Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:
Valerie Harper has one assignment, one mission. Assassinate her mark and everyone he loves. But what happens when she finds that she loves him too?
Her instructions are simple; do not fraternize with your target, observe at a distance, and never engage with the enemy. However, as things take an unexpected turn in Val’s world, these simple instructions begin to change.
Refusing to be a puppet, Kyle Shultz walks away from his old life and settles into the college routine. But the life of a student is more difficult than he imagined. Making friends and attending parties are as foreign a concept as showing a target mercy.
The lines between the state of the job and the affairs of the heart are blurred as Valerie and Kyle’s worlds collide.
With a maze of enemies and hit lists to navigate, will these two young adversaries proceed wide-eyed and alone into the fray? Or will they blindly trust the feelings they can no longer ignore?
Author: Peiri Ann
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Suspense, Dark
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 24, 2015
Source & Format: New Adult Book Club RIRI provided by author–eBook | Thank you Peiri Ann!
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I like reading romances that don’t follow the traditional path. Sure, it’s great to read about a boy and girl who fall in love while away at university but what if their situation was a little more...extreme? And I’m not talking crazy ex-partners who just can’t seem to let go. I mean, what if one of these people has been sent to kill the other?
Intriguing right? Though definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.
I love stories where enemies fall in love and having an assassin fall in love with her mark is a perfect example of this. Sure, it’s a tad cliché but it is entertaining. So, I when presented the opportunity to read this book I snatched it up! I couldn’t wait for the fun and danger to begin.
If you are expecting some light hearted novel, I would look elsewhere. These are assassins who don’t mind killing people for money or for a purpose. If anyone has watched Kingsmen (or read the graphic novel) I find the tone is similar (in terms that it is normal for these characters to pursue this path) in the sense that these people are pretty nonchalant about killing other people. However, it isn’t at all espionage based or witty in its humour.
This book didn’t start off where I thought it was going to. When I first started, I had assumed it would be told solely from Val’s POV and Kyle’s past would be a bit of a mystery. I also thought we would be joining Val at the start of her mission. Turns out, we get both Kyle and Val’s POV which is A-ok and honestly, removes the predictability of the book regarding Kyle’s past.
We are also thrust into the end of Val’s mission when everything starts to fall apart. Which kind-of sucks because it takes away from the character and plot development I was expecting to see. Val’s opinion of Kyle has been well established before the reader even enters the scene, taking away from the romantic development that I wanted to see unfold.
The shit has also hit the fan and that accelerates everything at a pace that doesn’t really work for me. I like books that hit the ground running but I just felt lost trying to understand these characters AND what was happening plot wise. I still really don’t understand what did actually happen even after finishing the book…
That does have its positives though. What I thought was going to be a predictable novel turned out to be rather unpredictable, keeping me glued to my Kobo to find out what was going to happen next. So even if I didn’t understand what happened, it kept my attention in the hopes that I would eventually understand.
Regardless of what these characters may or may not do for a living, I had a hard time totally connecting with them. Part of the issue was simply trying to understand their thought process and coming up empty every time.
I’ll start with Kyle. I personally have a soft-spot for the suave jackass character but he was just a little too much for me. He seemed to be two extremes. One minute he would be a nice guy and then in the next he was a complete ass who was crude and heartless. And I suppose to a certain extent it worked for his character and made sense the more I read but my initial impression of him didn’t really seem to improve as I read.
As for Val, I wanted a little more from her. I feel like a lot more could have been done with her character but she just felt very underdeveloped to me–especially given all that happens to her. It felt all over the place to me and I didn’t like that. And when we did get some of that vulnerability, it arrived way past the point of me really caring.
I really struggled to see how these romance worked. I understood why these two were drawn together in theory but in practice, there was more to be desired. Part of the issue is that Val’s feelings are already developed before the book starts. I just didn’t see what she saw in Kyle and that caused me not to see how their relationship would evolve. Kyle’s feelings were a little more obvious because the reader gets to see him establish a relationship with Val. But then again, my jackass impression of him stopped me from totally getting on board with the romance and he was all over the place emotionally as well. So overall, the romance fell flat for me.
There is going to be a spin-off with one of the side characters but that is going to be a pass for me. I didn’t particularly like him and I’m really not sure what to expect from his story.
My Rating: 2/5
This book just needed some polish because I think all the right ideas were there. It just flopped all over the place and never seemed to be consistent. Cool premise but poor execution (and that pun was totally intended).
Read if You Like: unconventional romances, unconventional characters
Avoid if You: don’t like assassins, want a more straight-forward read