Arsen. A broken love story
<—– You guys. YOU GUYS!!!! THIS ONE!!!!!!!!! OMG SO THIS ONE. I book-zombie LOVED IT!!!!! I could barely put it down and once things got rolling, I was glued to it and stayed up until I was finished. Cried. No SOBBED (bed shaking and everything. Sleeping husband even rolled over in his sleep to hug me). OMG I was wrecked. The emotion was building and building and then my anger turned to devastation. And in my absolute agony, I was delighted. This was the kind of soul-deep reaction that makes me never forget a book, and want to scream it from the rooftops. It. made. me. FEEL.
I was just soooooooo nervous about where I knew it was going to take me, but I didn’t anticipate how I would process it. I don’t even know what to say. I’m a jumble of thoughts, emotions and words that are slamming around in my head as I try to write this, and my 4am book-zombie brain is soooo sluggish right now, so I’m just gonna spill it as I feel it.
Sandy was the first one to bring it to our attention a week or so ago before it’s release:
Sandy: Stayed up all night reading and ARC of Arsen by Mia Asher-Author. I am totally & completely gutted in a wonderful way. Cannot wait until all of you can read Arsen. Mia Asher’s book is not for the faint of heart but man I freaking loved it. Maryse it made me squeeeee for sure.
Squee, huh? Well in that case… 😉
So I put it on Friday’s bargain/reader recommendation list, read the synopsis, highlighted a part of the synopsis on my post ’cause WHOA. Right? It sounded like it would be a total roller-coaster ride.
But I had my weekend reading set, so I added it to my TBR list and moved on. And then I received a few insistent recommendations.
Lisa: Arsen is so so so so good…especially if you like emotional rollercoasters that completely mess with your mind:)
Maryse: Lisa you’re killing me!!! I have my reading already planned out and this one sounds like it’s totally my thing, so now I want to read it now! I’m already squeamish over the potential love-issues, and that delights me.
Angie: If you get anytime at all READ THIS BOOK. OMG Maryse it’s crazy, angsty and heartbreaking but beautiful and hopeful at the same time. It’s got such a gripping story line. It’s a favorite of mine this year. I don’t recommend books a lot but I felt compelled to message you about it. It’s absolutely INTENSE!
Maryse: Hey!! It’s the one I highlighted on my post today and in my comments saying I was dying to read it. Cool! That cinches it.
Angie: Yay!!! Ok squeee!!! If you need support let me know lololol! It’s angsty!!!
Lindsay: It 3am and I just finished reading Arsen, and let me tell you….ok, Well, I’m am literally speechless, I’m reeling and pulling my hair right now. It’s Thoughtless and Thief times 2. This book is that good and you will not be disappointed!
Sarah: I bought it last night, after seeing it on your blog—-and EEP!! I love me some angst, but we both know that it can be overdone…this was NOT! It was the perfect amount of angst, a big dash of toe-curling steaminess and a huge helping of head spinning, make your soul hurt kind of love. Seriously, the perfect recipe for an all-nighter with some ugly-cries.
Maryse: I cried. 3am… Crying. That *spoiler* KILLED me. I love *spoiler*, and yes… I didn’t put it down and stayed up late to finish. Wow, right?
I want to re-read so many parts, but let me tell you, they’d have me sobbing again. This was a different kind of “fall in love” for me. While there were sweet, swoon-worthy moments, and things said that had me falling, where I fell hard was in the heartbreak. Those scenes were my favorite parts, and to re-read them would send me reeling again.
This book had everything to make me cringe, scowl, fume, scoff in disgust, roll my eyes (<— lots of this at first, I was so irritated… about it all), get nervous, agitated, squirm in absolute discomfort, and all the while… the most important part. I felt my heart break bit by bit, until a certain poignant scene (or let’s make that THREE successive scenes) obliterated it once and for all. Perfectly PERFECTLY DETAILED, perfectly described, perfect facial expressions, perfect dialogue, perfect EVERYTHING and SOOOO realistic, I swear this must have happened, exactly as it played out.
But at first, I almost put it down. I really struggled with the beginning of the book (two specific characters that just weren’t “doing it” for me), and from the look of my irritated notes, this lasted up until 40%. The dialogue and come-ons by Mr. Temptation were eye-rolling, and I didn’t “buy” it. Him. Her. The dialogue. The cockiness. The innocent “decisions”. The “friendly” to suddenly “deeper” conversations. Ugh. When it came to a certain character, my mind was all… *ick*. I know he’s a gorgeous, famous playboy/rich player, but come on. I was thinking to myself… Can you be any tackier? Does anyone really talk like this? Can you be any more obvious? This book isn’t really going to keep up like this, is it? But I knew… there’s no way this many people loved this book to this level, with the story and writing progressing like… this. I knew I had to stick it out. Something was niggling at me, telling me to just sit back, relax and not over-think it. “Keep snacking” like my book was a bag of chips, and not worry so much about a “proper” meal (deeper book) right yet.
I know… that doesn’t sound promising, right? No worries (for those of you that can stand this kind of storyline. This kind of incredible angst). I am SO relieved that I stuck with it. What a treat! It turned from “junk food” to a gourmet dessert, with touches of bittersweet laced through it. This is why I love reading. For making me feel to the core, like I did.
So… who knows what the deal is with that first part (and me)? Did the author do that on purpose? Was I just so prejudiced (or nervous) against a couple of the characters right off the bat that I was sabotaging my own reading experience? Or did I just get “used” to the characters, the writing… and where it was going?
Actually, I’m going to say it almost seems like after the 40% mark, the author found her rhythm, or there was some sort of writing break between the two sections of the book, because part two felt real, and for me, the writing, the sequence of events, the internal thought processes and dialogue were leaps and bounds better than the first section, that… well. *shrug* Whatever it is. Whatever it “was”… all I can say is no matter how low I felt like “starring” that intro, at a certain point my notations took a different tone. All of the sudden, you could tell I was paying attention… feeling it more. And then I stopped writing notes altogether. I was SO INTO it, and where it went, and what it did to me overrode any and all of my first impressions.
OKAY STOP HERE FOR THOSE that don’t want to know anymore and prefer reading kind of blindly. Just know I loved it and highly recommend it to those that can take this “kind” of angst. You know what kind I mean. While I don’t “spoil it” below (after all… who knows how something like this’ll end… 😉 ), I analyze *stuff* and my feelings a whole bunch.
So what’s it about?
A bored (but more than bored… more like internally dying) wife, that meets someone at work.
I feel like I’m making a pact with the devil.
I still don’t fully trust him.
It’s a mess. She’s a mess. He’s a mess. And they make a mess.
Oh it killed me.
This one was so different in that… the main “love” (her husband) was amazing. He was absolutely gorgeous. Successful. Sweet. Considerate. Supportive. Kind. Treated her like an equal. LOVED her to no end, and let her know regularly. Every woman wanted him and he only had eyes for her. He wasn’t some sexy womanizer that made her insecure. Not some alpha-ass that was bossing her around so much that she couldn’t take it anymore. He wasn’t in the least bit abusive. He was perfect, but to me, not in that overly *fake* perfect way. I loved him from the start. Which is why this story was so much more difficult to relate to, or accept. Because usually, going into a “triangle” you get a sense right from the start as to why… this might happen.
Why do I always behave like such a bitch to him when he’s just trying to be sweet?
But in this case, it really was a case of “It’s not you. It’s me” when it came to her, (us, ’cause we’re in her head) and boy what a mess it was. But then again… her scars ran deep, and no matter how much I resented her, there is one scene that made me realize (internalize) all of it. All of her mess. And why she is where she is, mentally.
I feel like my marriage and my own sanity are hanging by a very thin thread…
So that’s it. I’m going to let you experience the rest, if you’re up for it. One of my favorite books this year.
2 to 3 stars for the first half, 5 stars for most of the second half. And, at first (and for a while, as I read this), I totally wasn’t going to give it 5 stars. There was no way I could, considering all of my angry/irked notes. In fact, I didn’t even know if I was going to finish it, so if we factor that in, well, you see where I’m coming from, right? If I’m being objective, and factoring in how I felt in the first half as well as the second half, I suppose I’d give this one 3 to 4 stars.
BUT!!!! While ratings should factor in writing, characters, originality, editing and all of that… for me, if a book makes me feel so much that it overrides everything else in my reading experience, then sometimes, I have to stick with that. I prefer rating mostly on feeling, and lasting impressions of a book, (because that is why I read) and for that, I’m actually giving this one:
“I wish I could save you, Cathy. Take the pain away; erase it from your body. I wish I could hurt for you, but I can’t. You have to save yourself. All I can do is love you. Through it all, just love you. But you need to let me back in.”
*whoooo* Y’all may need a “support group”/chat area so I started this “discussion” in the spoiler forum: https://talk.maryse.net/threads/the-arsen-by-mia-asher-support-group-this-one-killed-me-i-loved-it.1696/
P.S. Oh yeah… why I said 5 stars for most of the second half: the epilogue answered a ton of my questions. *phew* I needed the answers, and at the same time I’m all…. seriously? It kind of moved this super-real-life feeling book, back into “soap” territory, but no matter. I’m going with it.
P.P.S. It’s a complete book. I think. 😉
P.P.P.S. So did I squee? Well… it’s hard to *squee* and sob at the same time (this story doesn’t really lend itself to squeeing), but if I think back to how I feel about a certain… someone, right now? Oh yes!!! *squeeeeeee*