So all in all I really liked this book. It was my first Eloisa James book and I’d heard mixed things about her so I went into it with lower expectations. The book caught my attention right from the beginning. It was well written and the characters were great. It had a snarkyness to it and a few laugh out loud moments.
I have to say some things about Thorn that will probably sound like I hated him, but bear with me. Thorn is a bit of a sleaze bag in the beginning of this. He’s openly courting another woman, who he doesn’t love, while he’s shamelessly flirting (and more) with India. He’s rude and vulgar. He talks to her like a man, and tells her as much. I shouldn’t love him, but I totally loved him. It’s clear from the beginning that the woman he’s courting does not have any interest in him and he never leads India on. He also has a softness to him and something happens in the beginning that kind of makes you love him despite all this.
A note about the other woman: she does not get hurt by him in this and there’s no physical contact between them.
India is refreshing. She’s not the typical heroine that is bookish and brilliant and “not like other girls”. Sometimes it gets tiring reading that same personality trait. She’s actually a little embarrassed about her lack of education, although she is very smart in other ways. There are times when she asks what something means and is pretty frank about this part of her. Usually it’s the opposite, where heroines unexpectedly know everything. India is more of a laborer even though she’s a lady. Which is different.
The most annoying thing about India’s character is that literally every single man falls in love with her in this book. Every one of them. What to know who? It’s partly covered in this spoiler. (view spoiler)
Once it gets into the romance the banter between Thorn and India was excellent. They go through a period where they exchange letters with each other and initially I was worried I would be bored or annoyed, but they were fun to read and really established their relationship. I was surprised that they grew together through almost correspondence alone. And there were some subtleties to what was written that made it even more interesting and charming. Then when Thorn and India were together it felt like they had a real friendship with this mix of heat and sexual tension.
I was in love with this book until about 75%. Then everything kind of went sideways, only I’d didn’t feel like their relationship felt sideways. It was more like the book itself went sideways.
There was this overly dramatic scene that seemed like it was trying way too hard to be shocking and clever and it just seemed ridiculous and unlikely. This one scene sets up the “all is lost” moment and because it was so flawed, the rest of it was flawed too.
Thorn and India, who had always communicated so well with each other, are suddenly incapable of communicating. They’re misunderstanding everything and making bad decisions because of it.
The final 20% of the book felt like it was going through the motions. It was like a series of epilogues. All the chapters were short and under developed. It was a bit disappointing.
The actual epilogue zoomed ahead into forever and it was really touching.
All in all, the end needed some organization. I didn’t agree with some of the authors choices. The steam in the beginning was excellent and then it fizzled. But I enjoyed it enough that I would give it 3.5 stars, rounding to 4. I will definitely read Vander’s book.