Review: Come Back To Me, by Edmond Manning


cover-edmondmanning-comebacktomeAfter years of lying, scheming, and dangerous manipulation, Vin Vanbly finally gets what’s coming to him: love.

How can he survive unstoppable, uncontrollable love when his very nature demands he control everything? Clues about his one true love—tantalizingly hinted at in each of the books in The Lost and Founds series—come together in four life-changing stories.

In No Kings, a sex hookup with a parking lot stranger reveals more about Vin’s life as a Lost King and his destiny than he could have dreamed. In King Fitch, Vin meets the last king in his long legacy, one final weekend before he withdraws from the world to an anonymous Latin American jungle. The Lost Ones recounts a terrifying kidnapping by street thugs from Vin’s past. In King Malcolm the Restorer, Vin’s mysterious relationship with his older brother—and the soul-crushing secret which drew them together—is finally revealed.

Through it all, Vin Vanbly struggles to survive. But what if he is destined for more than mere survival? Is he finally ready to embrace the truth and remember who he was always meant to be? Once there were a tribe where every man was the one true king and every woman the one true queen…


Dates read:
Edition read:
August 23, 2016
Pickwick Ink Publishing
Contemporary, M/M, LGBT+
360 e-book pages
1st person (Alternating POVs)
The Lost and Founds, book 5
August 23-27, 2016
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

Rating:     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
— Robert Louis Stevenson

So…I was having some difficulty starting this review. Because after finishing the book, just like after book four in this series, I’m nothing but mush. I went back and read my review of King John. That might’ve been a mistake. Oddly, or maybe not, I have a lot of the same emotions. I just hope I don’t plagiarize myself this time around.

I’m pretty sure the series as a whole is a study of the masculine archetypes as theorized by psychologist Robert Moore. I’ve done a little reading. Not much…some. It’s fascinating, and I need to carve out some time to do some more. I think what fascinates me most is seeing familiar unkingly traits of men I’ve dated (including the one I was married to) and wondering why the hell I gravitate toward the same unhealthy things over and over because they were definitely not at the apex of their archetypes. That’s probably gonna take some reflection in order for me to reach my own Queenship.

I digress.

Back to the King thing. Essentially, the theory is there are four masculine archetypes: warrior, lover, magician, and king. Lemme talk about the King one for a quick minute. I’m not going too far into it because I assume y’all have the Google. But, the thing to note is that the King is the pinnacle of all four archetypes. It’s a total centering or balance of all of them. It culminates at this apex into a strong sense of self, inner peace, positive energy, decisiveness, acting not reacting. My interpretation is that it’s total power over one’s self and in turn outwardly projecting inspiration, integrity, dependability, protectiveness, among other good things.

Got all that?

So these books. It’s Vin Vanbly, a Lost King, finding other lost kings and Kinging them over a weekend. He’s giving them the tools in super crafty ways of carefully planned experiences that lead them to their own kingly apex. Be the men they’re meant to be. He’s doing this glorious thing, but he’s a troubled man skirting the edges of crazy. His self-esteem is tarnished by a totally shit childhood. His life is a house of cards packed full of lies. And he’s most unreliable as a narrator — though his stories are captivating.

These stories are packed with little mysteries, mystical hoodoo, symbols, numerology, Easter eggs planted along the way in strange little places along with nuggets of wisdom tucked into bouts of lunacy. It’s sheer genius seeing all these elements so carefully crafted and woven together into tales of these beautiful souls finding their kingship.

Come Back To Me is told in four short stories, some parts are told in different points of view because Vin’s not always able to carry the tale. They span several years and release a lot of secrets alluded to in previous books. This book opens the gates wider than ever, answers a LOT of burning questions while posing even more.

Here is where we see Vin torn down and built back up. His secrets start creeping out of dusty corners because there’s someone Vin can’t deny when answers are demanded. Skewed perspectives are placed under different lights — or lit up for the first time after being tucked away in the dark.

I feel honor bound not to spill the beans here, so I’ll carry on with some extra exuberance. This series is not your typical Romance. Sure, there are parts that are spectacularly romantic, and the love is abundant. Sex happens, sometimes a lot, and it’s gorgeous and weird and dirty and sweet. There is kindness like you wouldn’t believe. Everyone is flawed in messy ways that make them relatable or easy to hate for a little while…until we figure out how to love them — because Vin knows and leads us there.

With book four I sat with a spiral notebook and scribbled clues and random thoughts and ideas and tried like a super-sleuth to draw parallels and conclusions between theology, numerology, mythology, psychology, and probably a few other -ologies and that book. I learned I was on the right track with a few things. (Woot!). This time around I just sunk into the experience. Though, I have more highlights in this book than any other I’ve read on a Kindle.

The only conclusion I’m drawing this time around is that Edmond Manning a Super Nova King among the Kings and Queens of Pens (or keyboards, as it were). And that this series comprises some of the finest books I’ve ever read ever in my lifetime of reading.

A note in the front matter states that this book can be read as a stand-alone, or introduction to the series. I can see that’s probably so. But…personally, I’d say start at the beginning. Collectively, they’re full of adventures not to be missed. I think having the background of the others made this book a richer experience. Plus, come on!

This review also posted on GoodReads and partially on Amazon.

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