I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Released: January 30th 2018
Series: Criminals & Captives #2
“I can’t bring myself to give it more than a generous 2 stars.”
~ Under the Covers
I am going to keep this review short and (bitter)sweet mainly because I have so many mixed feelings about this book that I don’t know how coherent I can be. First I am going to say what I liked and then explain why I can’t bring myself to give it more than a generous 2 stars.
So, what I liked? The writing, I love Annika Martin and Skye Warren’s writing style. It’s a book with some dark themes and past events yet it’s paired with their beautifully poetic writing. I love that juxtaposition. I also like the story and Stone (our hero’s) quest for revenge/justice against the men and women who hurt him and his brothers in the worst ways you can imagine when they were children. Stone is obviously a psychologically and physically scarred man whose life has been held hostage by early abuse. Which explains why he loves a certain set of people and everyone else, to him, is just collateral damage. He was an interesting character and although I wouldn’t want ever be in his way I did like him.
So, now we come to the reason why I can’t rate this book more than 2 stars. And it’s all wrapped up in the heroine, Brooke. It isn’t because I didn’t like her, I did, she was a strong character who, despite being surrounded by privilege is going through tough times. What I didn’t like was her age. We start the book when she’s at her sweet sixteen birthday party, as in the day before the story starts she was 15. The hero is in his late twenties.
I didn’t immediately put down the book in horror, I figured, maybe they first meet here, it doesn’t get sexualised and they meet again a few years later. That isn’t what happens, she is 16 up until about 50% through the book. The situation is also sexualised. Now they don’t physically have sex, however, he calls her a kid in one breath and fanastises about her choking on his cock the next.
I couldn’t cope with this, it all felt so much like grooming. He kidnaps a teenager (in wasn’t a targeted kidnapping, it was wrong place, wrong time situation) at a point in life when her family are going through a lot of financial strife and putting pressure on her to be perfect and carry on a charade. She’s vulnerable, easy to manipulate, desperate for affection and SHE’S BARELY 16. In every scene that is screaming in my mind and it interfered with me enjoying this book.
For me, there was no need for her to be so young, why couldn’t the book have started when she was 18 instead? I would have been less disturbed by it, it seemed like they added the taboo of her being so stupidly young just for it to be taboo. I didn’t like it. Despite what I thought when I was 16, 16 isn’t an adult, 16 just makes you more vulnerable because you think you’re an adult.
It really disturbed me and I can’t rate this book more than 2 stars, despite the fantastic writing and interesting storyline. For me this book crossed the line regarding what’s acceptable behaviour between a barely 16 year old and man in his late 20s.
Okay, maybe this review isn’t quite as short as I expected…
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Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?