I’ve been puzzling over this book since I finished it and I still cannot for the life of me figure out how to feel about it 😂 I just… I didn’t know I was expecting something from it until I read it and it felt like I hadn’t got what I was expecting?? And that makes me really sad. I’d been beyond excited for this book and yet it let me down more than I’d thought it could. (Even though I tried to go into it optimistically, knowing it wasn’t The Selection Series.)
The fact of the matter is that everything felt too quick. The whole story jumped from one thing to the next faster than I could have a chance to really care about the characters and relationships. By the end of the book, I wasn’t shocked by what I read (like I probably should have been), I was just majorly confused. As in, brows furrowed, gears in the head turning slowly, trying to figure out what to do with what I’d read.
I don’t even know where to start with the characters. The only one I feel like I might’ve liked a little was the main character, but even that is questionable. I understood her and found her entertaining, but only to a certain degree.
I sure as hell did not like her best friend Delilah Grace… if we can even call her a best friend. Hollis certainly would, but if I were in her shoes, I’m not sure that I could (what with everything that happens in the book). It was the most messed up friendship I’ve ever come across in a book in a LONG time, and that’s saying a lot.
And don’t even get me started on the love interests. King Jameson was good until he wasn’t. Sure, there were some issues with him right from the start—which could’ve been fixed if they were pointed out to him and he was willing to change. But then there was something he said halfway through the book that didn’t quite feel like it fit his character. It was as if it was just thrown in there to give us an excuse to dislike him and I hated that. At least give it a more concrete base. And it didn’t add up with stuff later on either.
And I couldn’t even begin to talk about Silas—BECAUSE I HARDLY KNEW HIM. And I don’t say that lightly. Like I genuinely only knew his character as if he was a flat secondary character, when he was supposed to be a main character. His character development was paper thin. He was about as rounded as a square.
And who in heck approved of them advertising this book as being steamy??? THERE WASN’T EVEN ANY WARMTH, FORGET ABOUT IT BEING STEAMY. Either that description was written by a ten year old who thought a few bland (YES, VERY BLAND AND TO THE POINT LIKE “I kissed him.”) kisses counted as scandalous or—actually, no. That’s the only explanation.
And I came to realise that either I am REALLY not a fan of instant-love-at-first-sight as a trope in books or that it was not done right in this book. I just couldn’t understand it. I can understand having a crush on someone at first sight or finding them attractive. But full on ‘I knew we belonged together the moment I laid eyes on you and it doesn’t matter that I know almost nothing about you’ does not work for me. There has to be SOME sort of development. I need to be able to grow an interest in their relationship. When from the get-go they just HAVE something between them, it makes it hard for me to care. I didn’t grow to love them together the same way they didn’t grow to love each other. It was a problem.
And what sucks about all this is the whole story had the right potential. It had the potential to be amazing and to probably sweep me off my feet and make me fall in love and then promptly break my heart, but it just didn’t do all of that because the pacing didn’t feel right. I feel like this one book could’ve been split into two and bulked up and maybe then it would’ve felt more rounded and complete. Because currently, everything about it just… felt flat. The characters, the story, the pacing, all of it.
All this to say, I know I’ll probably read the second book, because I’m nothing if not a believer that maybe it’ll get better (and because I just have this stubborn habit of never leaving a series incomplete), but I won’t be expecting as much from the second book after this one. It ended on what should’ve felt like a cliffhanger, but just left me feeling like I didn’t really need to know more. And I have to wonder if that’s because it was meant to be that kind of ending or if it just felt that way to me because I wasn’t satisfied with the book?