by Rachel Caine
The novel centers on the life of a woman who has had to completely make herself over in survival mode. We meet her as Gina, a shy, mid-western wife and mom of two kids, around 6 and 10. And we spend very little time in the past because we witness 'The Event'. And everything changes because now Gina's husband has been revealed as a serial killer and she spends the rest of the book running from her ex and the internet trolls that threaten her and her children. And her name is now Gwen.
I almost gave up about a quarter of the way in. There is a lot of time spent on Gwen's paranoid behavior (rightfully so as she receives constant death threats and worse). She has her children to protect and that is obviously what is the most important to her.
There are just so many things that as a reader we have to look past and it became hard. Spoilers are necessary to explain this ... Spoilers after clicking "Read More"
It is almost impossible to swallow that Gwen - knowing what is at stake (their lives) - GIVES UP ALL THE SECURITY SHE HAS to some hacker dude. And I know that sounds simple, but come on!
Did anyone else have a HUGE problem with her "just knowing" that this guy was now on her side. NO! And I hate that this came early because for the rest of the book, I'm like please don't let it be that guy. Really. And it was that guy. Not that was killing, but you'll see.
The plot was complex and the characters had to all fit in tightly, but there were problems here too:
- Of course Sam Cade had some ties to the past. That was so totally obvious. And she did leave her kids with him!
- Seeing her ex in jail...what? No, that would never happen.
- Miss Super-Security just kept giving herself and her story up yet she'd tell us - the reader - how careful she was and how she had all these security measures, etc. Yet ...
- She jumps in the police car 2 or 3 times when she should have stayed put. A phony Warrant? She feel for that? No way.
- She needed to explain the seriousness of the situation to her kids, yet she doesn't. She expects them to just keep going along with her whims. Keep uprooting their lives, but no, she doesn't want them to see the horror of the past.
- The cop's two kids were also involved? Well, the older one. And she thought he had killed her children but she couldn't shoot him because he was a "kid"? Really, didn't he recently have a gun at your head. Wow.
- The most important thing is safety and survival yet the 10-year old is forgetting the alarm code? No.
- The daughter is so rude to her mom at the school, I wanted to reach in to my iPad and slap her upside the head! And not only didn't she get punished, she went out for cake instead? She allows her daughter to totally disrespect the principal and then wants to think she can fit in the small community. Ugh.
I did think that the trust she kept putting in people that she possibly shouldn't - in the cop (Graham?), the other cop (Kez?), in Sam Cade, in Javi (!) and more. I mean is she super paranoid or not? And then she didn't even think twice when Connor's phone was missing? WHAT? As well as leaving her kids alone when she didn't need to? Insane. Taking her phone in to the jail? OMG. And again, the hacker friend of hers? DUH! No, really, DUH.
And I would have swallowed all of this. Really. I wanted to give this 4 stars. But I was just sickened at the end when she said she missed Mel and wanted to be in his arms. I don't care if she was then re-thinking but just that she thought THAT would make her safe. Oh wow. That's sick.
And to address those who are upset about the "cliffhanger" ending. I would have been so much happier thinking that it was NOT to be followed up with a sequel! I was content thinking that yes, Gwen is NOW a very strong person and she can stand up to whatever problem is ahead. But she is really going to confront this sick-o in another book?
Does that mean we'll see what Officer Graham is up to to if he recovers or goes straight to prison from the hospital. Unbelievable that she did not KILL the jerk when she could have. Doesn't she see that her entire life is running from people and now she has the ability to make sure this loose end doesn't harm her family again and yet, she is happy maiming the guy?
END OF SPOILERS
The thing I did like were elements of the plot. The complexity, however, was betrayed by the convenience of the hacker so that's not really a strong point. The "chase" at the end, now that was great writing, good action, I liked that.
But my huge complaint is that the main character is fueled by her intense protection of her family and yet she in SO MANY WAYS fails herself here and actually puts her family in to danger. This left me feeling a little bit betrayed. I feel as if Rachel Caine was making up details around the outcome.
I still look forward to reading another of her series though. She obviously is a very talented writer. But I think I need more of a foundation I can believe in and then she can throw me a couple curves.
Born in The United States
Genre Fantasy, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Member Since June 2013
Rachel Caine is a pen name of Roxanne Longstreet Conrad.
She has also published as:
Her Facebook page: