Tangled Rose by Abby Weeks

Amazon asks me how many stars I would give this book.

None, if possible.

I get that it’s not for everyone. I get that it’s not a ‘typical’ romance. I get that it’s riding the SoA coattails. I’m cool with dark and gritty and violent. My own book features rape, murder, and abuse. It’s a PART of the story, while the horrible things in this ‘book’ ARE the story. There’s writing a dark, dark story featuring violence and abuse and horrible things because it actually takes the reader someplace, and then there’s writing that kind of stuff because it’s trendy and you want to make some sort of splash. There’s got to be called for basically. One example: Wrath James Brown’s The Resurrectionist.

This doesn’t make me want to read more of the author’s work. It makes me want to vomit. It doesn’t compel me or intrigue me. It’s like the literary version of a snuff film. Instead of gving me a reason to root for the character, the author made me a virtual participant in the main character’s degradation. It didn’t do that awesome thing a good book does where it sucks you into the story and makes you feel so, so bad for the main character. Case and point, J.F. Gonzalez’s novel “Survivor.” Brutal book. It’s a book so damn violent and gripping and tragic and just plain vicious that when you’re done reading it, you’re emotionally drained–but you don’t feel like you’ve just watched a woman getting horrifically violated. All you feel is her pain and her helplessness and her struggle to survive. <i>Survivor</i> is one of those books that leaves you broken from grief and anger and sadness.

WIth this introduction to this series, all you feel is dirty. Repulsed. As you read, you realize you’re not reading a character’s introduction, you’re reading torture porn. This type of introduction could have been summed up in a few paragraphs in a prologue at the beginning of the first book of the series, and a skilled writer could have harvested every single emotion with those paragraphs, without pleasing coprophiliacs, urophagiacs, and biastophiliacs.

Writing is an art. With books like this, it’s best used subtly, rather than bashing your readers in the head with it like a raging Hell’s Angel with a ball-peen hammer.

The book needs a thorough pass by a good editor. There are some mistakes and typos, and some of the extraneous content could be removed. The whole story could be streamlined a lot more.

And there is NO way in hell, Patrice will ever, ever, ever be anything of a hero–even an antihero. Yeah, he was definitely established as a cold-blooded rapist who would do anything for his brutal MC, but you just can’t take that same guy and turn him into the main love interest in later books.