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Friday, June 3, 2016

Review of Fade to Black by Jax Newman

I'm on the fence about rating this book. I think I'm settling on 3.5 stars. Just a hair over "liked it".

Now, I understand there is a re-edited edition out there. Apparently the wrong file got uploaded...and things like this happen, so my rating isn't really based on the "errors factor."

I didn't really get into the book until about the halfway point. Once the two of them actually met (around the 1/4 mark) it started to get interesting, and once they got back to America, things really started picking up. Some of the plot points (no spoilers!) helped explain why so much time was spent on developing Freya's relationship with her friends in the beginning.

I thought Tristan was nearly too-good-to-be-true - but I like that in a hero. He was a tortured soul, good looking, and quite sensitive. Much better than an alpha-asshole. I wondered why he couldn't have just talked about why he'd gone into hiding sooner, once he and Freya hit it off, and then when we got to the little twist at the end, I understood a little better. (A twist I didn't see coming at all, btw - and that's not easy to do!)

I liked Freya, mostly. She's sarcastic, just feisty enough, and not a complete drama queen. She was a good friend, and loyal.

I guess my biggest issue with the story was the narrative style. Errors aside, it was just so much telling rather than showing. I couldn't really connect with the characters because the writing created this distance I couldn't bridge - especially in the beginning. So much time was taken detailing the minutia of Freya's life that I was mostly bored until she actually met up with Tristan. I think at least half of that could have been cut, while still revealing the tedium of her job, the closeness with her friends, and the challenge of her assignment. Then we would have gotten them together much sooner, and gotten to the meat of the story that much sooner.

Speaking of her assignment... I thought the reasons Freya got assigned to look for Tristan were pretty weak. Surely a big record label would hire a Private Investigator to find someone who'd been missing for 4 years, rather than a promotions director, or whatever the heck Rebecca was supposed to be. I buy that a character like Rebecca would pass off a shitty job to a detested underling, but if the deal was so important, why wouldn't they hire a professional? Of course, there wouldn't have been a story if they'd done that - unless Freya was the PI - but therein lies the rub.

Certain other plot devices (that I won't tell, to avoid spoilers) felt like plot devices, and that's a problem. All stories have them - things that really add up to coincidences but are required in order to have a story. But it shouldn't pop you out of the story because it feels like a plot device. It's a fine line to walk, and I think it comes back to the telling rather than showing. Oh, and Tristan's ex's name? That was super hard to take serious. I mean, Rosie Palmer, really?

In all, I think it was a decent first effort. I hope some of the problems I mentioned - which I consider more than just the typos, missing words, and wrong word choices - were corrected in the re-edited version. I confess I'm curious as to Logan's story, and I assume that will be another book in the series. I'll be keeping an eye out for future books. 

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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