I recently finished a Kristen Ashley book where the villain and the hero shared a lot of common traits. Passion vs. psychosis, dominance vs. tyranny, violence vs... violence? Ashley managed to explore this subject pretty well, and while the plot of ROCK CHICK REDEMPTION was a little over the top, I liked that the author is cognizant of the fine line between hero and villain.
I went into CONSEQUENCES expecting a similar exploration, but found that the heroine herself seemed completely unaware of the question until way too late. I'm glad this book exists, if only as a foil to the myth of the controlling alpha hero. I found myself flipping through page after page after hundreds of pages of Stockholm moments looking for those flashes where Claire still exists, where she's still fighting for herself. She's held captive by a violent, awful man, and all the shopping trips and apologies in the world don't make this ok. I know from other reviews that many readers find Tony attractive, but that definitely didn't happen for me. I'm still reading, but I can't stand immersing myself in most of this. I hung on, hoping for a J-Lo "Enough" climax (every time Claire notes how strong she's getting I hold my breath), but at the halfway point I started losing hope. Claire is trapped in a prison of her own mind at that point, never daring to ask for help. Alone with the doctor she still toes the line... and I start losing faith.
And then, the death knell.
Oh my God, they got married. "We don't need a prenup, I could never live without you" is very different from Tony's "We don't need a prenup, you'd never survive an attempt to leave me". Holy shit this is awful.
(And an aside: If one of the words an author has to include in a sex scene is “consensual”, something is seriously wrong in this relationship. That doesn’t make it ok, that “this time”, she consented. It just brings home how often she didn’t. This is completely sick.)
Aleksandr Voinov’s DARK SOUL series was too violent for me to get past volume one. Still, the pacing and writing was well balanced and effective enought to garner two stars. CONSEQUENCES meanders on and on and on through this dysfunctional relationship, with no light at the end of the tunnel in sight. Being inside Claire’s thoughts as she wallows in anxiety and obsession for the cold, murderous, calculating rapist who so clearly doesn’t deserve it made me feel like I need a shower. The only thing that kept me reading was previous reviewer’s assurances not to expect a HEA… which had me hoping for Revenge with a capital “R”. Romig fans the flames for hundreds of pages, gives us our heroine beaten and abused and *finally* ready to fight back, and then cuts to black.
I'm sitting here feeling angry and manipulated. I would love to read Tony Rawlings get his just desserts. I would LOVE it. But given the agony CONSEQUENCES put me through, I don't trust Romig to give me that satisfaction without more torture. I don't trust Claire to some how magically transform into the powerful sociopath necessary to give Tony a taste of his own medicine. God, I don't even trust her not to fall back in love with this asshole.
I think I’ll just watch Kill Bill: Volume Two and call it a day.