Our journey began in fire…
Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness-beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…
Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds… and desires.
The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart…
I caved. I was adamant that I wouldn’t, simply based on principle. Because I have a major hate going on for the whole BDSM sub-genre. I mean, you can not turn around in a book shop without being confronted by something 50 Shades of Grey-ish. And, quite frankly, it pissed me off. And it continues to do so, because I still don’t get what all the fuss is about.
Firstly, and on a completely superficial level, I hate this cover. That shoe annoys the hell out of me. It just doesn’t look right. On a more serious note, I actually enjoyed the writing. I think that Sylvia Day is quite brilliant in that regard, and it’s because of that that I didn’t give this book a lower rating. Also, in spite of myself, this book had me riveted. I hated Eva and Gideon, and their relationship gave me the heebie-jeebies, but I wanted to know how it would end. Which makes me think of Bared to You as an example of “when bad books happen to good authors”. This book reminded of Twilight, except the people are grown ups and the writing wasn’t horrendous. Eva and Gideon… these two were really something. I can’t figure which of them is more fucked in the head. I’m not saying I want perfect characters, because that makes it boring. I love the tortured hero as much as the next girl, and I generally root for the damaged chick who’s just beginning to learn to trust again. But everything about Gideon and Eva rubbed me up the wrong way. I think I could handle them individually, but then you throw them together and they form a seriously unhealthy cocktail. They had this whole “love the way you lie” thing going on, and it freaked me out in a big way.
Let me start with Gideon. The fact that he lives deep in the heart of Crazy Town is more obvious than it is for Eva. For some reason, when authors package their… ahem… “heroes” as beautiful, well-hung billionaires, it turns their insane behaviour into a series of grand romantic gestures. A dirty guy who lives in his parents’ basement and spends his days surfing for porn, and his nights following the object of his affections, is a stalker. A multimillionaire who owns most of New York, and hires other people to follow the girl he’s obsessed with, is romantic. I just do not understand this. Surely a crazy stalker is a crazy stalker is a crazy stalker? Gideon gets all obsesso on Eva within two or three times of meeting her, and seems to find nothing wrong with having people looking into her past. Where she went to school, who she lives with, everything is available to this man she barely knows. I suppose it gets rid of that pesky part of the relationship where you actually have to talk to each other and choose to trust your partner. That way you can move straight on to the sex. Swoon worthy? I don’t think so. Then, they hook up and they go out. He gets all crazy possessive when other men speak to her or, hell, even look at her. But it’s okay for him to lavish attention on his ex. She has to stay sitting obediently next to him when he’s all but ignoring her, and he gets pissy when she wants to find someone who will actually talk to her.
Moving on to Eva. She actually pissed me off worse than Gideon, if you’ll believe it. See, Gideon doesn’t seem to realise that he’s acting like a crazy person. Eva knows Gideon’s behaviour is creepy and she just lets him carry on! What the hell? Just a quick example of her brushing his stalkerish tendencies off as though they’re no big deal:
When I checked out the drawers he had set aside for me in his bathroom, I found all my usual cosmetics and toiletries in all my usual shades. I didn’t bother to ask how he knew, which might’ve led me to freaking out. Instead, I chose to look at it as more proof of his attentiveness. He thought of everything.
See? She acknowledges that this is not exactly normal behaviour, and then she shrugs it off! I found myself wondering, if they ever break up and he pulls the whole, “I’d rather see you dead than with another man”, would this be perceived as a sign of his love and devotion? And Eva is completely out of her mind. After telling him about her history of sexual abuse, she’s somewhat distressed by the fact that he doesn’t want to leap on her and ravage her. It’s like, hello? You just told him you were raped! If he did want to have sex with her after that sort of revelation, she’d have been better off calling the police than having a relationship with the man. Fear not, though. They did end this little episode with a bout of hard fucking. Which also annoyed me. They never talked their issues out. It’s all “please don’t leave me” and “No, I’ll never leave, I promise”, and then they proceed to screw like bunnies. The first time they did it, I let it go. The second time was a little bit harder to ignore, but I figured that they’d actually have a proper conversation soon. But they didn’t.
Now, I know some may argue that this is a work of fiction, it’s just a story, etc. I know that. I also don’t care. What grates my cheese, beyond even their unhealthy relationship, is what it does to romance as genre. I still get funny looks from people who happen to see me reading a romance novel or browsing in the romance section. I mean, first romance was seen as this really shallow, brain numbing genre for bored housewives. Then the whole idea of “mommy porn” (who the hell came up with that?) thing started floating about. Now, people are trying to pass unhealthy, borderline abusive relationships off as romance.
Sorry for the rant guys. It’s just been bugging me for a while. And, in all fairness, Day isn’t the first author to have done this; she was just the catalyst for me spilling my guts. I’d actually like to read something else by Day, because she really is a good writer. I can’t honestly recommend this book for reading. Other things that I would normally never do to a book, maybe. But not to read.