There’s such a thing as overly romantic and I think I’ve found it in this book. Don’t get me wrong, its a brilliant story but I wanted more. Not in the way where you never want a story to end, but in a way where you wish the writer delved deeper into the story and put some more meat on its bones where you needed it and stopped when you had just about enough of it. You know what I mean? Read it for yourself and get back to me.
Ember, we are told, is shy and sweet and fragile, a little too fragile. She has the classic case of wilting beneath her best friend; Lena’s shadow, more like a sidekick if you will. We meet them at the club and its really not Ember’s scene but she’s there for Lena. And there she meets Trace Montgomery, amateur fighter and all round sex god and all the girls love him. He has a bit of a reputation. And he’s damaged. He comes with the baggage of a bad past from which he is trying to move on. Their chance (or not so chance) meeting at the club sees them strike up somewhat of an unusual friendship/stalker-ish relationship-thanks to Ember. Their paths cross often enough and in that way we begin to see the relationship between the two take shape. Its a loving, highly charged and sometimes frustratingly choppy relationship thanks to Trace blowing hot and cold. But there we have it.
I loved the story for the most part, it smacked of Fifty Shades in parts, (which book doesn’t these days?) but if you’ve devoured the story of Ana Steele and Christian Grey like I have, the similarities will be easy to see. Still, its a story that stands in its own right. There are gasp worthy twists, some emotive scenes that would move you to tears and the OMG moment is so worth it. Not all is as it seems on the surface because Trace and Ember have a connected past and in that past lies secrets that deepen their connection, to reveal all would be, for Trace, to risk losing Ember someone he has come to see as the light in the dark (Ember would have said or thought just that…)
A few things didn’t work for me;
firstly we are told from the jump that Lena is a bitch and Ember is the angel, we are not given the chance to see the friendship between both girls fall apart we are just thrust into the deep end of its unravelling, I would’ve loved some build up there. But yes, Lena is a bitch. However, Ember comes off as nothing like we are told she is. She is not as shy or as fragile, she’s feisty and has no problem standing up for herself if needs be.
Secondly, the romance. I was exhausted by the end of the book. I love a good romance story, I do, but even for me, this was just a bit too much and it stifled the story in parts because we had to cut through all the mushy talk to get to the fat. And there was the whole adulation Ember had for Trace, he was a god in her eyes, at times I wanted her to punch him for behaving the way he did to her and other times I wanted to slap some common sense into her because she felt somewhat hopeless which was a contradictory to the feisty nature she’d displayed. For Ember, Trace walked on water, her adoration of him bordered on hero-worship and at a point it was cringeworthy. But at other, other times, she showed some spark.
Third, there were too many characters without enough a background story for us to get invested in them. Whilst it was good to have a diverse cast of characters with good bits to add to the story, some we could have done without. I found myself going back to read just who is who, when and where and why we must be weary or not about them. In my opinion it took away from the easy flow of the story.
My biggest gripe was the lack of setting. The story is set in New York but it could have very well been in a Waxahachie, no offence, but I found it odd that there was no use of the city as a character in the story, even a little bit. I wanted the setting painted in some scenes but we don’t get much, if any, of that. In most works of contemporary fiction, the location is often the other character that carries the story along, especially in stories set in New York or London; the setting is a presence. Maybe this was deliberate on the part of the author, maybe it would have taken away from the story in some way, I don’t know, but I would’ve wanted some more. Maybe that’s just me.
That being said; the story is ultimately what carries the book and a powerful story it is, one filled with emotion, rawness and romance, albeit, a little too much of it. It is a good read.