I picked up a freebie copy of Amelia Hutchins‘ Fighting Destiny way back in 2015. Since then, it has come to my attention several times, either in an ad or just scrolling my TBR, etc. I finally just decided to give it a read.
Have you ever heard of the old Celtic legends of the Fae – beautiful, magical, deadly and a love of messing with humans just for kicks and giggles?
Welcome to my world.
What started out as a strange assignment, leads to one of the most gruesome murder mysteries of our times and my friends and I are set and determined to find out who is killing off Fae and Witches alike.
Couple of problems in the way – I hate the Fae and the Prince of the Dark Fae is bound and determined that I work for him. He’s a rude, overbearing egotistical ass with a compulsive need to possess, dominate and control me. Oh – did I mention that he is absolutely sex-on-a-stick gorgeous and he makes me feel things that I never ever wanted to feel for a Fae…every time he touches me or looks at me with those golden eyes seems to pull me further in under his spell, despite my better judgment.
My friends and I can’t trust anyone and nothing is as it seems on the surface – not even me.
Meh. The writing here was fine. But I simply did not like the book. Mostly, I did not like the love interest. Yes, I understand the idea of dark romance and enemies to lovers, etc. Here’s the thing, though: even in dark enemies-to-lovers romances, the reader needs to feel that no matter how dark and dangerous the male lead may be, the heroine is ultimately safe from him. I never got that sense here. Plus, there has to come a point in the book in which the male lead goes from enemy to lover and redeems his previous actions. I never reached that point in this book. They went from not having sex to having sex, but not to lovers. Even at 85%, he was still doing things I could not forgive him for. And at 99%, the author was still submitting the heroine to things I could not forgive her (the author) for.
What’s more, the whole book skimms over the fact that the fae are rapists—all of them. The author plays loose and fast with this fact, but it’s an unavoidable truth of the species as written. And, given the coercive contract and fae ability to subsume someone’s free will, I never felt the heroine had the autonomy to choose to engage in most of the acts she did. I understand dub-con and non-con stories. I do. I even enjoy them on occasion. But it’s a difficult sell and a book that doesn’t manage to walk the thin line of a hero who is willing to engage in non-con acts while still being redeemable compromises itself fully. This was exacerbated by how willing he was to threaten the use of further rape (while pretending it’s something else) but to do so when it is literally her greatest fear in life, based on extreme past trauma.
Sure, I’m interested in the mysteries. But I’m not willing to read another however many pages of story in which the author ignores that the very characters we’re supposed to engage with are remorseless (and probably frequent) rapists. Let me be clear before someone comes at me with, ‘Don’t read dark romance then’ or some such. It’s the fact that the author is writing certain world and character traits while similtaneously pretending she isn’t and expecting the reader to do the same that is at issue, not the dark elements themselves. I will not be continuing the series.