And then he appeared at the end of the hall, a shadowy figure backlit by the sun. My heart raced, being in his presence once again
Rating: (♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥)
And then he appeared at the end of the hall, a shadowy figure backlit by the sun. My heart raced, being in his presence once again. Adair, the man who’d hurt and deceived me, loved and exalted me, brought a man back from the dead for me, given me all of time in the hope I would share it with him. Did he still love me enough to help me?
As I stood in Adair’s magnetic presence, everything that had happened between us rushed back to me in a tumult, all that passion and anger and hurt. The chaos of the strange world I had known when I’d lived with him tugged at me. I stood at his door ready to ask him to take a journey with me—a journey that wasn’t without risk. The bond between us might be ruined forever. Still, I had no choice. No one else could help me.
A new chapter in our history was about to begin.
I'm not sure what all the low ratings I've seen on Goodreads are about. I loved this book. I love this series, which I sometimes read and sometimes listened to in audiobook format. My favorite part of the whole thing is the author's style of writing; very elegant, very deep and poetic. So the ratings baffle me. I can only assume that people are so caught up in what's "expected" that they don't like it when something veers off course in the romance world.
This book... no, this series is different. It's emotional, cerebral and thought provoking. It lingers inside your head. Poorly written books don't bother to hang around in your spongy brain matter or imprint themselves there permanently. Unless, of course they're traumatizingly awful. Books that are different stay with you. You ponder over them and think about them for days; even if the story made you upset. That's the sign of a good book; when it can mash at all your buttons and stir you up in some way.
Another thing I'd like to note... the Taker Trilogy is a love story. Not a Romance. It's realistic in it's portrayal of the trials and tribulations of love. Love is undefinable. Finding and understanding love is not easy. So many books focus only on THE single relationship between two Happily Ever Afters. This series explores (in the author's own words), "how a woman is ruined by love," how she is changed by all the many faces of love, and how her immortality has affected her own self realizations.
This series is not like most typical PNR's. In fact, labeling it is difficult because it crosses genres. I think this may be what bothers people; that they don't know what to expect from it; that it's unpredictable; that it's different. I, for one, like different, like the unexpected, like unpredictability, like books that cross genres and take you on a soul searching or philosophical journey.
But I guess people are disappointed... since there are no vampires, werewolves, zombies or shifters. The heroine isn't some kickbutt, weapon wielding femme fatale; the hero (who is actually rather depraved and debauched in the first book) is not a warrior, alpha male with rippling abs and bulging muscles; and the plot and storyline are not cookie cutter. Go figure.
I have this author, series and narrator (Laurel Lefkow) on my favorites list and wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. Different is good people! It's the best! Step out of your comfort zone!...more
Rating: (♥ 1/2) This series should really be called...
How to Be a More Forgiving Victim
Consequences fans... you're not going to like this. I'm aboutRating: (♥ 1/2) This series should really be called...
How to Be a More Forgiving Victim
Consequences fans... you're not going to like this. I'm about to be a very unpopular lady. No worries, though. I've taken the liberty of taping a target to my back, just to make things easier for you when you pull the trigger. But I have to say... I am NOT a fan. As a mystery, suspense, psychological thriller, the writing for this series is pretty decent. As a romance, it's disturbing. And I don't normally use pictures in reviews, but this series is so preposterous, I figured visual aids would be helpful.
Before we go any further... there are going to be SPOILERS throughout this review. Consider yourself warned.
Oh, where to start. How about with a few quotes from our lovable stockholm girl, Claire? Maybe it's just me… but I don't find these quotes very romantic or endearing. Are we sure these weren't meant for some kind of parody skit? SNL? Kids in the Hall?
"Some would argue that a foundation built on kidnapping, isolation, violence, an yes -even rape- would never stand. I must disagree. We lived through hell and came out the other side. Like the song says, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I can't imagine anyone having a stronger foundation than ours." - Claire
"I began to live, the day my life was taken away." - Claire
Here's a quickie list of my pro's and con's for this series.
- Fairly decent mystery, suspense and psychological thriller.
Con's: (or I should say thing's that really annoyed)
- Repetitive use of the word "compartmentalize." - (As if this isn't proof enough Claire is deliberately avoiding the horrors of her own reality. She is literally obsessive compulsive with it, to the degree that I started to feel batty myself. Let's take a look at what it means... )
"Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person's having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.
Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self states."
- Repetitive use of the word "suckle" (This word should never appear in seduction scenes. Babies suckle! Leave it in the breast feeding forums.)
- Too much unnecessary filler (all 3 books need a good whittling down).
- Too much cat and mouse going on between the main characters.
- Claire win's the award for weak minded characters that make the worst life decisions EVER, even with numerous better options easily available to her.
- Tony's favorite speech, given repeatedly to Claire - "I've done a lot of bad things, but the thing I regret the most is divorcing you." - So, out of all the bad things Tony's done to Claire (see detailed list below), the worst thing, in his mind, is his divorce?!
- And finally... Tony repeatedly tells Claire there are consequences for her actions every time he rapes, beats, or psychologically punishes her. Later on, Claire makes light of this horrible threat with a flirty comment back to him, that there will be consequences for HIS behavior. This is where we're all supposed to laugh and titter at such a cute, little, nostalgic reminder of all the rapey, violent things he did to her. Awww, just so cute! ♥♥♥Memories♥♥♥
So let me just clarify, I actually did like the first book in this series. But that's because I thought it was only a psychological thriller and not a romance. I was even excited in the beginning of Truth because it looked as if Claire was going to deliver Tony a whole heap of well deserved comeuppance. But that soon took a nose dive when it became apparent that Claire was going to go straight back into her stockholm syndrome-ish love spell and forgive Tony. Ugh!
Seriously? This is precisely why I don't get all the 5 star reviews for this book. Apparently, we should all be held captive by an abusive sociopath. Because without a controlling and oppressive figure in our lives… who will complete us?
Don't get me wrong… I LIKE dark, violent books. I've enjoyed BDSM novels with dark role playing (which is planned and controlled scenes, played out between two consenting adults), I've read romances where the main character is taken captive and falls in love with her captor and I've read dark romances where the bad guy turns good, is remorseful and somehow successfully redeems himself in the end. The difference between those books and this one is the hero/good guy/sympathetic villain NEVER crosses certain lines. EVER!
I prefer my darkness and violence to fit where it belongs within the story; in the hands of the bad guys. It really helps with that whole cognitive dissonance thingy-ma-bob. And if, for some reason, the author feels the need to make her dark villain a sympathetic character… don't carry his actions beyond the line of no return. YES, there is a line!
I think the author truly wanted Tony to be a strong, domineering, alpha male character. But I hate to break it to you... Tony is no alpha male. He had rage, jealousy, and trust issues. He was violent, abusive, murderous, and bully-ish and controlling to nearly everyone in his life. Those are NOT the qualities of an alpha male (here's a hint: 25 Characteristic's of a Real Man). Those ARE, however, some of the qualities of a subclinical sociopath.
I'm just gonna put this here 'cause it reminds me of something...
Yes, this series deals with dark subject matter like rape and violence among other things. No, none of those things are ever described in graphic detail. But... and there is a but... this book is more disturbing to me than more graphically detailed books I've read involving the same issues. Why? Well first, as I explained above, the author created a sympathetic villain that crossed too many lines for me. And second, all the bad things are delivered to the reader in a subtle manner; never described in graphic detail. I think this is an attempt to ensure the violence inflicted on Claire doesn't register too deeply within the mind of the reader. After all… we're supposed to forgive Tony in the end just like Claire does, right? If we're too traumatized by Tony's actions, then we'll never be willing to forgive and accept him.
Books where acts of violence are graphic make you feel ill. It provokes an emotional response that allows the reader to identify with the victim and experience (as much as realistically possible) their torture at the hands of another. When an author doesn't give graphic detail, the reader is unable to connect with the reality of the horrors being inflicted. It keeps the audience within a protective bubble, removed from the violence.
So lets go over why this love story is preposterous. And because I couldn't have done it better (and I'm lazy), here is a list compiled by another reviewer (Ayhan), and slightly altered by me, that details all the things Tony did to Claire to show her his abundant love and respect for her as a woman and a human being.
(view spoiler)[ - Has multiple people murdered (including her parents) - Stalked her for years - Bought the TV Station she worked at just so he could fire her from her dream job as a meteorologist - Kidnapped her - Raped her - repeatedly - Beat her - repeatedly - Kept her as a sexual slave - Kept her locked in her room - Videotaped her every move (Including his rape and abuse of her) - Forced her to watch her own rape and abuse at his hands on video (with glee) - Denied her access to the outside world (No internet, phone calls, letters) - Denied her access to her family - Monitored her interaction with anyone other than him - Beat her so badly he broke her ribs, gave her a concussion and she was unconscious for 2 weeks. - Forced her to perform sexual acts b/c she spoke to an old boyfriend. - Had her old boyfriend murdered b/c he had the nerve to speak to her. - Had her brother-in-law imprisoned on false charges. For years. - Framed her for his own attempted murder and had her imprisoned. For years. (hide spoiler)]
You'd think after all that, Tony would get his comeuppance by getting ditched and taken down by Claire, right? Nope. Not at all! Instead, Claire stays tightly wrapped within her snuggly stockholm/battered woman syndrome induced cocoon, falls deeply in love with and completely forgives her abusive captor. And yes, there is an HEA for them! Isn't that wonderful? Let's celebrate!
...I think I'm gettin' a little misty eye'd... ***sniff, sniff***
Here are some other reviewers in the minority with me. I just don't get why there aren't more of us out there?
ktbookreviews.blogspot.com Ayhan's review Jana's review - (Best review EVER! Sometimes less… really is more. Just sayin')["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Her first week in L.A., she'd fallen in with a group of Goths and their middle-aged whacko leader. He told her he was a servant of Satan
Rating: (♥ ♥)
Her first week in L.A., she'd fallen in with a group of Goths and their middle-aged whacko leader. He told her he was a servant of Satan and gave her a mattress in his basement to sleep on. He introduced her to absinthe and bloodletting, told her that her true name was Isis, and informed her that the Devil wanted her to be the blood virgin during their rituals. Raven could even remember feeling a tremendous sense of pride and importance as she'd counted out drops of her blood into the black goblet they all drank from, all the while laughing at anyone who actually believed the Devil was real.
Well, here he was. The Devil's breath was on her neck. The Devil's arm was on her hip. The Devil's spunk was in her mouth, and obviously, her virginity had never been high on his list of wants.
Well, damn! I was on a roll, but I think I just hit a wall. I really hate to give negative reviews. Especially on the heels of reading, what I consider, the same author's crowning achievement. I loved The Last Hour of Gann and I really liked Cottonwood (not as much as Gann though). But I think I really could have done without Heat. This story is definitely much more like horror than the other two books I've recently read by R. Lee Smith.
First, I'd like to encourage any readers that have ventured into Heat and come out the other end feeling damaged, not to let this experience deter you from reading The Last Hour of Gann. Even though both books are dark and violent, they are quite different. In my opinion, Last Hour of Gann is a far greater developed story by spades in comparison to Heat. Every moment in Last Hour of Gann, from beginning to end, moves along seamlessly. There is a point to everything that happens in the story (good or bad) and all the "REALLY bad stuff", which is integral to the story, is within isolated portions of the last 30% of the novel. It's so unlike Heat, which literally overwhelms you with it from beginning to end.
So lets talk Heat. Kane, a psychopathic outlaw alien (Jotan), has come to earth to hunt humans so he can extrapolate dopamine from their hypothalamus and use it to create an illegal drug called Vahst. On his path of carnage and death, he acquires two females (Raven and Sue-Eye) that he inflicts all kinds of depraved cruelty upon; rape, abuse, humiliation, mind games, etc. After a while stockholm syndrome sets in and they actually desire to please him despite their fear of his cruelty.
Kane is followed to earth by another Jotan named Tagen. He is the equivalent of a police officer/bounty hunter who is sent to collect Kane from earth and send him to a Jotan prison. Tagen acquires his own human (Daria) by less forceful means and requests her help. Somewhere in the process a love connection develops between the two.
I had many issues with this book. First, I didn't care for Daria's character. I got really annoyed with her repeated, emotional breakdowns. Second, the violence, sex and mind games imposed on Kane's female victims were sickening, excessive and, for the most part, pointless. Third, the bad guy is written as a sympathetic character in a way. Even though he's massacring his way through humans with total lack of remorse, we are supposed to care about him to a degree because he develops feelings for one of his slaves (Raven). As much as a psychopathic killer can, at least. I think this disturbed me the most. Especially with all the cruel and disgusting things he ordered his slaves to do, had done to them or did himself. And last, it went on much longer than it should have; way too much unnecessary, meaningless filler.
The ending was pretty 'meh' for me as well. But I suppose it would be after bombarding the reader with so much trauma throughout the entirety of the story. As I told another reader, I think I would never have picked up The Last Hour of Gann if I had read Heat first. The funny thing is, before reading the Last Hour of Gann, I remember preparing myself for the possibility of being offended, having read all the warnings from other readers. But it is actually Heat that I wound up finding offensive. I love darkness and violence provided there is a point to it all or I can't hang. It was simply too much and definitely crossed all kinds of lines for me.
Despite all my criticism, this book did have it's moments. The author is a good storyteller and has a very creative, if not twisted, imagination. It just wasn't my cup of tea. But to each his own. You may actually love it. In any case, this book is a sadist dream and probably best suited for those that enjoy gruesome and offensive horror....more