Edited to include updated purchase links and new cover.
A few days ago Amy and Jen (both reviewers at Fiction Vixen) and Tori all told me to read this book. These are three ladies that share my tastes in books, so when I read the blurb and felt slightly horrified, I knew I had to push forward and try it.
I ended up really like this book, but I want to say a few things first before we get into the discussion. First of all, this is not a romance book. This is a psychological thriller. There is no ‘hero.’ Anthony and Claire are the protagonists. The author does not redeem Anthony in this book, nor try to. (I believe three books are planned, whether redemption comes in book two or three – I don’t know. I think that will be a great point to debate). There is a kidnapping, a rape and then a book full of physical abuse (stick with me!) There were scenes that made me feel sick to my stomach. At times I screamed, WHY AM I READING THIS?! But I kept my trust in Tori, Amy and Jen because they freaked out at the end of the book, so I knew I had to get there. And the end is pretty awesome.
Okay, now that we are done with the warning…let’s get into the discussion. First, if you want to read the blurb go here. It is super long so I’m not going to copy/paste. Basically, billionaire Anthony kidnaps Claire, rapes her and slowly starts to brainwash her with total control and physical abuse, so that she isn’t quite sure if she loves him or not. He showers her with gifts and love at some points, but if she is not the perfect hostess or girlfriend for appearances sake, he beats her. It’s all about control and consequences.
Tori and Amy – First I want to discuss Claire’s slow descent into loving Anthony. By all accounts, he is a monster. Was it his total manipulation of her that made her too scared to reach out to friends and family and tell them the truth of her situation? Did she really fall in love with him or was she scared that if she tried to leave, he would come after her?
Tori: In the beginning, I think she is confused, lost, and in shock. She wakes up not understanding what just happened. The man she respected and liked just RAPED and abused her. 0_o Then he starts telling her she signed a work contract with him allowing him carte blanche. Huh? I admit that when he spoke of the contract, my first thought was, “Dude, tell him that crap don’t fly morally OR legally.” Then break out the nunchucks. *sigh* It takes awhile for Claire to gain her bearings. Trapped and at his complete mercy, I don’t think she ever REALLY falls in love with him in a romantic sense. Her love for him stems from self preservation. Classic brainwashing. She remarks later in the book that obedience takes more strength than retaliation, and the fact she recognizes that, let me know that she never went completely under his control. It’s easy to stand outside of an abusive relationship and say, “Oh, I would never put up with that.” Yet, unless you’ve been in that situation, you have no way of knowing what you can and will do in order to survive. It’s only at the end do we really understand that she never had a chance.
Amy: I agree with Tori in the fact that I think Claire was in total shock once she woke up and realized what had happened. I mean, one minute she’s serving a hot man that is flirting with her drinks and the next she is locked in a bedroom with no way out. And that’s the main issue, she is now a captive to a monster and has absolutely NO way to contact friends or escape in the first few months. Claire is very smart in the fact that she knows there is no way she can make it outside of the house, even if she did, she has no clue where she is, and once she finds out she is under camera surveillance, she knows she has no chance in leaving. I think that was such a pivotal moment when Anthony takes her to the home theatre room and makes her watch herself on screen from the first day to the current day. That gutted me because at that point, Claire’s perspective of the situation was clear and self-preservation mode kicks in. And I never bought that she was truly in love with him. She convinced herself she was, at least partially, in order to mentally survive.
Mandi: They way he ‘met’ her, took her, and imprisoned her really freaked me out. He brainwashed her to an extent where later she was allowed to hang out with her sister, have friends, go shopping by herself (all under his strict control of course). I just felt this set-up is so creepy and disturbing. For every freedom Claire felt she won, she was really being mocked by Anthony. My major complaint with this book is that it is too long. I feel like it starts to drag in the middle and the author gets her point across and could have taken out a lot of the pages.
The end made me gasp more than once. While I knew something was fishy, I didn’t expect things to play out as they did at the end. Do you think the foreshadowing was present enough in the story? Without giving away the end, did you find it a believable ending?
Tori: I had remarked to Jen and Amy that this book had the setup and execution that is present in a Quentin Tarantino movie. We start in the middle, work our way forward, go back to see the beginning, then jump to the end. That in itself was the foreshadowing. Had it been clear cut and presented in the traditional manner, I wouldn’t have enjoyed as much. The not knowing and learning along with Claire does is what appealed to me most of all. Well, that and my hatred for Anthony. And yes, I found it completely believable. The entire setup was brilliantly played out to me. I do hope book 2, Truth, gives us more insight into Anthony’s thoughts and some needed explanations..
Amy: I have never seen a Quentin Tarantino movie, but I can tell you this; I was blown away by the ending. BLOWN AWAY! And that is what made this book incredible in my opinion. There was no foreshadowing of Anthony’s main objective that the reader could see. It was obvious something bad was going to happen to Claire when she took off in the car but what did happen was NOT what I was expecting at all! And when Anthony whispered in her ear about consequences and appearances, I came unglued!
Tori: OMG-I laughed my arse off about his note. I think he seriously overplayed his hand there. “Does he want a ‘well done’?” *shaking my head*
Mandi: The second book comes out next month and I believe a third book is in the works. At this point, after watching Anthony abuse, humiliate, and pretty much destroy Claire’s life, I want his penis chopped off. I can’t see him being redeemed. Now I have NO idea what the author has in store for us in the next book, and again I really don’t think this is a romance book. But I have to ask – what if the author attempts to redeem him? Is this even a possibility in your minds?
Tori: Yes, Truth comes out next month and Conquest (I think that is the title) releases in 2013 possibly 2014. *gasp* I have no urge for an HEA between Anthony and Claire. I don’t see how their could be, honestly. I want him to see the error of his ways through his own discovery and drown in the the shame, disgust, angst, pity, etc….he should feel when he realizes what he did. I want Claire to nail his arse to the wall and then leave him hanging there. I want her to play him like a fine instrument, get him completely enamored with her, then walk away as if he doesn’t matter and leave him lonely and heartbroken. I want him to die a slow death by porcupine. I want…lol…I’m sure everyone gets my drift.
Amy: I cannot wait to get my hands on Truth! I have not been this messed up over a book since waiting for Lover Mine! Seriously, I would have never thought a psycho-thriller book would appeal to me as much as this has but I MUST know the next phase in the story. I am DYING for Claire to have the ultimate revenge and yet I know the author can take this story is so many different directions. It’s going to be riveting to see how it all plays out in the end. I see no redemption for Anthony. I have no desire or see any fathomable reasoning as to how these two could ever have an HEA and I don’t want one. What I want more than anything is for Claire to find just one vulnerability in Anthony, one thing he might covet or care for and then I want her to destroy it in front of him and literally bring him to his knees. And like you Mandi, I would enjoy Claire castrating him and feeding him his own balls, lol.
Mandi: Okay, to wrap things up – this is a tough book to read. Girls – give the Smexy readers a reason to read this book – tell them WHY they should pick this book up.
Tori: You’re right Mandi, this is a VERY tough book to read. It is not an emotional feel good book. It is NOT a romance. So be forewarned! I read mainly because I have a problem with pain and I like to push that comfort zone. I don’t like to see characters give or receive physical pain in romance-bdsm for example. This book was appealing for me because the pain wasn’t imparted for romantic reasons. The author wasn’t trying to convince me that the pain was necessary in order for h/h to have a romantic relationship. The male protag in here systemically destroys then attempts to rebuild the heroine to his specifications. Her actions and reactions to that is what makes this book so compelling.
Amy: The book is definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s is extremely tough to read and the author does such a fabulous job establishing a visceral fear and hate for what is taking place. For me, the appeal was the author’s ability to draw such intensive emotion out of me throughout the entire story. I literally felt like how I was watching Silence of the Lambs and Sleeping with the Enemy for the first time. I wanted to scream, stab, kill and castrate which are far different emotions than what I usually feel when reading romance novels. And honestly, the strength of this book is in the heroine and I was rooting for her the entire time. Where many in a situation like she endured, would crumble, she’s still standing and I can’t wait for her to be able to say “vengeance is mine”!
A final point from Amy (in which Mandi and Tori completely agree) – The worst thing the author could do would be to continue Claire as a victim through the next two books. While she was a victim in this book, her strength sustained her to endure the madness and it would be exhausting to have to deal with it for two more books only for her to have retaliation at the very end!
Jen has her review posted at Fiction Vixen today with an interview to follow.
For those that have read Consequences, the author has the first chapter of Truth up on her Goodreads page.