So nobody else has written a review of this yet. I guess I’ll be the first, in advance of our book club discussion next month. I’m not going to say much in this review, because I want to save most of my thoughts for then, but as will be obvious from the title of my review, I was very disappointed in this book. And I’m definitely reconsidering reading Dev’s first book, which I’d put on my TBR previously after it was featured on NPR’s romance reading list.
(I hope I’m not the only asshole who posts my review before the discussion. Oh noooo.)
There were so many things that didn’t work for me in this book I’m almost too overwhelmed to write about them all. So let’s do a list!
- So. Much. Drama. Seriously. I don’t know if this is a legacy of being part of Bollywood, but everything that could possibly be thrown into this story was thrown into this story. Murder, mental illness, rape, sleazy entertainment industry behavior, lost loves, overly cute family members, and so so so much anger.
- Almost every scene in this book was so overwritten. I almost sprained my eyeballs while reading I was rolling them so much.
- The conflict could have been entirely avoided if the main characters would have just talked to each other, which as we all know, is the very best romance trope in existence and everybody loves it and it’s not frustrating to read about at all :\
- The POV didn’t work for me. Ria was too much in her own head, and Dev’s prose was way too focused on what Ria was doing and feeling at all times. It was awkward and too much, and I didn’t like it. A lot of unnecessary details there.
- I was frustrated by the book mostly because every now and then I would see glimmers of a story I could have loved, like the author was just letting herself write and not being so self-conscious about it, and then she would immediately do something to lose me again. I hate being yo-yoed by books.
- Vikram was a frothing ragemonster with an enormous temper at the beginning of the book, and then all of a sudden he turned on a dime and was a complete sensible angel.
- The mental health issues the book brought up I thought were entirely obscured by the dramatics of the plot. It felt like what happened to Ria’s family was only there to make Ria seem like a tragic figure.
- The parts focusing on the specifics of Indian culture were really fascinating, and I wish Dev had focused more on that than all the dramatic histrionics.
On a related sidenote, I’ve never seen a Bollywood film, but would be interested to dive in. Does anyone have a few good recommended starting points for me?
[2.5 stars because the end was better than the beginning]