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After finishing this, I realized I'm probably not the target audience for Shattered Souls. Yes, I'm of a certain age. Yes, I'm of the female sex. Two things which might seem to be the only qualities necessary to be a member of the target audience for this particular book or even this author. I guess I just want more from a PNR than just a couple of supernatural elements and a lot of sex. Really, this is all my fault; I knew better going in, but I just couldn't help myself. I really should not read PNRs anymore. I like the paranormal parts, but the romance I can do without.
Okay, let's get to the nitty-gritty: the sex. I'm sorry, but when I read the sex scenes in this book, I could literally hear the cheesy "bow chicka wow wow" music, see the harsh lighting, and the jerky camera movements of a porn movie. The way Cait and Sam behaved during sex, the way they kept changing positions, it just didn't feel like two real people having real sex. It was artificial and thus not sexy at all. Plus, whenever Cait got wet, it either dripped down her thighs or was so plentiful that Sam could detect it through her jeans. Now, thanks to some research, I realize that some woman suffer from excessive lubrication. However, it's actually not something that's desirable: it's distracting, it's messy (and, yes, I know sex can be messy, but this is like can-only-have-sex-in-the-bathtub messy), and the excess fluid actually reduces pleasure for both parties in that women lose out on vaginal stimulation and men lose out on that "tight" sensation. Most women actually seek medical help for this problem. Being so wet it runs down your legs like urine is not desirable and it's far from sexy. You might think this is an absurd or even gross point to bring up, but when I was reading, I was utterly distracted when I came across mention of this condition in Cait (and it comes up three times, if I remember correctly). It brought me right out of the story. So not only were the sex scenes not sexy and occasionally perturbing, they were long. I mean, dragging on to the point that I ended up flipping past them. One scene required nine and a half pages! The other three scenes were nearly as long. Oy. And for such a short book, the fact that there are four long sex scenes in it, taking up at least a quarter of the story, doesn't bode well for a deep, involved, or engaging plot. Which it wasn't.
Honestly, I'm not really sure what the whole point of the book was. There's some stuff about demons and magic, and the prerequisite family drama involving secrets and betrayal--frankly, all fairly standard stuff for this genre with no unique twist or take on the subject. Basically, it came across as just an excuse to string together the sex scenes, like those thin plots they give to porno movies so people can feel less guilty about watching them because, hey, it's more than just sex, there's a real story here! Thin, flimsy, and not at all compelling, the story is pretty lackluster. I didn't feel any real sense of danger, mystery, or excitement while I was reading the book and even when the action ramped up or the characters were supposedly in danger, I never once felt a corresponding increase in my pulse or interest level, or sensed that the characters were in any real peril.
Oh, and that whole 'We're divorced, but we both are still in love with each other, and we still have hot monkey sex, and, oh boy, we're getting back together at the end of the book to live happily ever after!' trope is so freaking tiresome! Is it like some kind of law that if you have a male and female protagonist, you have to use this template?
You know, if I had to sum up Shattered Souls in one word, the one that keeps coming to mind is "beige." Other possibilities are "generic," "lightweight," and "forgettable," all of which perfectly describe the overriding sensation I get whenever I go back over the book in my memory: absolutely nothing stands out. Not the characters, not the story, not even the setting. It all blends together into one bland blur.