This isn’t your typical romance. Actually, according to every romance writer I’ve heard or read, the story must have a happy ending, one in which the hero and heroine come together against all obstacles. I don’t think the ending of this one is really very happy. Only inevitable.
But then most heroines aren’t capable of reading minds, nor are they telekinetic. And most heroes aren’t pyrotic, nor do they lead the heroine into a life of serial killing.
On the other hand, they do come together against all obstacles. I mean, if the hero kidnaps the heroine for the purpose of killing her, probably in some brutal fashion, that would qualify as an obstacle, wouldn’t it? I would think such a thing would make it hard for the couple realize they’re soul mates. Wouldn’t you?
But they do come together, and they do turn out to be soul mates. Of course, given the things that form the foundations of their relationship, abused as children, alone or worse as adults, serial killing, the conclusion of such a relationship probably wouldn’t fit a romance writer’s definition of true romance.
Yardley is not an author whose work I’d read previously, but she’s definitely an author to watch. While I found this novel disturbing, I also found it powerful. Here’s an example of what I mean. Montessa has been working as a stripper and living with her boyfriend, the poster child for dirtbags, except to say that is to insult dirtbags everywhere. She is kidnapped by Lu, and she’s reflecting on her life in the face of what she believes will be certain death: “Because it was easier to be with a man who wanted to murder her, and would appreciate it, than be with a man who would only beat her to death.”
That’s powerful stuff, and it’s powerful not only because it’s disturbing, but there’s a good chance that at some point in your life, you’ve probably known someone whom that sentence describes. They may not have verbalized it, and in fact would probably have denied it, but you could tell from the choices they made that the sentence I quoted pretty much summed up their life.
Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu won’t be for everyone. But if you can handle the dark subject matter, you might be surprised at how sympathetic both characters turn out to be and how powerful the novel is.
I’d like to thank Nick Sharps at Ragnarok Books for the review copy. I read the epub version. There was no problem with any of the formatting. This was a professional job, and Ragnarok is a small press to watch.