homework, and working after-school jobs. Now in his twenties, he’s still scrambling to make ends meet and wondering what the hell he’s doing with his life. When he meets Huey, he’s intimidated . . . and enamored. Huey’s strong and confident, he owns his own business—hell, he’s friends with rock stars. What could he ever see in Felix?

As Huey and Felix get closer, the spark catches and soon they can’t get enough of each other. But Huey’s worked hard to avoid intimacy, and Felix threatens his carefully constructed defenses. Huey realizes he needs to change if he wants to truly put his past behind him—and build a future with Felix. 

Review: Raze, by Roan Parrish

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 1, 2019 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea

Raze tells a story of two men realizing that they can build the life they want right now, and wondering what that life looks like. It’s about finding an identity outside of routines and responsibility. It’s less about music than the previous Riven books, and mostly about Huey’s sober habits.

Both Felix and Huey feel awkward in their situation, but they like each other a lot. Their love story leans into that awkward vibe with jumbled conversations, halted speech and unspoken desires to show affection. Huey tends to overthink and not speak or act while Felix does the opposite, which kills me.

They go on museum dates, attend quiz night, listen to podcasts while cooking, and spend a perfect day together at Coney Island. There’s a super cute first hug, and regular cuddling on the couch to watch a Roan Parrish version of ‘Long Island Medium.’ Also, Felix loves listening to YA audiobooks!

There are some very excellent handjobs at the beginning of their romance but about halfway through the book, I realized was... uninterested. I wasn’t invested in their relationship. I was tired of reading the many mentions of how big Huey is. I was irritated by Felix’s immature and unfair criticisms of Huey’s lifestyle. And even though Huey didn’t seem to care about the lie Felix tells at the start, or the violation of his privacy in a desperate moment near the end, I did.

It was wonderful to see Theo and Caleb (of Riven) and Rhys and Matt (of Rend) pop up so often, but for most of the book I couldn’t tell where the story was headed. As the story wrapped up, it felt like Felix and Huey were resolving issues that we weren’t privy to, so the solutions seemed unnecessary and out of left field. I struggled to feel closure or satisfaction when we didn’t know these things were affecting them this strongly.

At the end, I didn’t feel like I understood the characters or supported their relationship; I was just happy that they seemed happy. But your mileage may vary! Maybe you’re not phased by the suggestion that you can’t be a good boyfriend if you’re busy being an NA sponsor. Perhaps you don’t mind some immature drama if the person learns the mature response in the end.

I’m not filled with the all-in adoration for this book that I have for the previous two, but I am glad I read it. Though I’m not sure I agree with the outcomes, Felix and Huey’s conversations were incredibly thought-provoking, and the book definitely made me crave museum visits!

Content Warnings: addiction (painkillers, narcotics), NA meetings, Huey’s sponsee Morgan deals with unsupportive siblings while their mom is dying, compulsive behavior, panic attacks, nightmares, unprotected sex
There are quite a few uncomfortable sentences that hold no relevance to the story but that you may find triggering. For example, “What if I ask him out and he gets upset and beats the shit out of me?” “His big dark eyes looked almost bruised.” “He pulled me to his chest so hard I nearly cracked my nose on his chin.” 

Topics: review