Age Rating: 18+
“Aria and her sisters return to the Human Realm of Haven Falls to find one of their own that’s gone missing. They soon discover things have changed in the Human Realm and that nothing is what it seems, including Knox, the egotistical, self-centered, frustratingly gorgeous man who declared himself King during their absence.
Sparks fly when the two enter a fiery battle of wills as Aria learns she is more than just a witch in the Hecate bloodline; she is much, much more.
Will Aria embrace her savage side to find her sister and save her family, or will she burn to ashes from his heated kisses and burning hot embrace?
Knox has ulterior motives for being in Haven Falls and never expected the little witch to show up and brazenly challenge his rule.
It was supposed to be easy; get in and get out. Move pieces into place and set the stage for the war he’s been planning for over five hundred years. Aria is his sworn enemy but something within her calls to him and he hates himself for craving the fiery kisses that have reignited his cold, dead heart. One taste, and he thought he could get her out of his system. He was wrong.
Will Knox let go of the memories of the past, driving his need for revenge that will destroy the pretty little witch he craves, or will he push the boundaries to fight for and claim what is his by right? Either way, war is inevitable. And nothing will stop him from reaching for what is his.”
My Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The idea sounded perfect… the plotline had prospect… the characters were interesting… but it was so poorly executed. What could have been a five star story, ended up in a labyrinth of constant (unnecessary) swearing, useless sexual innuendos, angst and abuse that twisted the plot, with many things missing their full potential. The writing was the real killer here, and the endless circling back. Maybe it’s just the writer in me, but I spent this whole book shouting in frustration, sentences like:
“WHY did you use so many words in that sentence?! CUT IT. CUT IT. CUT IT.”
“YOU COULD HAVE SAID THIS IS IN THREE WORDS, NOT FIFTEEN.”
“That phrase was totally unnecessary, stop it… we don’t even need that bit.”
In the first paragraph alone I could have cut 96 words down to 52, and it would have sounded excellent. (In fact, I did cut it down, for good practice, just to verify to myself that I wasn’t being dramatic – scroll down for the example under N/B.) Instead, the text read uncomfortably and slightly boring.
That’s not to say that the writing was bad, because it wasn’t. There was good perspective describing the scenery, and the world around… it just needed fine tuning. A cut-throat editor really should have taken an axe to a few chapters’ worth of Hutchins’ words. And these weren’t even GOOD words, they weren’t poetic or beautifully descriptive… they were just unnecessary bits of a sentence that had no business in a flowing novel. It was tedious, to say the least. The whole story could have been told in half of the pages.
Things do start getting interesting after the first half of the book, and I was actually quite intrigued by the developments. Although one part of me hated this book, the stupid-ass characters (and they really are stupid, flat) and poor execution, I was also obsessed and couldn’t stop myself reading, like in a horror movie when the hero continues down the dark corridor, into the killer’s lair. I mean frankly, overall, the book was pretty BAD in most ways – but it was interesting in the other ways it mattered, it had that GRIP factor that keeps you attached to the pages. I just had to know where it went – but it certainly required a LOT of patience to get there.
There are some bits of content that may be triggering or problematic to some readers, so it’s worth a trigger warning really, there is rape reference, violence, death – and it’s an erotic fantasy, so there’s of course a lot of sexual scenes. There is sexual abuse, derogatory behaviour, abuse in general, foul language, sexism and attacks on women and more.
I did love the love-hate-murder-sex relationship between the main character and love interest, it was full of suggestion and sexual tension – despite the bad writing, I was really hooked. Some of it was good… some of it was so BAD that it was funny, and sometimes that’s what kept me going! It was a ride… a rollercoaster of ups and downs. The story arc was interesting sure, if not predictable, but enjoyable.
Aaand, finally my favourite quotes:
Overall, the story had potential, the characters had chemistry and the plotline was really interesting… but somewhat poorly executed. For the enjoyment factor, I gave it 3* – which is a bit of a reach, as it probably deserved 2*, but since I was kind of addicted, I had to give it that extra star. This book needed a lot of work though.. it should have gone through 5 more editors and a dozen proof-readers before publishing really… THEN it would have been a 4-5* story.
*N/B: CUTTING DOWN THE BLOODY WRITING!!! When I say this felt long, unnecessary, and unedited, this is why.
Excerpt from first paragraph, first page:
“Exhaling a long, shaky breath, I stared at the lights of the city below the cliff I stood upon. Haven Falls, a city of immortal beings that weren’t even from the Human Realm. A place that haunted my dreams and lived in every nightmare I’d ever had. It was nestled between winding valleys, hidden within them to remain a secret from the mortals whose realm we lived in. I’d stood in the same spot long enough for the day to become night. The town had turned from a bustling hub of activity to a lighted dreamscape.”Paragraph 1, Page 1.
NOW, if the author – or a good editor – had cut this to something like this:
“Exhaling a long, shaky breath, I stared at the city lights below. Haven Falls, a city of immortal beings, nestled between winding valleys and hidden from mortal sight. The place that haunted my nightmares. I stood, frozen, until day became night, watching as the town turned from bustling hub to lighted dreamscape.”(this my own edited example from the text in P1, PP1. no credit or representation taken, purely edited out sentences to flow better)
and do THIS for every paragraph, and girl, you’ve got a 5* book.Flames of Chaos by Amelia Hutchins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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