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Kristian Daniels tackles the topic of Identity. An expert study of LGBTQ and Bullying Issues.
Kristian Daniels began writing in his early teens, scripting plays and writing short stories. However, it is only recently that he dedicated himself to writing full-time and published his first novel Stolen Heart. In this book, Daniels tackles the significant theme of identity with a serious message of LGBTQ and bullying issues in his deeply poignant, candid coming-of-age gay romance, which tells the story of young adults struggling with love, life, and sexuality. With his books, he tries to submerge the reader in a story with psychological meat, what it means to love genuinely and selflessly, and about being true to one’s own self.
Stolen Heart by Kristian Daniels
BY THEPRAIRIESBOOKREVIEW on •
A poignant blend of romance and young adult drama, the novel is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking…
Daniels tackles the significant theme of identity with a serious message of LGBTQ and bullying issues in his deeply poignant, candid coming-of-age gay romance, which tells the story of a young man struggling with love, life, and sexuality. As a teen, Elliott Denison has struggled with his sexual identity. Growing up in a religious household, with over-protective, extremely strict parents is difficult. But things are worse in the school. Reserved and gentle by nature, Elliott, more than often, finds himself becoming the target of bullies. The only bright spot for Elliott is his friendship with Paul, who would go to any length to protect the former. Estranged from his parents, Elliott enters adulthood. His life changes soon after he meets the handsome, endearing Chase Harrison, and things begin to look up. But an anonymous hater has other plans. Daniels’s compassionate consideration of issues of LGBTQ bullying and harassment is both intuitive and insightful as he depicts the plight of his protagonist as a child and teenager fraught with his parents’ strict parenting while struggling with issues of self-worth, low esteem, and sexual identity. The adept combination of convincing characters, sharp psychological insights, and well-woven LGBTQ elements makes for a memorable experience. However, Daniels’s biggest strength is portraying his characters’ struggles with their relentless insecurities and inner demons. He focuses on the raw feelings of his characters, who remain broken amid their ongoing struggles. In a soft, searing voice, he examines the intricacies of human nature, love, relationships, duty, responsibility, and mortality through the eyes of his main characters. Elliott shines as the protagonist. His vulnerability, brokenness, and gentle nature make him heartbreakingly real and relatable. Chase is a thoroughly developed character, charming, candid, and likable. Paul is equally compelling. Daniels’s writing is assured, dialogue sharp, and the novel’s pace measured and leisurely. Intelligent, crisp prose pulls the reader deep into the intriguing storyline. Though bullying and teenage LGBTQ issues make up the major portion of the storyline, this is a story with psychological meat, what it means to love truly and selflessly, and about being true to one’s own self. This expert exploration of homosexuality, enduring friendship, family ties, love, guilt, regret, faith, forgiveness, and revenge will delight the lovers of gay romance.
Worth reading 😎
A touching story that is brave in exposing homophobia in its truest, cruellest forms.
This book contains sensitive content which some people may find offensive or disturbing.Read synopsis
Stolen Heart takes the reader on Elliot’s entire journey of childhood to manhood, with the focus being his gay identity. We see his sense of self as a closeted, timid teenager full of shame transform to his adult years as a man of pride, who still struggles chiefly because of the backwards opinions of those around him. As the focus of the story is on hate crime, LGBTQ+ rights and relationships, there are a few trigger warnings surrounding suicidal ideation, violence and graphic, sexual content that I feel must be highlighted before reading the novel.
Throughout the novel, there is an argument to be made that the story barely scratches the surface of Elliot’s life due to the lightning-quick pacing. For example, chapter headings include ‘Two Years Later’ and ‘Four Years Later’, which I feel makes the story become a little rushed. Experiencing Elliot’s life with him becomes confusing and more difficult to relate to because of the speed in which we witness him at his different ages. Personally, I would have preferred a more subtly woven narrative that gives the reader more of a deep dive into Elliot’s personal thoughts and feelings, rather than the briefer descriptions that we are presented with.
Although the novel also occasionally lacks subtly in terms of dialogue, for example with the staple religious insult of gay people as ‘sinners’, this is also a clever reflection of how language that seems so outdated is still relevant in the present day. Therefore, terminology like this is included to show how out of touch ‘religious nuts’ are in comparison to peaceful believers of religion. Daniels beautifully lays bare the hypocrisy of extreme religion, and this is shown through Elliot’s realisation that ‘for the first time, I saw how tightly their lives revolved around their interpretation of the bible. It destroyed our family, the very opposite of what the bible should do’. However, the story is in no way anti-Christianity; it represents learning to become a more accepting and tolerant person to be a journey that can be hard to undertake, but is ultimately very rewarding. There is a very real and raw feel to Stolen Heart in the way that it displays both positive and negative responses to living ones’ truth, but at the heart of the novel is the warmness of acceptance, hope and celebration.
I would recommend this book to avid readers of LGBTQ+ fiction, and beyond. Its message is heart-warming and important, and showcases a voice that needs to be heard in order to enact necessary change.
Hi, I’m Sam! My life has been books books books from birth, to University, to beyond. I love to be a part of a community that has a genuine interest in seeking out these perhaps ‘undiscovered’ books and helping them get the appreciation that they deserve.