LIVE includes a before and after; there’s how his before could be their after. Given both, what we have are two leads perfect in how real they’re laid bare. Every single aspect of this- him, her, and then them; as well as the people that surround them and the place (then places) they find themselves in- all of it are so perfectly drawn and made possible as a result.
HIM and HER. As said, his before, their after… or the possibility of that that has them being cautious then later not cautious at all. It’s a different story as what they are is never a simple one plus then two; there’s tremendous placed on weighing what is, what could be, as well as who they are; there’s thoughtful consideration on what they need versus what they want.
A BEGINNING. There’s simplicity to the start as Rivers sets the two of them up on mutual attraction, but does not stop there; because it’s their slow getting to know the other that charges things further. It’s a newness that’s shadowed though by their pasts. So that this easy new thing that’s lovely, is not always that because of what they know and what they’ve learned: she and her family, has her pegged “the responsible one’; him and his past, has him more cautious about wanting-needing-sacrificing.
EVENTUALLY though it’s them working around those same things to see more in themselves --- maybe first in the other and later in their own person. Because the IN-BETWEEN? It’s that which has them exploring possibilities -- and me, swooning over their choice of words even their descriptions of event and action. There’s a quite quality to goings-on; the way they open to each other, allowing themselves a glimpse of each other’s past + character.
It’s all slow and soft but all that’s mixed together with their passion as they explore both the physical alongside the emotional. And all that, again, has me swooning as one look, touch, word between the two, about the other, for the other, allows so much to expressed, like those on Here and There and not being where you ought be; on Wanting and Needing; on Smiles against kisses. Kisses against grins.
I am not going to lie- the minute I skimmed over Cole’s name in the blurb, was the minute I clicked that glowing TBR button on GR; long have I been a fan of Cole then Isabel (but really, mostly Cole). SINNER has them both fully fleshed out, flaws and all… and they are both nothing if not flawed.
There’s this internal struggle for the two. For him, there’s that push-pull-pull between being his old self, performing and loving the same versus being more than that- the guy he’d learned to become in Mercy Falls. So, there’s this sad bit that could have gone poor little rich boy for him, except not really. It’s in performing for the crowd that he truly came alive; it’s not him as hapless something or other. No, not at all as the Cole here is totally aware of the game as well as the role he was to have in it. As a consequence, we have is him reveling in it. It’s this same thing that made things more complicated. Was he really more than just what he’d put on display? And if the answer is initially clear to him, the more time spent in LA, the more emotional hurdles cropped up for him to deal with (or not deal with as was sometimes the case), the less clear everything turned out to be.
Then turn to Isabel, for her things are a bit more muted, but no less emotional. For her change abounds the same leaving her unsure as to how to go about things. First, that a shift in what’s become of her family; and then that shift in what to expect from Cole. While you’d think perception would play a big role in his end of the story, it seemed, to me at least, to play just as big a part in how things were unfolding for her… and if possible in an even more complicated manner. For her there’s Perception based on expectation, as well as Perception based on history and what’s familiar. The way she deals with things is… not at all. And that above all is what made her real for me. Yes, she’s the pretty sad girl, but she’s also the scary one, then the funny one, then the mean one. She’s more than the Isabel from Mercy.
This is more than just a werewolf in LA (though it starts that way.) What we have a guy standing in front of a girl asking…. Oh, Wait. What we have is both the guy and the girl seeing possibility in who they both could be as individuals then together but more importantly we why that is.
Thank you, NG!
compelling. Thank goodness for the same. There’s few moments of the Darkling- Alina- Mal conundrum here since it’s already clear what the roles each have so that things become more than her as Saint, or Mal as friend then (reluctant) lover, or even Darkling as the one to overcome. What they all do is reveal sides unexpected (or maybe expected, as I have been conflicted over whom to root for since Day One.)
Because while Mal had me giddy over declarations and actions of a certain nature, it was still Darkling who had me considering possibilities. As did Alina, with her little moments of ‘who am I then who are you’ as well as the identity versus the distance she felt existed between her and certain key others. In fact, for a good chunk of this book, it is Alina alone then Mal alone then Darkling too; few instances is it really any of them together; it’s in that separation, that the unexpected unfold.
Things begin with Alina isolated and struggling to access her abilities. It’s in her isolation that things clear up regarding where loyalties are. But more, there’s clarity added to what she has to. And things really do fall to her, that she’s surrounded with so many does not take away from that. Yet, it’s also in being surrounded that the truth of purpose as well as history is revealed. And I tell you…. all those twists, all those reveals! Agh! Thus, events begin then progress at a break neck pace: her alone, then them together and then her, then them, considering the next step, only to have more people joining in on the fray, and only for more revelations to be made.
In the midst of all that are secondary characters who add to the complication; yet they’re necessary complications that made for an even more compelling read. They each had a role, they all had a contribution- some more than others- but all of them propelled the reader forward. The people she’d chosen or the people who had chosen her make it clear the story really is more than her. Nikolai and Genya in particular stood out for me for that reason. In the two of them we have someone’s history connecting with someone else’s; in them, we have someone’s purpose coinciding with another’s. There’s connection here. And I loved that. In fact, it’s those connections, those reveals as well as those multiple swoon-moments that have me impressed. All aspects of the story are dealt with, not much is left untouched… whether it be who Darkling could be, or who Alina was to become, or even Mal, or hell, the rest of them; everything then everyone takes part in this conclusion.
In the Burning Sky we had Titus certain in the role he was to play paired up with Iloanthe who was still figuring out just what hers was. In this sequel, we have two come together again, but given certain developments, it’s the two shaken about who they were to become and why. Issues of fate and inevitability as well as interpretation are what shake them up, and so there’s uncertainty that extends beyond who they were for their world and their future to the more personal level of who they were for each other. There were some swoony moments because of this.
But more than uncertainty, there were a number of New things that had me speeding through. Foremost, a new pair suddenly introduced, who they were and why they were was a question that had to be answered. And though I had some inkling as to the answers, I was never quite certain. Suffice to say, their addition confused me, but also allowed something more of the “I think I know, but I’m just not sure” excitement. And it’s not just on account of this new but oh-so-familiar pair that got me excited, so many thing I thought were turned their heads. So many things I’d assumed, were not quite it either. I enjoyed that uncertainty. Nothing is nailed down here, each page, each chapter was open…
This same thing is both strength and weakness… too many new things after all, can get old after awhile. That said Perilous Sea has a whole lot of ‘You think you know, but think again’ going for it.
Thank you, Edelweiss!