This is book two in the Dark Tides series. I didn’t read book one but I never felt lost without it. I think the author did a good job of making this book stand on its own. So, if you’re interested in jumping right in I don’t think you should have any issues.
It was hard for me to get into the book at first because I wasn’t caught up enough to be distracted from the author’s writing style. This is not a unique style, I’ve seen it before in other books, but it’s just not for me. I could never forget that the author was telling me this story. She inserted her author voice in heavily throughout the story. Characters would have clunky chunks of explanation paired to a comment or actions that didn’t feel natural for an inner voice. Also, a lot of things were told instead of shown, and the characters did not have unique voices to help you fall into their points of view.
I also felt that some things were a little too heavy-handed in addition to the author’s voice in the narrative. On page two–Page Two!!!–I was hit over the head with some very heavy hints about the hero’s past mother issues. I just didn’t like that. I would like some time to get to know the characters and actually start to care about them before I have to hear about their issues. Then later in the book he decides to open up and dump what would seem to me to be very private memories of his past with barely any provocation. It just seemed like an odd time and place for a heart to heart.
I found the storyline really interesting, but it didn’t lend itself very well to a Romance. There was barely any time spent on face time in the relationship because they were under lockdown for most of the book and they were on opposites sides to boot. Most of the time was spent on their captivity and the various ways they had lost their rights. I liked that the author didn’t shy away from this, but I felt it would have been a little bit better if the book had been a little darker or more intense. It was just a little too light to handle the subject well.
I also liked that the author had the hero, Blake, stay true to his job. He didn’t give up his career willy-nilly for Gwen or her family even though he had doubts about the rightness of the government’s actions. But…once again, that doesn’t lend itself very well to a Romance. It’s hard to get into a hero when he’s aligned with a group that is holding the heroine and her family prisoner and shows no sign of changing his loyalties. I may still like his narrative, but it doesn’t make him date material.
So, I liked the storyline idea, but I didn’t like it as a Romance. The actual romance was a background feature in the story and that’s not what I’m drawn to in books like this. I want to see the main characters fall in love and grow as a couple. That didn’t happen here. Honestly, I think Gwen and Blake spent under five days in each other’s company. More time than that elapsed in the story, but they weren’t hanging out together for most of it.
Because of the weakness in the romance I’m glad the author ended the book with the characters getting together but not exchanging I Love You’s. I couldn’t have swallowed it if they did. I have to admit that they did have a few inner thoughts about love before that, but I was able to ignore it while I was reading.
I don’t think I’ll rush out to buy the next book in this series, but I definitely don’t regret my time reading this one. The author has some very interesting ideas that I liked exploring.
“Don’t settle for ordinary,” he told her. “There’s already too damn much of that going around. Be what you really are, Gwen. Be extraordinary. Hiding who you are, what you really are, is no way to go through life.”
Gwen’s gaze locked with his. Her compelling green eyes glimmered with the rise of tears. “Will anyone accept what I really am?” she asked softly.