Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness…
He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…
Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds…and desires.
The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart…
So I recently decided to read this book and (semi) live-blog my reactions to it. You can see them all on goodreads or on my blog. But it all boils down to: this book is a mess. It’s disjointed, repetitive, stuff pops up only to spiral off into the void, and the emotional tone of the novel seriously does not match the subject matter.
I think that last point is the root of a lot of problems. I mean, look at that summary. That is a summary full of dark and despair, right? And there’s a lot of stuff in this book that warrants such solemnity, what with both our main characters dealing with traumatic pasts. However, through most of the book, the narration is…downright cheery. Going just by tone, it reads like a light and fluffy romance. And for all the main character wants to go on about the problems her past trauma cause…she is remarkably even-tempered about the whole thing. It doesn’t seem to bug her at all, even when she’s laying the story bare in front a guy she’s only known for a week. And the same goes for all their problems, really. There’s just enough enough angst put into the narration to really carry it all off, so the whole thing reads as really flippant and shallow when dealing these really big, heavy issues. (Now, if it had been intended as a light and fluffy read, it would have been cool. It’s a nice and readable light and fluffy with some cute banter. It just doesn’t work for this story.)
Another problem with the tone is that it’s pretty shallow, which means we end up with a lot of repetition. They get in a fight, they make up, they have sex, they get in a fight, they make up, the have sex, and this cycle repeats again and again without really any carryover or buildup. Eva gets mad, feels horny, and that’s about it. She doesn’t connect one fight to the next ever, we’ll hear about one issue and then have something later that should bring that up again but it doesn’t, there’s just no progression or connection between one chapter and the next. I mean, she panics in the middle of the night when he gets all up on her (which, yes, she should, she’s got history) and then I swear one chapter late he “wakes her up with sex” and she’s totally cool with it? He doesn’t hesitate playing out that scene again, she doesn’t panic again, because as far as this book is concerned every scene is self-contained. That doesn’t help the heavy subjects (“wow, yeah, you’re so traumatized, I can tell by how you completely move in two seconds”) and it doesn’t help the (lack of) plot, either. Not to mention the fact that there’s no end to this book, they just keep repeating the same pattern over and over until suddenly the pages stop. But if there’s no build-up, how can there be a goal/climax?
And there’s just a lot of stuff that goes off into nothing. That one character at the start that looks like he might be a second love interest? Disappears for hundreds of pages. Gideon trying to convince her to be a submissive (out of the blue, 300 pages in)? Totally dropped by the next chapter. (Seriously, there is no BDSM in this, why was that even a subject? It’s so weird.)
Eva is pretty nice as a character; she’s good at asserting herself, and she’s self-aware of her needs and communicates them. It’s, honestly, about the only saving grace in this book because Gideon is…just…if this weren’t fiction I’d be convinced he’s got a secret evil twin, because he vacillates wildly between “complete raging asshole” and “cuddly awkward teddy bear.” The Gideon we see at the start of the book, the one that “doesn’t do romance” and is blunt to the point of FUCKING KIDNAPPING? Yeah, he disappears, replaced by a guy practically begging for romance. No build up to that, just bam never mind, let’s date. Teddy Bear Gideon is still pretty creepy, but it’s mostly reserved to…well, basically, Erotica Romance Tropes. (Too possessive, kissing a girl to shut her up, downright unfortunate dirty talk, etc.) They’re moments that don’t seem to fit with the rest of his personality, so they feel like they’re just in there for the sake of genre.
Actually, Asshat Gideon and BDSM both feel like they were added in last minute for the same reason.
So, that’s my take on it. There’s some really creepy stuff in there, stuff that I raged when I read it, but the overall effect is so disjointed that when I look at the book as a whole I’m mostly just…confused.
Rating: 1 out of 5