Let me start with the reasons I didn’t hate this book: The book is well written, there is a plot outside of the romance that is developed although not compelling and the main characters are likeable.
Fall is the story of 28 year old Declan and 19 year old Jenny. Both Declan and Jenny are struggling with issues created by their pasts, Declan has “not good enough” syndrome because of his history of manwhoring and one massively failed relationship from his youth. Also, if you’ve read any of the other books in the series you know that Declan is a Gentry which means he comes from a long line of people considered absolute good for nothing trash. Jenny is mildly defiant and confused about her place in the world because the majority of her life was spent in a creepy religious cult. Jenny and Declan get together when Jenny is in need of assistance and Declan happens to have his cape handy, he swoops in and saves the day…well, sort of. From that point on they embark on a relationship which brings me to my reasons I didn’t love this book.
The relationship story line is relatively flat. Once the characters get together, there isn’t a lot of internal or external conflict in the story. With the exception of a few minor hiccups, the characters basically admit their feelings for each other and that’s it. The conflicts in the plot are all focused on the personal issues of the two main characters. This can leave you with the impression of reading three different books. You are reading the Declan/Emblem story, Jenny/College/Post-Cult Life story and the Jenny/Deck story. The problem is that the three stories don’t necessarily need to be in the same book and I could’ve done without 1 or 2 of them.
Next problem, Emblem, the city where Deck is from, is like a really great dessert that you got carried away one time and ate entirely too much of. Now when someone so much as mentions the dessert, you get nauseated. That’s how I feel about Emblem. The story of Emblem was ok in the first Gentry Boy books but now it’s just effing depressing. Emblem is like the worst place on Earth and I absolutely do not want to hear anything else about it ever. The fact that like half this book takes place in Emblem and deals with Emblem’s hopeless cast of characters did nothing for me. Even worse, I don’t think it did anything for the romance.
I am not a fan of “struggle” romance. I read romance to escape the struggles of everyday life. So I am naturally biased against books where people are poor and eating at dive joints and staying at sleazy hotel. I was a broke college student eating out of cans and what not and I’m not interested in reliving that part of my life in a romance novel. That scenery is patently unsexy to me. That’s what this book is though. At the beginning of the book Deck lives in an actual trailer with one chair for furniture. At one point the characters eat a meal of jerky and crackers. I just canNOT.
Also, there isn’t a lot of sex in this book but the way Deck talks about sex is entirely too crude. Now don’t get me wrong, I am no prude, I like very explicit language but there is a difference between that and what happened in this book. Let me give you a few examples of Deck phrases:
“I’m going to tear that shi! Up”
“I’m sure as shi! not done hitting that hot pocket”
“You know you’re gonna be some kind of saddle sore tomorrow.”
No, just no. Absolutely not to all of that and everything like it.
My last issue is that this book is a standalone even though it is part of a series. Why is that a problem? Because I’ve read the three other books in the series but Brent assumes you might not have and retells a lot of information from other books. That’s why I’m exhausted with Emblem and that damn chicken place. I think I’m just over the whole series at this point.
If I had to sum up my reading experience I would say this was decent writing, a so-so romance and a plot that didn’t do anything for my individual taste. If you are a fan of new adult novels with a bit of an edge, maybe this is for you. If you’re like me and prefer more adult romance in upscale settings with erotic content, I recommend you pass on this book.
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