This book is an erotic novel, and features content that is not suitable for readers under the age of 18.
If you are not 18 or older, please do not continue to read this review and do not purchase the book.
This review also contain spoilers for A Lesson In Thorns, Feast of Sparks, Harvest of Sighs and general spoilers for (the end of) Door of Bruises.
☾ about the book
Title: Door of Bruises
Author: Sierra Simone
Series: Thornchapel Quartet
Prequel: Harvest of Sighs
Format: ebook, novel
Smut Rating: 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
Trigger Warnings: ritualistic suicide, mention of sexual violence/rape
☾ the synopsis
Twelve years ago, our fates were sealed with a kiss.
We are all, for better or worse, doomed to love each other until death do us part. My heart belongs to Proserpina and St. Sebastian—even if he no longer wants it. Even if she has left it behind to follow him.
Delphine’s fled back home, and Becket’s holy calling is in peril.
And now only Rebecca and I remain at Thornchapel to face the unknown.
The door is open. The door that shouldn’t exist; the door that people have died to close. I don’t feel like the lord of the manor…I don’t feel like a king or a wild god. I am a friend and a boyfriend and a brother—and a failure at being all of these things. But the door doesn’t care about my guilt. It only cares about the sacrifice I’ll make to close it.
As the bruising dark of Samhain approaches, so does the fate of our circle, of Thornchapel and the village and the valley beyond it. And I must don the crown, because one thing is still true, even if I must face it alone.
Here at Thornchapel, all kings must die.
☾ the characters
Poe returns to Thornchapel – and to Auden – but she continues to have dreams and visions about the past and present of Thornchapel.
Thanks to those visions, she figures out that maybe, it’s not neccessarily a king who has to die to close the door in the chapel – or maybe, nobody has to die at all.
St. Sebastian learns the truth about Ralph Guest and his ancestry. – And yet, even though he still yearns for Auden, he finds himself unable to give Auden what Auden wants: eternity.
Auden learns that St. Sebastian might come back to him if he reminds him, what he’s missing, and for now, he is content with the fact that Poe is back at his side. And yet, he knows that at Thornchapel, all kings must die,
Rebecca struggles living without Delphine, who is recovering from her lipstick-induced PTSD – and as if that wasn’t enough, something Rebecca finds turns Thornchapel’s grounds into an archeological research site.
Becket returns to Thornchapel as a priest, but not really. Finally, he comes clear about what happened to Poe’s mother, and when all else fails, he is ready to make the biggest sacrifice of all.
☾ the world building
The book is set at Thornchapel, a massive and mysterious mansion with huge grounds that house a chapel as well.
Most of the book is about discovering Thornchapel’s secret, which has to do with old paganic rituals.
All the characters in the book are childhood friends who come together under mysterious but not unplanned circumstances to finish what their parents had started.
☾ what i liked about this book
I liked the fact that I got to spend another 448 pages with characters that I have grown very attached to over the last week or so.
Just like in Harvest of Sighs, the smut really lost the spotlight to the plot, and it still felt as if I was right there with all the characters – I sure suffered like they did.
And even though the smut wasn’t the center point of the book, I found that what we got was still full of yearning, anger and of course lust.
☾ what i disliked about this book
Door of Bruises really pushed the limit when it comes to writing things for shock value. I think there’s a certain line that you shouldn’t overstep when it comes to stuff like that, and St. Sebastian, as always, was the thing, the character that was responsible for things that I thought very unnecessary.
I think that if I hadn’t been so attached to most of the characters, I wouldn’t have given this book the rating that it got, because there were a few things that irked me.
St. Sebastian, upon finding out that there was a possibility that Ralph Guest isn’t his father and that by that, Auden isn’t his half-brother, insisted on not giving himself to Auden – even though the two men were yearning for each other – until he had learned who his actual father was, just because he wanted to be sure.
In the epilogiue, 18 (!!!) years after the results came, he still hadn’t checked them, but for some reason, he completely disregarded of the thing that he was fussing so much about and ended up marrying Auden anyway. Oof.
That brings me to the fact that while I am perfectly happy with shipping PoexAudenxSt. Sebastian, the fact that Poe didn’t really get to have a future with her boyfriend irks me a lot – so what I am getting at is the fact that I wouldn’t necessarily ship St. SebastianxAuden if Poe wasn’t there – and for 18 years, she wasn’t.
Another reason why I am not sure about the ending is because the lore that comes with the door wasn’t what I expected – looking at the author’s inspiration for the book, incorporating fairytales and the fae as a part of the plot makes sense – but it reads like it’s far-fetched, especially because the door was made out to be much more dangerous than just a door to another realm (where Becket, Poe, Auden and St. Sebastian now reside) and the way this element was incorporated into the story just seems a little awkward, especially because the rest of Thornchapel’s mysteries are rooted in religion and history, not tales that you can’t prove to be true. I just expected the actual meaning behind the door to be a little more real, and a little bit more connected to the mysteries that they uncovered before (e. g. the graves/temples buried on Thornchapel’s grounds).
☾ should you read this book?
I think I am glad that I pulled through with this book in one go – if I wanted to be harsh I would say I am glad that I wasted one afternoon on it and not many.
The ending broke me – but only because I am so attached to the characters and I wanted there to be no sacrifice, dead or alive, and I just wanted Poe, St. Sebastian and Auden to be happy together – but at Thornchapel, not in some far-fetched fairy world on the other side of a weird door.
I wanted more from this book, and again, had I not been so attached to the characters and had the ending not made me weep bitter tears for about half an hour after I finished it, this book wouldn’t have gotten the rating that it did.
I can’t tell you whether or not you need to read Door of Bruises, especially because you’ve read this last paragraph, and you already know everything that you need now. So unless Thornchapel has you roped in like it had me roped in – and even though I was sure this book was going to hurt me (and it did) I was still desperate to find out how it would end – and you want to see the plot unfurl and experience two men yearning for each other, my answer is: No, you don’t need to read Door of Bruises.