Right! Before I get started I’m just going to warn you I’m currently studying abroad in the U.S.A so if I miss any posts it will be because I’m in the wrong time zone. Which I think is a valid excuse, unlike Rose’s and Sarah’s unacceptable lateness recently! Anyway, onto my review!
Okay, so something slightly different from me today, I’ve put my romance hat on!
I have read quite a bit of contemporary romance, my favourite being Colleen Hoover and Samantha Young, but today I thought I’d dip my toe in Mia Sheridan’s pool. See, I can even write like a romance novelist. Ha.
I was gushing about Maybe Someday and Ugly love by Colleen Hoover in one of mine, Rose’s and Sarah’s Parliamentary meetings and it inspired me to read some more romance. So I did. And good Lord, I’m kind of glad I did.
I chose Archer’s Voice by simply googling best Romance novels 2014. And this one came up on Goodreads as a 4.something rating so I thought it must be halfway decent. And it was, I wasn’t completely disappointed. Despite this though, it never became anything more than decent for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was an enjoyable read, but it didn’t wow me. With books like Ugly Love I found myself unable to put the book down (unless I had to wipe away some of my many tears) until 5am in the morning and I had completed the book. With Archer’s Voice I put it down at 1.30am and persuaded myself to pick it up again later that morning. It was engaging, but not riveting. I think this happened to me personally because I found myself unable to identify with Bree. She was a good main character, but I never found myself feeling what she was. I’m not quite sure what it was, but I think it was mainly how perfect she was. Obviously her character had been through devastating things but she felt way too flawless to be real. Yes she made mistakes, but to me she felt far too much like the ‘ideal woman’ who every woman romanticises to be, but never actually is.
The book started to get good around 60/70% (Kindle reading). Sheridan had laid all the ideas out, but I only really started identifying, or really feeling for the characters at around this point. I’m not sure if that’s me being cold, the nature of the character, or Sheridan’s writing style not completely resonating with me. However, there were a couple lines that really spoke to me. When Archer was talking about his disability and said “I realized that people’s reactions had more to do with them, more to do with who they were, than anything about me”, it really touched me. I think it’s an important sentiment that people regularly forget when they are feeling judged by others. Moments like this in the book really brought it up in my estimation.
The action towards the end was a bit more interesting for me. The conflict in their relationship was being worked out and Bree and Archer as characters started to feel more like real people and less figments of Sheridan’s imagination. Just before the end, I’m not going to lie, Sheridan extracted more than a few tears from my eyes.
Bree and Archer were a good match and complimented each other but at times, it felt too easy. It felt like I was aware this was a Romance novel, and I somehow felt aware of Sheridan’s presence as an author throughout. I hate to compare the two (well I don’t because god dammit I love Colleen Hoover!!) but for me Sheridan’s story felt a bit forced. The story didn’t naturally have a compelling organic-ness (that’s not a word, I know) for me that meant I could get swept away into the story lines and the lives of the characters. I, as the reader, had to work hard at submerging myself in Bree and Archer’s world, when I think it’s the Author’s job to pull me in.
Another aspect of the story which felt a bit off for me was Sheridan’s treatment of Trauma and PTSD. I think she developed Archer’s trauma well enough but it seemed to me that Bree’s left all of a sudden as soon as she fell in love with Archer. Trauma is something that never goes away, it lessens yes, but never truly disappears. I felt that maybe she should have reminded the reader that Bree wasn’t magically healed from her incredibly traumatic past overnight, and her PTSD was still an element in her life. On the other hand I thought Archer’s was dealt with a lot better. I like the fact that he worked on it himself and didn’t rely on her to fix all his problems, only settling for a short term solution.
The negative aspects don’t mean I didn’t like the book though! I liked it well enough, it just didn’t jump out and grab me like I would have hoped. I think I would read a sequel if it was from Travis’s POV. He became more of an interesting character towards the end and I was more and more intrigued to find out his character as Sheridan developed him beyond the ‘bad boy’ figure of the novel.
Overall the book was less of a page turner for me, and more of a time passer. However, I’m glad I read it, and it sated my desire for a romance novel. I think Sheridan did a good job and would recommend the book to anyone that wants an easy romance read to pass the time. Maybe it is better suited as a holiday book, that you can turn your attention to when you like, rather one that grips you completely, stopping you from realising you’re actually on holiday!
Thanks for reading my review Fledglings! Have a good one,