If you’re considering starting this series, you might want to check out my review of Book 1 since it covers certain things that I’m not going to repeat in this review.
The reason I love series so much is because they’re more than the sum of their parts. And when I first read these books, I felt that the first was good but that the second had the potential to be not only great but also completely heart-wrenching (to be fair, those two words are basically synonymous to me). And holy crap was I right.
By 8% I already had tears falling down my face—and I’m not a crier. The revelation that *SPOILER* Roman was paralyzed from the waist down *END SPOILER* sucker punched me; I just wasn’t ready for that, if you can ever be ready for that.
By 11% I was crushed. Roman’s emotions ran so much deeper and so much more painful than I was expecting, and him saying what he said to Bryn was terrible for both of them which meant it was doubly terrible for me, the reader, who was feeling things from both their perspectives.
It was burning there in her eyes, the kind of love that turns your insides into glass and the person you love into stone. Every word, every sigh, every pathetic sound I made had the potential to break her or keep her safe but when it came to the two of us, I couldn’t figure out how to do one without the other.
The lie I’d told Bryn was still there every time I swallowed. Like a shard of glass that I couldn’t quite get down and every time someone asked me how I was feeling or how I was doing and I was forced to give the answer that would spare their heartache, I could feel it throbbing there, getting bigger.
By 17% I didn’t even know what I was feeling because everything in the story was just going to hell (in the best possible way when you’re a reading masochist like me). All the parts about Roman’s emotions, how he felt about his mother’s death, how broken he felt both mentally and physically, his relationship with his father and his grandparents, his feelings for Bryn—geez. I don’t even have words. But man, this author can write. It wasn’t just that the writing itself was good, but also that she was able to grasp and create and portray the emotions Roman was feeling, the depth of them, the intricacies of them, the confusion of them, the way they all sprouted from the different things that had happened in his life and tangled together and bloomed into new emotions that all threatened to strangle him… It was incredible. And the way he thought and felt, it’s something I never would’ve considered or understood had I just been looking in from the outside, so getting to be inside his head gave me such a completely different perspective on things.
Then there was Bryn and the way her KLS was getting worse, because that was tough too, reading about it, putting myself in her shoes, feeling her emotion over losing Roman, losing her hope, losing her future, losing her dreams, and losing her life (I don’t mean literal death, so don’t worry, that wasn’t a spoiler).
But then, around 50%, things changed, and the heart-wrenching quality went away. I’m not going to say the book went completely downhill after that—I’ll discuss the things I disliked in a moment—because, even though it got less heart-wrenching, it somewhat made up for that with lots of twists and turns I didn’t see coming. And the mood was still dark. And the writing was still beautiful (though maybe a bit too flowery sometimes). And the characters were still developed. Not to mention Roman went through a major character arc.
The real problem was that the second half of this book was when things started to make less sense. The paranormal aspects constantly changed and seemed to get more random with seemingly no sort of rules as to how things worked. There was even a kind of time travel aspect involved which further confused things.
The first time I read this I also struggled with all the of new characters introduced, I sometimes had trouble keeping track of the passing of time because Roman and Bryn kept getting separated or just going off and doing different things, and I felt that the second half in general was kind of hectic, but I didn’t have any of those problems the second time reading (even though it had been a while and I didn’t remember much), so those things may or may not be a problem for others. And anyway, that might’ve been the point, to make the reader feel that chaos that Bryn and Roman were feeling.
Also, whereas the first book and the first half of this one were focused on Bryn and Roman and their lives and relationship, the second half became broader in scope and really wasn’t about romance or their normal lives anymore.
So this book did have some confusing paranormal stuff, but it also had lots of emotion, darkness, insight into different perspectives, and beautiful writing and was overall a book that I enjoyed!
*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 2nd read.*
3.5 Stars (1st Read – 2015)
3.5 Stars (2nd Read – 2016)
Fans of Books 1 in Laekan Zea Kemp's The Girl in Between Series. Anyone who likes dark paranormal fantasy and character development and doesn't mind changing paranormal aspects and an open-for-interpretation ending. Anyone who wants to read an amazingly realistic portrayal of chronic illness (in Books 1 and 2).