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I’m so very torn in writing this review. I LOVED the writing and the twists to the story which make it a 5 + star review to me. However, there were some quirks in the story that I had a hard time with the make me want to rate it lower. Mostly things that are irrational and illogical to understand even in daily life. Leylah does say she writes not so pretty of love stories also. So even with the quirks, if you look at the story and open your mind to it, it is still a solid 5 star novel!
The journey Leylah takes you through in this story is nothing short of amazing and just as fantastic as her 53 Letters novel (One of my all-time top favorite books). The way the story ends up coming around full circle didn’t leave hardly any questions at the end. The emotional turmoil is definitely addressed on Skye’s side but I felt that maybe it was lacking on Damian’s side some. Granted with his history and such, that is a huge factor. On that same note, he is very much a borderline socio-path. Again, it’s understandable given how he was forced to grow up and the environment that was done it. I struggled a lot with the types of abuse that he inflicted on Skye but more so that she could still love him. I felt like it was definitely a form of Stockholm Syndrome with her or when you see a woman stay with an abuser. But then you see where they both start to open up and remember who they really are, not what was created by the situation or the wrong-doings done unto them. They begin to rediscover themselves and discover who they could be and who they could’ve become had life situations not interfered. More importantly, they attempt to discover what they could have continued to be from their childhood.
“We are a question that hasn’t been answered yet, a hiding place that hasn’t been found yet, a battle that hasn’t been fought yet.”
I felt Skye’s struggles with her emotional attachments to Damian and your heart breaks a little each time you watch her struggle and you wonder how you would be in the same situation. Here’s the boy in front of you that you loved dearly and did everything for as a child but now he’s grow cold and heartless. I can understand the feelings of being lost and still in love with someone that you didn’t see go through a hardening-of-the-heart process. A desire to still reconnect and love him and hope that he’s not really so lost and cold.
“Something clicked inside me at that moment. I stood outside of myself, realizing how easy it was to judge someone, to vilify and condemn the things we don’t understand, because: OMG. How can she even THINK that way about the guy who kidnapped her? HE CUT HER FINGER OFF! Or That person should have known better than to get into the car with a stranger. Or How could she stay with him that long when he abused her day in and day out? Or Monster. He shot and killed his own family. Because those are all things we’re not supposed to do, and yet inside of me was a kernel of the inexplicable from which dark things bloom, something I couldn’t understand or justify. I knew better than to romanticize my captor, but there it was—sick and twisted and disgusting as it was. And it scared me. It scared me because I saw a glimmer of all the terrifying things we’re capable of, because the human psyche is such a fragile thing, a yolk contained within a brittle shell—one crack and out it spills: a neighbor goes on a suicide mission, tribes massacre tribes, countries turn their faces away from injustices. And it all starts within, because within is where all things begin.”
She does redeem herself some, for me, when she stood up to protect herself and had to start over. She used her discovering herself process to be a new woman and be strong, supportive, and make something of herself even while continuing to battle the emotional demons unleashed upon her. She does take a stand for herself and makes Damian choose too.
“You can either choose love or you can choose hate, because where one lives, the other will die.”
The writing was phenomenal in this novel, the characters were very intriguing and made you want to know more about them, the plot was definitely dark and twisted, and the journey is one hell of a ride. Even until the last pages of the book, there are some surprises to keep it going. I could NOT put this book down because it drew me in so much even with some of the quirks. They make you want to know more, understand the crazy thought processes going on, and keep you hoping for something more and better. I have seen where some people hated the idea of this story because of the abuse and such but isn’t there an ugly side to everyone? Granted, not as extreme but how would you be after growing up like Damian did? Wouldn’t you hope that one day your heart would beat again and be full of love instead of darkness and hatred? People can’t change without help, hope, and faith. Isn’t the idea about love that the best form of you comes out when with your true love? Even as this story was written, it wasn’t like “BAM, they’re in love and it’s all rainbows.”
This story is Skye and Damian’s story and theirs alone. Talk about one hell of a love story and the roller coaster of ups and downs!