Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
You can’t escape from me Valerian. I want you – and very soon I intend to catch you. To cage you. To make you mine. Forever.
It’s official. I’ve lost my mind. I loved this book. It’s filled with page-turning suspense that makes the readers unable to put it down while bringing the creepy/stalker/obsessive love interest trope to a whole new level. It is fantastic and had me throwing out everything I know out the window, rendering me completely mesmerized, frightened, and intrigued by the enigma that is Gavin.
‘Imprison me?’ ‘Never be free?’ ‘Ravish?’ These words and phrases evoked violent images that made her shudder. And part of her couldn’t help but suspect that this was the intended effect.
Plot: This book is about innocent fourteen-year-old Valerian (Val) who has an obsessive, creepy stalker leaving her terrifying messages. She meets Gavin who is the school loner, and he terrifies her to no end, but she is drawn to him. As much as she fears his primal self, she finds herself unable to resist the attraction and intrigue. As things progress, her life becomes threatened, and Gavin increasingly shows similarities to her deranged stalker.
I like this book a lot. The plot is suspenseful, dark, and intriguing, leaving me unable to put it down. From the first pages of this book, you can feel Val’s fear of what lies in the shadows. It is a bit predictable at times, but the writing more than makes up for it. The reason I refrain from giving this book five stars is because sometimes the events in the book seems unrealistic. For example, I think there was a fair amount of evidence to put the stalker behind bars. I get that it goes along with the story, but it felt a bit rushed and unrealistic to me.
Characters: I loved Val. She’s innocent, naïve, and very well-written.
Val was delicate. Smart and sweet and beautiful, but delicate as a hothouse flower.
Her dialogues with the people around her sound like the conversations I had with my friends when I was younger. I sympathized with this girl because I felt the lure of Gavin myself. I could see myself in her place, feeling everything she is feeling. All in all, Val is a great character, and I can’t wait to see the development after the time-skip in the second installment of the series.
Gavin sat up. “Beauty. Innocence.” He drew her closer. “Submissiveness.”
“I sometimes think I’m more beast than man.”
“If you run from me, I will pursue.”
And then there’s Gavin. Gavin makes me want to throw all my common sense out the window. He is so intriguing and sexy, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I’m completely surprised and awed at Campbell’s ability to make me forget my hate for the obsessive love interest trope. I wanted so badly to root for him, and I found myself wanting to deny the facts in front of me like Val. There is a depth to him that makes me want to know more. Gavin is wonderfully written and is a character I will not be forgetting any time soon.
On the other hand, a character I had a problem with and what kept me from giving this book five stars is the mother. Val’s mother finds out about her daughter’s stalker and doesn’t call the police. I feel as if this is just careless. This guy could be dangerous, and she doesn’t alert the authorities. I can clearly see that she loves her daughter, so I thought it was a bit unrealistic that she wouldn’t get the police involved with the matter. Also, Gavin is eighteen while Val is fourteen. I find it unrealistic that she would not take this news more seriously.
Romance: This is a very dark love story gone horribly wrong. I’m sure you can guess that from the summary, but it is so intriguing at the same time. I wanted to see more of it. There is so much tension here. It’s creepy, and it brought a chill up my spine. The sexual tension is beautifully written and feels very much real.
Every time she closed her eyes, she felt his breath on her neck, that firm, insistent pressure on her lips – and that vague impression that he was hunting her, like a deer in the woods. A dark huntsman.
The Writing:It is dark and everything I would expect from a book of this nature, and it is very enjoyable. Campbell has a fantastic and beautiful way of writing that flows nicely and reads easily. I absolutely love the way she draws parallels to Val’s situation with the game of chess and primal animalistic behavior. It’s chilling and very well done.
Overall: This is a fantastic read. Some parts are a bit unrealistic, but regardless, I really love this book. I usually peg the creeper love interest as a negative thing, but Nenia Campbell has proven to me that it can be done right. She does not romanticize it. She makes it feel real in a terrifying way. I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book.