super spoilery so if you have any intention of reading this book, and I would never discourage it--please skip this review!
First, I have read Karina Halle before. If you have not, I would highly recommend the Experiment in Terror series. It will frustrate and frighten you but sweet Jesus, it's great.
This however was not.
Or not for me anyway.
Almost nothing in this book worked for me.
My feelings on this are torn, as I know some of it comes from a place of "it's not you, it's me"
not the python in the underwear quote--that was most definitely you
Violet was...well, I reckon she was supposed to be strong and sweet, intuitive and with depth, but...well, she was stupid. Her stupidity disappointed me. And yes, I know this is fiction and you have to suspend disbelief at times, and yes, I know I am old, but I really hated this kid. She goes to his hotel on the third day. Let's him tie her up, slip a belt around her neck and pull (well, that was the fourth day). Now you do you boo, but what in the actual fuck is wrong with you? You trust him?
He says "trust me" and you do? You? Supposed little miss paranoia? Violet-the something's not right, I know my intuition is correct? He's lying to you, which you kinda know already...he's a liar and a murderer, but yes, please trust on day 3-4.
I guess I'm old, I did not find this hot. I wanted to snatch her up by her hair and tell her her mama was calling her for dinner. So, she was stupid.
Vincente...was...less stupid? I'm not sure I really got a take on him honestly. I would think I got it, but then...not so much. His motivation for going to Cali was...idk...I thought it was dumb, but whatever, I could go along with it. You wanna take down your papa but can't figure out how to do it other than finding the girl that got away? even though he has already slipped out of first place, so really...what was that supposed to accomplish? I mean, bring her back and present her to papa? For respect? He didn't even know his own motivation. One minute it's all for my father to respect me, then its to beat my father and be king and rise to the top and blah fuckin blah
Oh,but Vi the Stupid gets under his skin. He "falls in love with her" so what does he do? Pistol whips her mother.
Ben was the most interesting part of the story for me.
I could care sweet fuck-all about Javier. I didn't like him before, I sure as fuck don't like him now and I swear (and I'm not all that bright) but I had the cliffy moment figured out. So, not only was it a cliffy, but it wasn't...shocking. I don't know.
Some of my favorite absolutely awful quotes:
"I don't have a condom. It doesn't matter." (Day 6 or 7, I think)
"And yet for all her softness and kindness and bleeding heart, I want to make her stronger, better. Something more like me." Ah yes, when the drug lord's murdering son wants to change you and make you "better" fucking gag me.
"But now that I'm here, I want to expose them for what they are. I want to show Violet that her instincts have always been correct. At least I was raised in a house where everything was laid out on the table, for better or worse. I watched my father torture and kill a man when I was eleven years old. I learned how to shoot an AK at fourteen. I've been with him when's put bullets in people's heads. I've watched him make deals that I knew were based on lies. And I turned out just fine."
"Mexican magic cock."
"He's opening me to a whole new world. In other words, he's fucking Aladdin and I'm on one hell of a magic carpet ride."
I mean, seriously, how am I not supposed to look at her as some dumb kid?
She took it a step further with Narnia, but I'll spare y'all.
I'm disappointed about how the sexual relationship was portrayed. I've read other books where couples/partners/strangers don't know each other well. I'm not sure why this one bothered me so badly. Was it because she was letting him tie her up and collar her and whatever he wanted even though she was supposed to be super paranoid? Or is this what's hot? Was there trust building that I just didn't see? I don't know, but I was really bothered.