*spoiler alert* While I don’t give anything away in this review, in terms of twists and reveals, I DO work through my feelings of one of the most important parts of the book. The hero/villain. Skip this review if you haven’t read book #1 yet, and check out that review instead. And if you haven’t read #2, but you’re going to start, I dunno if you read this review yet, either.
Beware… this is probably the longest “review” I have ever written, and it’s mostly just me arguing with myself. LOL!
*paces back and forth* … Okay… so. Ummm. No. Wait. I’m not ready yet. How do I…? *paces some more*
Okay. I really liked it. A lot. In fact I have to admit that I missed them all for an entire day once I was done. These characters stayed with me. Don’t get excited!! Doesn’t mean I’m team Tony, er… but uhhhh you know. Tee hee!! This is hard. I’ve gotta work this out in this review.
These were right up my alley. Long books that had enough detail as to pull me right into the story and forced me to experience everything. Forced? Oh yes. The good with the scary. The subject matter scared me to the point that I was trembling with fear when I’d simply “hear his voice” on the phone. These books caused me some serious anxiety, and kept alert for most of the process. While occasionally long and drawn out, the impending doom still had me on the edge of my seat. Dark secrets and twists, a gorgeous billionaire bachelor that started off (and may still be) an absolute monster, and an intense romantic focus that was completely disturbing. Thank goodness for this book after reading #1 It provided tons of relief and reveals and answered SO many of my questions, but still kept me delightfully disturbed.
Real quickly – what is book #2 about? Vindication. Freedom. Real friends, and an amazing support system. Healing, connecting, rebuilding and living again. And being stalked by your super-scary-psycho of an ex-husband who’s not done with you yet.
Warning and alarms rushed through Clair’s mind as time stood still. Her body involuntarily sought to run – the flight instinct. However that monologue had been talked to death – run where? She’d started a new life. Therefore flight wasn’t an option. Therefore biology told her to fight.
Everything we fear in another human being, Tony was. My worst “relationship” nightmare, Tony created. So how could anyone ever possibly be team Tony?
Kirsten: …Do we have anyone switching to Team Tony yet?
Michaela: I’m 60% into consequences… I HATE Tony idk if I want to see how this plays out in Truth. Not sure i can handle it! He drives me crazy! But I will… Bc I’m too curious and too many ppl have said to keep going and push through! I just can’t imagine switching teams!!
Mikayla: Finished Consequences and Truth this weekend! The webs we weave in order to deceive is the first thing that comes to mind. I cannot wait for the third book
Meghan: I really liked Consequences. It was painful to read but I just couldn’t put it down. I LOVED Truth though. The entire story from beginning to end was so gripping. I loved seeing the confident woman Claire became and how the dynamic between her and Tony changed so drastically. 6 stars!!!
Darla: I literally just finished Consequences. I LOVE dark reads…this was certainly one of the darkest and most twisted. My body aches from the tension. She is BRILLIANT.
Louise: Loved Consequences and loved Truth (finished today). I fought to love Tony. I really, really did. But dammit if I didn’t about 80% thru Truth. Dammit. Dammit. Great writing, great story–LOVED it!
Courtnee: Ahh… Truth… So enjoyed this book! It makes all the pain and agony you felt while reading Consequences worth it! And Tony… He might just make you believe in redemption
Kim: I just finished Consequences and I don’t want redemption I want Claire to take his ass down! Starting Truth ASAP
Courtnee: Oh Kim! I was right there with you! I DID NOT want to like him at all!
Rebecca: Finish Consequences this early morning and going to jump right into Truth. My mind and heart are all over the place.
Kim: Ok Courtnee, just finished Truth and I’ll admit defeat about Tony!
Ashley: Just finished Truth….. OMG!!!! These books are amazing! I’m pleading for an earlier release date than the one I’ve seen posted. I’m good with a late spring release ;D
Natalie: Ok I HATED Tony and so wanted Claire to take his ass down…how ever after finishing Truth…. I swapped to team Tony. Yep I said it. I still have a love hate relationship with him, lets face it hes done some Horrible things…..but now I am on the other side of the fence. Anyone else agree with me or am I nuts? lol
Courtnee: LOL Kim! Isn’t it crazy? Aleatha Romig does such a sneaky job of getting you there! Darnit if I wasn’t shocked when I realized my change of opinion! I love it when an author can do that!
And while I referred to book #1 (Consequences) as a Lifetime movie on steroids, #2 (this one) reminded me of one of those nighttime mini-series soaps. The darker ones. Not “Desperate Housewives” but something way more sinister with a crazy history and promises of unbridled revenge, to back it up. Things that made you go really? You’d go to THAT extent? The level of detail, and effort that went into fulfilling a certain vendetta was over-the-top, but fantastic freaky fearful fun for fiction. Heehee. I went a little overboard there.
Speaking of “f-words”, let’s discuss Tony. ‘Cause really, our love/hate relationship with this series pretty much culminates around him, doesn’t it? “Anthony the monster” did the worst of the worst things any character could possibly do. Broke the female in every which way he could. Lost me completely, although he never had me to begin with. The way the series starts is terrifying and you knew right away, this guy is no hero. He’s the villain.
Crystal: Soooo now that you finished Truth…did you begin to like Tony?
Kathy: I want to say maybe but it’s still probably a no. Too much happened in the first book.
Maryse’s Book Blog: I’m… arguing with myself in my review, as we speak.
I expected this to be like one of our crazy-dark “kidnap but deep down heart of gold” romances but didn’t quite get that. I kept hoping what I was experiencing was wrong, and that some craaaaazy truth would come to be and I’d find myself relieved with the romantic feelings that were flourishing between the two main characters. But at the same time enjoyed the fact that I had no idea where this was going and that I wasn’t getting what I wanted, or at least the feeling of “see… it’s now okay to love him, because he…” <— insert good excuse to love him here.
You know. Like I used to be able to do with paranormal books. I used to tell myself… “Ahhh but he’s a vampire and/or werewolf. Things are different for them. They’re ancient with very specific customs and need for power. They kidnap and control and demand and imprison ’cause it’s their way, and once they are loved by a human woman and understood, they will be in touch with their own “humanity” and change into the perfect man.” *smirk* Heh.
‘Cause you see, Tony is (was) a human monster. And I had no excuses for him without feeling like I was accepting something that should NEVER be accepted. While we like to say that that we should embrace our humanity and love one another (faults and all), Tony’s faults, to me are beyond that. Unforgivable although… we hear of this kind of thing every day (these monstrous acts, and the forgiveness that many are afforded). And his biggest imperfection are his horrible reactions to the imperfections of others.
He kidnaps her, and physically abuses her (in every way). Holds her hostage with a set of rules. Break the rules and seriously suffer the consequences. And let’s not forget the series of mysterious deadly accidents, that have us all pointing the finger at him. I mean come on! It’s so obvious. So why did sooooo many readers join team Tony while reading #2?
‘Cause as many of you have told me, not everything is as it seems. And you’re right. There were some serious surprises. I can see where some of you “Team Tony’s” are coming from, after “Truth”. But the one thing I wanted explained away the most, was the one thing I had to accept at the end of #2. I was hoping he had an evil twin. A severe split personality disorder where doctors could prove he wasn’t “who he was” in “evil Tony” mode.
When Kirsten (who is “team Tony”) asked:
Maryse: Yep! Late late into the night/early morning but I’m done. *spoiler* Tony *spoiler*… he still did those terrible terrible things to her in #1. I was hoping for some crazy paranormal twist reveal of a demon-wizard guy taking the appearance of Tony as “he” did it.
*sigh* Aleatha realllllly changed him in #2, and I just wish I didn’t have to know him, the way I did, in #1. I dunno what to do right now.
And that’s where I struggle the most. I had no qualms about my fear of him and my lack of Stockholm syndrome in #1. I liked that I could experience all of the fear-factor and the crazy love story in #1, without “loving him” myself. Hating him (and still enjoying the story) gave me some relief. While I like feeling sheepish about connecting with the “crazy”, doing so in book #1 would have been too much for me.
And for a good portion of book #2, I was still SUPER anti-Tony. I looked up at my husband and said,
“No. Way. Still hate him. I dunno what these girls were reading but I’m not affected. So ha!”
I was so smug. Tony still seemed to be who he was in #1, we were just “safer” away from him. He was manipulative, creepy, and downright scary. Remember that phone call.
“Claire, you should know, I learned of your release less than twenty-four hours ago. As you can hear, I already have your telephone number. How long do you think it will take me to learn your location?”
Eeeeeeeep!!! That one scene reminded me of Hannibal Lecter’s “Good evening, Clarice.” Eeeeeeeep! I had an immediate wave of terror-induced goosebumps.
But then something changed. The author turned him into my kind of obnoxiously domineering yet protective billionaire alpha hero. I found myself anxious for his next scene, and was mad at myself about it. You would think I would have loved his new redeemable self, but I couldn’t forget his “irredeemable” self.
“He’s capable of wonderful things. We just never knew the extent to which he was capable of terrible things.”
And I struggled with that. Tony for the most part in book #2, is NOWHERE near the Tony in #1. He was… wow. I hate to say this but almost… amazing. Patient. Loving. Gentle. Protective. Regretful. So wanting to do anything and everything to truly deserve her. Trying so hard (although still way too manipulative – old habits die hard I guess, but they did seem to…die). And he was so honestly sorry, I could feel it. And her struggle over the new Tony, was my struggle, too.
His expression remained soft and so were his words, “You should know… I am sorry.”
The world as Claire knew it, shifted. Perhaps it was an earthquake, they do happen in California. Why couldn’t he be domineering or abrasive? That she could resist. But, apologetic, in the depths of her soul, she never expected to hear those three words.
Something inside of me was being pulled to like him, and I fought it, tooth and nail. I just can’t get over the atrocities he committed, over and over again in book #1. I mean right to the very end. Right to the last page… he was mostly despicable!!!
There was such a drastic change in him. Mind you he did struggle with his “natural villainous tendencies” so at least there was that part of his reality, in “Truth”. I went from being terrified of him, wishing she would run away at all costs no matter what, and actually breathing a sigh of relief with her in jail in the first book. She may have still been locked up, but she was freer than she ever was by his side. Safer. You know it’s bad when your reaction to being incarcerated is “ahhhhhhh… free!!”
So how could I go from thinking she’s better off locked up in jail, than locked up in his opulent home, to … pretty much eventually trusting him completely in book #2?
Did he change “naturally” from the love of a good woman? See the error in his ways? Was he truly the misunderstood hero all along? Was his own mind so terribly influenced by his past that he has anger management and control issues. Is THIS what our “controlling alphas” are really like in real life, and I just got a shock to my system?
Personally, I don’t think so. I think he’s “good Tony” now. Can a seemingly unredeemable bad guy change to this extent? As much as I connected to their story in #2, I want that answer to be yes. But… ugh. Book #1!!!!
So did he change naturally? Evolve, and become a better person despite his past transgressions? Or did the author change him for us, because he was just too evil and we needed something better from him? I think it’s a little of both.
- The natural evolution of a broken man (no matter how powerful) when he finally receives a true love that he never before experienced, and
- the author’s need to provide some redeemable qualities in a man so many readers developed stockholm syndrome for. I will thank her for that, but at the same time, I take issue to connecting and caring for a character that I was so vehemently afraid of (and with good reason). These were not “perceptions” or misunderstandings. He did what he did, and because of that, at times I found his personality change so drastic as to possibly be a bit too easy or convenient, story-wise.
GAH!!!! You guys?! I don’t know what to do!!! If it weren’t for the unforgivable things he did in #1, I’d be team Tony too, after #2. Even with his him being an absolute jerk at first. But I just can’t get over that. I know a big part of the message in this book is growth and forgiveness. Re-evaluating priorities and what makes us happy. What makes OTHERS happy. Humanity and all of it’s faults. Healing. Love.
And yes, I’ll admit to “missing” and connecting to Tony at some point of #2 but my brain smacked my heart upside the head and reminded me of alllll those terrible things that he had done. I can’t tell if I was feeling empathy and affection for a new man who deserves forgiveness and a do-over, or if I was experiencing the “abused woman syndrome” who leaves her abusive partner only to come back to him when he promises (and seems to have) changed. And has changed. For now.
What about those seemingly innate violent tendencies? Is he just a psychopath who will lose it during a moment of weakness? Are we still being played? After all, there’s still a 3rd book coming.
As you can see, I’m stuck. And probably over-thinking this. My stance on reading is… if you’re enjoying the fictional book, just “go with it” and have fun (and/or let it tear you up for awhile). Again, it’s fiction. And while this one deals with dark subject matter, it is so far-fetched in the grand scheme of things that I’m deciding to just… let it go, while I anxiously await the 3rd and final installment.
But for the record, my brain says I’m going to stick with my anti-Tony stance. I have to for my own sanity and self-preservation. I just do. My heart well… whatever. Stupid heart! And anyway… I heart —-> Harry. A LOT!
4.5 stars ’cause it made me crazy and turned my world upside down and makes me wanna read #3. Not perfect (some of the reveals were a little much, for me), but plenty entertaining. Not romance… but your heart will be 100% involved (romantically and otherwise).
I think I need to join our Consequences spoiler forum/support group. Y’all warned me. *shakes head and grins*