Overall Grade: More than 5 ⭐️
“He didn’t expect anything different, but it does hurt, to say goodbye. It does feel wrong in the sense that goodbyes often feel wrong. Especially permanent ones.”
The End. Finale. Fini. Sierra Simone’s provocative Door of Bruises brings its glorious goodbye. In its finish, the goodbye feels heavy, while also leaving you feeling replete, satiated. In words, Door of Bruises is erotic. Ephemeral. Exquisite. Existential. Epic. This book is gothic. It’s transcendental. It’s grave. It’s challenging. Sierra Simone is part mystic, part genius, part gifted storyteller. To try to describe this book and its predecessors instantly leave you bereft of words because it’s part romance, part paranormal, part gothic, and part mystical. I can’t put the story into words because it instantly reduces it and detracts from its power. While I read a lot, I feel like no one writes like Sierra Simone. Her ability to cast stories with a depth of feeling and cerebralism is astounding to me. Door of Bruises and its partners feel substantial in a way that most romances simply don’t. It’s tomes such as this Thornchapel series that I use as an ideal for romance. Sierra Simone’s depth of knowledge, her intellectualism, bleeds over the pages of this series. For some, that might be a turn-off. For this reader, I love the challenge of her words on the page. If I wanted to try and explain the nuances of Simone’s storytelling I would be at a loss for words, but for readers that should be seen as an opportunity to engage in the intellectualism of romance. To alleviate that struggle, Simone underpins the journey of her characters in Door of Bruises with some of the most erotic scenes in romance. While in other romances, it may read as bawdiness. In Sierra Simone’s Thornchapel series, it’s an opportunity to illustrate, what I think is a deeper message of this book and the series. Its main male protagonist, Auden, struggles with the duality of his character. He waffles between two senses of identity. This is further replicated in Rebecca, in St. Sebastian, and in the plan for closing the door. It’s as though Simone highlights a need for a multiplicity of meaning. Her characters, the Thornchapel 5, feel lost in the solutions of their parents, and it causes them to be trapped. Through the polyamorous connections, through the eventual solution to the closing of the door, through Auden’s acceptance of self, through Rebecca’s ability to forgive, Simone rights the world of Thornchapel, and in a way, is challenging her readers to view life in broader strokes, entertaining an open mind in viewing its challenges. Her heavily drawn story compels you to keep reading even though you’re wont to do so. I loved every page of this book, but I hated turning the page because the gravity of feeling lay heavy in my heart and my stomach. As she does so articulately in all of her stories, Sierra Simone challenges the ideal of the “happily ever after,” forcing you to see “happy” in a multitude of ways. All of this is wrapped up in Door of Bruises which is intelligent, exciting, carnal, and enlightening.
I know this review feels messy and inarticulate, but my mind is gone for Door of Bruises. While I am sad for this goodbye in all of its “wrong” feelings, I know that Sierra Simone has intentionally and brilliantly brought us to its end. There is so much more I could say about this book and the others in the series, but ultimately, what is important to note is Sierra Simone’s insistence in elevating this genre. In doing so, she challenges readers to see the possibilities for romance to be more, to do more. I have so many words, thoughts, and feelings for this book that simply cannot be contained in this review. Just read it. But be prepared to be overwhelmed by Sierra Simone’s sheer brilliance.
In love and romance,