Kind of Jarring
The author definitely, no question, cares about her characters. And we are invited to join in; but there were a few things that made that difficult for me.
Read the story now
The 'first chapter' character trait lists...first off, the author misspelled 'trait'; secondly, having to wade through those was like needing to read a videogame manual cover-to-cover before getting to play. Just let me dive in, please!
Initially, the story seems pretty shallow; the MC doesn't seem to have anything at stake, or deep motivation for what he's doing.
Then it gets weird. Partly on purpose; there's a terrible tragedy in chapter three, though I struggled to understand exactly what *had* happened; the author showed us so little. But fine, it's a slow reveal that will be shared later.
Except...the next paragraph, kicking off Chapter Four, talks about the MC's boyfriend. Back to the everyday of Chapters One and Two; I actually paged back to make sure I hadn't missed something. When I finally realized that I hadn't, and the author revealed that people had been kidnapped, I was even more confused. The MC doesn't mention this at all...I get that it's been a year, but...it's his own family, right?
Still not sure, to be honest.
The dark nature of the story isn't, in my opinion, especially well teased in the Summary, and definitely not in the first two chapters - a Prologue teasing the true nature of the tale might be a strong addition...?
Basically - I'm still not sure if the story is really about the dark disappearance, or the M/M love story, but I don't think the author can get away with both.