Monday, 16 January 2017

Watercolour Smile

Watercolour Smile

by Jane Washington

2 out of 5

“Maybe I was stupid to have agreed to this, but when all of the options that you have in life are dangerous ones, you can only choose to do something reckless, or turn a blind eye and allow the cards to fall as they may… and I was sick of being blind.”

Seraph Black has endured a vicious stalker, a change of schools, a bonding, a triple-murder, and more than her fair share of uncomfortable situations; but it seems like the world isn’t done with her yet. The messenger is back with a systematic vengeance that knocks her flat, and not even her self-proclaimed secret-keepers are prepared for how far he is willing to go to get what he wants.

She is walking on eggshells, trying to keep everyone at a distance. Especially those that are closest to her. Unfortunately, there is one person who keeps slipping through the cracks: Silas Quillan, the gift in her life that keeps on taking. Every time she turns around, he’s taking something else from her: her choices, her privacy, her freedom, her sanity… and if she’s not careful, the the next victim might just be her heart.

Warning: While this book is intended for a young adult audience, it is not recommended for persons younger than 15 years, due to some disturbing themes.

Despite leaving her abusive father, and escaping her violent stalker, Seraph's life is only getting more dangerous. She has to hide her powers, and hide her growing connection to the four guys that would do anything to protect her.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, let me say that this all comes down to a matter of taste. The book itself is well-written, and I can see why it's popular. It just didn't do it for me.

The premise is interesting - Seraph is part of the Zhevghéri, a secret organisation of families with various powers. The most highly valued of which are those born with marks that show they will have two - for a better word "soulmates".
Seraph is special, as she is set to bond with two pairs, and the four guys just happen to be the equivalent of royalty.
Despite the growing connection between Seraph and the four guys, they have to hide it, for fear of the danger it will put them all in. (Their father, the Voda/leader is a complete control freak, and is not above torture and murder when it suits his needs).

The main thing that put me off in this story is the writing style. It is very poetic, and descriptive, and it can take a page to discuss the colour of Seraph's hair.
The constant attention to every detail made it very hard to follow the story, and stay invested. The tone of the book stayed the same throughout the book, and I felt that it sapped some of the excitement out of what should have been awesome scenes. But when Seraph is equally interested in the fact that she can do gymnastics, as when she is attacked by goons and her dad's house burnt down (plus some other really interesting stuff), I felt disappointed more than anything else.

The other thing is how much of an ongoing focus Seraph's abuse is. I don't like to read books about abuse. I know, you might argue that it is something that happens, and should be brought to light etc. I agree. But I am reading for enjoyment, and this just makes me feel horribly uncomfortable.
I think the worst thing - aside from how some major characters just gloss over and ignore the abuse, acting as though it doesn't even factor - was how Seraph is still the victim.
She has escaped her father's abuse, and has survived a violent stalker, and has four of the best bodyguards around. But she still lets the world treat her like shit. Whether it's high-school bitches and bullying; or guys constantly drooling over her, and their touch making her uncomfortable; Seraph just meekly accepts it all. She also accepts that people are hiding secrets from her; putting her life in danger; deciding her future without her... the only thing that she seems to get annoyed at, is when one of her guys might be getting involved with another woman.
She's constantly being carried, or curled in their laps, and just plain coddled. While growing forever closer to Silas - one of her four soulmates - who happens to be the most unstable and has fits of violence that can lead to him killing people. I actually liked the character, but I couldn't help thinking how she's drawn to unhealthy relationships, and it's all romanticised.

Overall, interesting premise, but not for me. I would recommend checking it out for yourselves, because I think a lot of this is just personal taste.

Goodreads link

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