Title: Shattered Lives: Broken Dreams (Book 1)
Author: Rissa Blakeley
Publisher: Rissa Blakeley, 2014
Genre: NA Science Fiction, NA Paranormal
**I received a copy of this book free from the Author in exchange for an honest review**
Ummm. How do I start this? Let me just say that the book was 634 pages. 634!!! I am just thrilled to be done. Whew! This has nothing to do with the content of the book, but let me just say that I once tried to read a 900+ page book and almost blew my brains out. Sometimes a book is just too long. Just my opinion. (This is probably going to be a long review because it was a long book, btw)
I was not prepared for what this book was, and that’s on me. I was thinking YA. It was NA, for mature audiences only. Very explicit. But it in no way takes from the story-telling or writing of the book. It just made me uncomfortable until I got used to it. I’m not a romance reader or an erotica reader, and it times it felt like that was what I was reading, with some science fiction elements thrown in.
Their author even describes her own book through Elaina:
I was trying to keep myself busy by reading a few of the books that were once my mother’s. Lightweight, written in a box, soft core romance novels…barf. Nothing erotic about these kissy-kissy, lovey-dovey things. I wanted something with a shifter or vampire and some rather interesting scenes. I tossed the book aside.
Ok, with that being said, let’s get to the meat of it, shall we?
We have a story originally told from one POV: Liam, aka Henry, has been beaten and abused most of his life. We aren’t given much detail except that he’s in some sort of program, and the boss, Roger, decides to send him to the United States (from London). Then he meets Elaina, falls in love, and quits the program. On their wedding day, all hell brakes loose as the pastor takes a bite out of Elaina’s friend Claire’s boyfriend. All of a sudden, it’s Thr Walking Dead and Elaina flees her wedding. Turns out, Henry has been guarding a virus that has been stolen and knows all about it. (I don’t know how much to say without spoiling it for others….and I don’t do spoilers, so I’m going to tread carefully here). With Henry, Elaina, Claire, Nick, Thomas, and Sophie (Henry’s sexy ex from London), the group goes off looking to find the bastard that infected the pastor and started the epidemic.
Henry is a basket-case. He’s originally the sweetest man alive. Then he goes from zero to asshole in 2 seconds flat. Elaina has all sorts of nicknames for these different versions of Henry: “Angry Henry,” “Program Henry,” “Drunk Henry,” etc etc etc. He actually seems more like “Douchebag” Henry for the majority of the book. But for some reason, I felt sorry for Henry. I understood him, and I understood Elaina’s love and frustration toward him. Then I realized why: this was MY last relationship to a T. My boyfriend was hot and cold like Henry. He broke my heart like Henry. He had a substance abuse problem like Henry:
Henry was an alcoholic. I turned and looked at Claire. “He’s an alcoholic… Claire, my Henry is an alcoholic,” I said in a hushed tone as the tears poured from my eyes.
I realized why I empathized with Elaina. And she says something that I always believed, and what kept me in an unhappy relationship for six years:
“That’s what love is. Unconditional. I may not love everything you do, but I love you so goddamned much. You are amazing. You just haven’t realized it yet.”
She’s of course saying this to him as he has a gun to his head. My boyfriend used to threaten to kill himself, too. It’s manipulation, not love. So I had a hard time understanding all the shit she put up with for this “love of her life.”
Of course, in the end it’s all about the quality and plot of the book, yeah? It wasn’t for me. Yes, I did get to the end, where there is a major cliffhanger, and wanted to know what happened next. But this just is not my genre and type of book: it felt like contemporary erotica with zombies thrown in for fun. I could see peopl liking it….and I was able to keep reading it without losing interest, but it’s just not MY TYPE OF BOOK. So I can’t fault Blakeley for writing something that’s not for me. I’m just not the right audience for this novel. I would, however, recommend it to fans of this sort of genre. Because Blakeley does something right: she keeps her audience riveted to the very last second. It sucked me in. I wanted to know what happened to the very end. But I just don’t know if I could handle reading another book with a relationship like this.
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
18+. For mature readers. Lots of sex. Lots and lots of swearing. It’s rated NA for a reason. (Though I’m starting to wonder what the difference is between NA and YA now. I thought they were supposed to be similar, but the one thing that I’ve noticed as a theme is sex. Is that what makes them different?)
Not my cup ‘o tea, but probably someone else’s. The book was funny and well-written. Some dialogue was cheesy, but mostly it was good for what it was. I would probably continue to read it in my spare time between books or something just to know how the series ends. I hate not knowing. My rating? ★★★☆☆. ★★★ and a half for someone who likes romance novels/erotica.