Black is Aria Cole's debut novel, and I had to take a chance on it when I read that blurb. I am a fan of fairytales retold, and I love Beauty and The Beast so this seemed like a no-brainer to me. I think that this novella had a lot of potential and there were some things I really liked. But I do think that it needed some work, and it was easy to see that this was Aria Cole's first book.
Maxwell Black used to be the town golden boy, but now he is a recluse that hides out in his home and library rarely venturing out into public because of his scars. But when Elle McKellan shows up on his doorstep looking for a job, the attraction between them is instant and Maxwell finds himself wanting more than the life he has been living.
I liked Maxwell and Elle together. The attraction and sparks were there right away. The chemistry between them was strong, and you could feel the connection forming between them even if it was a serious case of insta-love. But I will say that Elle was super naive, and at times she had me rolling my eyes. I just find it really hard to believe that someone her age could possibly be as clueless as she was at times. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil anything, but suffice it to say there was one glaring example of this that most teenage girls are more knowledgeable about than she was. It was unrealistic and drove me nuts.
I also felt like this story needed a good editor or beta reader. I will say that I read an advanced copy, so there is the possibility that some of this was cleaned up before the final published edition. But my copy had a ton of inconsistencies that were beyond obvious. (thinking the hero's name in her thoughts and then asking him for it claiming she didn't know it...then a couple pages after he gives her only his first name she suddenly knows his last name, being terrified of men and avoiding them at all costs because she doesn't trust them but then blindly trusting and wanting a relative stranger to hold her and put his hands all over her because she feels so safe with him a few sentences later...) I know that things happen fast in a novella and Aria Cole did say in the blurb that this one has insta-love. But these things don't make sense even then, and should have been caught ahead of time and hopefully were fixed before being published. (though I don't have the final copy to verify if they were)
I think that Aria Cole has potential, and there is definitely a spot for shorter stories filled with sexy heroes and insta-love. If you like Alexa Riley this had a similar feel to it, though it wasn't as polished as an Alexa Riley story. I would read more from Aria Cole in the future, and I hope as she continues to write she will get some beta readers or a good editor that can help her clean her stories up a bit more because I think that this one could have been much stronger than it ended up being.
**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**
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