My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Again in the minority here. Yayyy! Not really.
Did I like it? Yeah, I kinda did.
Did I love it? Nope.
After reading tons of 5 stars reviews, I just knew Retrieval was going to get me out of the book slump I’ve found myself in lately. I was craving some serious feelings, having my heart shredded and glued back together. I was looking for the kind of epic love I’ve only encountered less than a dozen times in my reader’s life. I thought I’d play it safe with this book.
I was wrong.
What I was expecting was an emotional story about a couple fighting together to get over the death of their son and eventually finding their happy ending. Yes, I knew it ended on a cliffhanger, but I was okay with it (strangely), because what I was expecting was to fall so deeply in love with Roman and Elisabeth as a couple not to care about any of that.
But what I got were two broken people highly frustrated with one other fighting all the time until… puff, they’re back together. Don’t get me wrong, they had their confrontations, but in all honesty there was only one instance when I truly saw them discuss things as in my opinion would be expected for people with such a past.
But before the rant goes on, let’s put some order here:
Things I liked:
1- Clare’s POV. Weird thing to put first, huh? Clare’s not even one of the MC’s (though that depends on who you ask.) Clare is a broken woman, a woman who’d do anything for her daughter, even put up with all kinds of abuse. I loved how hopeless she was, and how desperate at times. She was human and she gave me those feeling I was looking for.
2- The idea this book is based on. I’m not a fan of second chance romances. There’s something about them that usually has me wrinkling my nose. I keep wondering why the second time around it’s gonna work if the first one didn’t. Still, the idea of a man so hell-bent on taking his life back after such a life-altering event gave me hope that this wasn’t the usual “I walked out on you for reasons this and that, but now I changed and want you back.” Nope.
3- The execution. I think this was my first Aly Martinez’s book. I’ve had “Fighting Silence” on my TBR shelves for years now, but I’m digressing. I liked her style. I liked how she balanced thoughts and actions, how something was always happening, at least motion-wise. The first half of the book was a tad too redounding and dull, actually. Nothing really happened case-wise or romace-wise. Fortunately, the pace started to pick up after the half-mark and it saved me from DNFing it.
What I didn’t like:
1- Roman. Bold statement here, I know. Before you take your eggs out of the basket and start practicing your fifty yards throws (or whatever they’re called. Not a football expert), I’ll say I didn’t despise him 100%. I liked how sure he was of his relationship with Elizabeth. At the same time, it pissed me off how he just waltzed back into her life, “checked back in” in his worwds, and that was that. Still, I found it adorable how he took care of her during the divorce with all the money matters, but I won’t say more not to spoiler. Anyway, the reason he ended up on my black list is mainly that I was expecting another type of character: caring, sweet, determined yes, but not a bossy alpha male who’s more worried about marking his territory when other dogs come sniffing around his ex-wife than reknitting their relationship together. I loved the guy he was on that first date, but I didn’t like how becoming a rich Tycoon had changed him.
2- Elisabeth. She’s partially the reason of these three stars. As for the rest of the book, I was expecting something else: a mature, independent woman, struggling to get past a traumatic event. Maybe sweet, maybe sassy. I didn’t care about that. But I was so not on board for the half-sap, half-sex starved woman I got. I understand that Roman and her didn’t divorce because they hated each other, but I couldn’t stand how she was so willing to sleep with him without any commitment (commitment he kind of had to compromise on). Elisabeth is the one who walked out on him and asked for the divorce in the first place. Sure, he checked out on her, but while I could totally relate with the reasons why he threw himself into his job, I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t consider how losing their child would affect him. She comes through as selfish.
3- The un-epic-ness. Their love story had the potential to be something amazing. I mean, who gets married after the first date (excluding all those Vegas books)? Only crazy people do. And crazy people are the ones with the epic love stories. So that was a good sign. But the ease with which they shut each other out when things got rough, it was a reality check. Like fate telling you: “See, even loves that you thought were epic are not.” And their getting back together did nothing to change my opinion. It was almost rushed. They simply started living under the same roof, things happened, they recognized they’d never stopped loving each other, and everything went just easy-peasy.
4- The plot twist. ohhhh. Who would have ever guessed it, right? Well, I guessed it the second time Roman and Heath interacted. There was just a sentence that tipped me off and annoyed me, spoiling the only thrill I could have gotten. Oh, and on a side note, Roman gets all the action when it comes to the sleuthing and investigating, while Elisabeth is always the last to be informed. What’s that about?
In conclusion, I didn’t love it the way I’d hoped I would. I couldn’t connect with the characters or the story. It had potential but it wasn’t tear-jerking, it didn’t make me pant for more, it didn’t make me fall for the hero or feel sympathetic towards the heroine. Still, (huge sigh. Why do I do this to myself?) I think I’ll give a try to Transfer. The story is not over yet and I kinda want to know where it goes from there, hoping to get more insight into the characters and especially keeping my fingers crossed that Roman and Elisabeth will show me another side of them that will make me believe in their epic love.
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