Have Coffee Need Books's Reviews > A Hurt So Sweet: Volume Two

A Hurt So Sweet by Isabella Starling
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I received this novel from Booksprout in exchange for an honest review.

Because my review of this series book one was extensive and not favorable I am reviewing this second book against the first. I will not be repeating former criticisms in grudge form so any comments herein are specific to Volume Two.

You know when you are fully aware that something awful is happening but you have hopes that some divine intervention will save you from the horror? Well, the cliffhanger of Volume One did its job and allowed the moment of dire catastrophe to breathe. It gave the reader the hope that ill-will would somehow dissolve. Betti Rosewood is not going to be your white knight and just as Pandora is screwed and bound for destruction so are we as readers. We will not be saved and at this point, divinity has forsaken us all.

As a cruel taskmaster would do Rosewood pushes this story further and further into Pandora's hell. I dislike Pandora as a character. She is annoying and pure nonsense upon nonsense for nothing more than nonsense's sake but still, I can't stand to watch the continued torture. While I feel very much like Pandora's characterization may not be able to be brought up to a point where she is anything more than a poorly portrayed porn-star; the suspense and sense of futility Rosewood sinks the reader into during Pandora's POV is something with which is beginning to truly exact punches.

However, I will say that Dexter, Caspian, Julian, and Lai are written far better than Volume One. The interjection of Dexter's POV backstory is fantastic for fleshing out his damage and baggage. He's disgusting and horrible but his motivations are more reasonably understood. I loathe that Rosewood is making me feel like he is the most redeemable character in this tragedy.

While the portions of the story of patriarchs/male Firstborn are getting better and stronger the females only get worse. We see for the first time Lily Anna and she is as one dimensional as Pandora. Every time Lily Anna and Pandora interact with Dexter or--a new character named Easton is introduced in this novel--Pandora with Easton it falls apart. The psychology of these two is so poorly based that it makes no sense. Pandora continues her whingy claims that Emilian or Dexter will be bothered with her mistreatment while having no reason to believe so at this point. And Lily Anna's shallowness and cruelty feels pinned into the story rather than tattooed to a specific purpose. Both Pandora and Lily Anna lack form. While neither of the female MCs is likable I still wish that there would be a chance that I understood why Dexter would feel something for either of them. His fascination with Lily Anna makes him look stupid rather than complex.

Ultimately, this book is much better than the first. I'm giving it three stars based on the first and not necessarily on what I would give it against other novels.


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Reading Progress

October 14, 2019 – Started Reading
October 14, 2019 – Shelved
October 15, 2019 – Finished Reading

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