My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this up because the blurb was quite interesting. I honestly did not think that this book would be more than erotica but I was wrong.
This turned out to be one of the best romance novels I have read. The characters were real and believable, the struggles they faced were genuine, the blurb on the back cover tied in with the story (the 9-11 anniversary was more than just a set-up for a scene), nothing in the story felt forced to happen and the plot was very well paced.
This book had an interesting plot that delved into the main character’s struggle with his life and identity. The 9-11 disaster was pivotal in this because it changed his life and I was amazed at how the author used it to parallel the main character (Griff)’s current feelings and situation. This had quite a bit of cliffhangers and suspense scenes and it kept me reading. Two parts annoyed me a bit since it had a lot of build up in only for the author to skip on the scene he was building up and go directly to the (often alcohol hazed) aftermath. WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN THOSE PERIODS?! Although this style did work effectively to show the readers how Griff turned to alcohol in times of trouble. So yes, it probably was needed in the story, the complaining is just me wanting to satisfy my curiosity with the events in Blackout #1 and Blackout #2.
This was also very well-paced. The characters didn’t rush into things, there was no love at first sight, no instant feelings and instead the feelings took time to mature and grow and that made it all the more real. I loved the struggles Griff faced and how all the characters introduced were given their due, whether they be minor ones or game-changing characters. They were given enough development to have you assured of their purpose in the story and weren’t thrown away after their relevance to the plot was shown.
I also loved all the little philosophies and nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout the book but was heaviest in the scene where Griff finally talked to someone about himself. There are philosophies on love and truth set in such a realistic view.
One of the best things was that up until more than 3/4 of the book, I really didn’t know if Griff was going to get Dante or not. There are few books that can do that and this was one of them. Yes, there were hints if you read between the lines, but they were teeny and tiny and I had to hold on to my patience to not just skip to the end and satisfy my curiosity about their fate.
I have to say that the characters are one of the best things in this book, among a great many things. They were real and complex and they weren’t perfect which made them perfect. I hate absolute perfection in characters and societies in books and thankfully, this was very much real.
This book is also quite funny–there are a lot of hidden pop culture nuggets there that had me laughing. From Scooby Doo’s “Ruh-roh” and “He went looking through Hell for Dante”, and even the euphemisms for penis had me wondering if the author was writing them as such on purpose.
The only reason this isn’t getting a 5/5 is because the last two-three chapters felt a little bit rushed but I do understand why those chapters were there and they did their purpose in the story.
This was a great read. The sex scenes aren’t as much as the blurb or the cover would like you to think; this genuinely had a plot, a story, and there are several passages that will make you think.