Wanderlust by Skye Warren
April 14, 2013
Reviewed by Mandi
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
I kept coming back to those seven words as I read this story.
I’ve read three Skye Warren books, and each one has disturbed me, made me cringe at times but yet gets me thinking. She is a good writer who pushes the dark boundaries. And I mean really, really pushes them. I ended Wanderlust with very confused feelings, which I was expecting. To be completely honest, I’m not sure if I liked this book. I tried to take it as a ‘fantasy’ but it was hard to do that.
Evie is twenty years old and has lived with her mother who has severe anxiety and emotional issues. Her mother is paranoid, and rarely lets Evie leave the house for safety reasons, which is comical as a previous boyfriend of her mother’s molested and raped Evie when she was younger. Evie dreams of getting out of the house and exploring the world, obsessing over a library book she stole about Niagara Falls. (She lives in Texas). So one day she gets all her courage, her $160 and leaves, as her mother screams and throws things at her.
Evie has an associate’s degree in photography, and finds a job through the internet in Little Rock, Arkansas. But getting there will be a problem. Only a few hours into her trip, she gets a little lost. As night is falling, she heads into a truck stop to spend the night. While eating at the diner, a man sits down and stares at her. Later when Evie gets out of the shower, he is in her hotel room. Evie thought she was being paranoid like her mother when she saw him at the diner, but she realizes her worst fears are coming true. He ends up raping her several times this night telling her he will let her go in the morning. But instead he drugs her, and throws her in the back of his semi truck. He tells her she is “too good” and he has to keep her.
So for weeks Evie and Hunter have sex and travel. He often buys her food as she is tied up in his truck, not allowing her to have any contact with other people. Eventually though he starts to trust her, letting her ride up front and even going into diners with her. Evie does try to escape, only to have other men try to rape her with Hunter coming to her rescue. This is the turning point for her (a little) as he saves her from being raped (although he has already raped her). It all starts to get confusing inside Evie’s head.
I won’t say how it all ends. Evie does start to have feelings for him and we learn some big things about Hunter’s past that may explain why he kidnapped and raped Evie. I think some will find the end satisfying. I think some will find the end horrifying. But this is the way Skye Warren books go. Which is why I always seem to pick them up because she always surprises me. I found the end….unsettling.
Evie is young. Not only young in years but young in the ways of the world. She was forced to face difficult issues as she was raped as a teenager, yet she really is naïve when it comes to life in general. This early rape and then being shelterd at her house for so many years butt heads inside of her. So when she is with Hunter, and he gives her attention, sexual or not, she craves it.
I felt myself blush even as my stomach turned over. But I couldn’t hate myself for the small pleasure I took. There were so few pleasures in life, and even less in the back of this truck, but I could accept his compliments. I could accept his pleasure too.
“Goddamn,” he breathed. “You are too perfect. I can’t let you go.”
It almost broke the spell, that reference to how I’d come to be here in the back of the truck. Almost, but I held onto the trance, to the cloud of arousal that made this all okay.
“Please,” I whispered. “Help me”
“Yeah. Oh yeah.”
He sounded incredulous, and why shouldn’t he? How many captives would have been willing participants in this? How many captives had he had? But I had learned early on to make the best of my situation, to flourish even under hothouse lights, within glass walls.
For me personally this story had too much dark in it. I remember reading Special Forces Part One by Aleksandr Voinov which starts with a vicious rape between the eventual two heroes of the story, and that book (and series) remains a favorite of mine. I was completely able to move past the rape and believe in their love (over a period of many years). This book – I just don’t know. I kind of feel like we are told Hunter used to be a good person and because of something bad that happened to him, that is why he had to act bad towards Evie. Eh..not sure I fall for that. I wanted Evie to have a chance at life. HER life. Not one chosen for her. I guess she does choose her own path at the end, but she is so naïve to start, did she really choose? This book is pretty short and I think I needed more time to come to terms with everything.
I’m not sure how to rate this one. I appreciate how the author takes this dark subject matter and shakes it all up and gives us a story that is so removed from the average romance equation. But this one left me a little too unsettled.