Friday, February 14, 2014

Convicted (Consequences #3) by Aleatha Romig #Review

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Amazon || Barnes & Noble
Reviewed by: Aimee
Source: Kindle Purchase
Rating: 2 out of 5 (♥♥) for the whole series

This series should really be called...

How to Be a More Forgiving Victim

Consequences fans... you're not going to like this. I'm about to be a very unpopular lady. No worries, though. I've taken the liberty of taping a target to my back, just to make things easier for you when you pull the trigger. But I have to say... I'm not a fan. As a mystery, suspense, psychological thriller, the writing for this series is pretty decent. As a romance, it's disturbing. I don't normally use pictures in reviews, but this series is so preposterous, I figured visual aids would be helpful.

Before we go any further, however... there ARE going to be {{{SPOILERS}}} throughout this review. Consider yourself warned.

Oh, where to start. How about with a few quotes from our lovable stockholm girl, Claire? Maybe it's just me… but I don't find these quotes very romantic or endearing. Are we sure these weren't meant for some kind of parody skit? SNL? Kids in the Hall?
"Some would argue that a foundation built on kidnapping, isolation, violence, and yes -even rape- would never stand. I must disagree. We lived through hell and came out the other side. Like the song says, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I can't imagine anyone having a stronger foundation than ours."
- Claire
"I began to live, the day my life was taken away."
- Claire

Here's a quickie list of my pro's and con's for this series.

  • Fairly decent mystery, suspense and psychological thriller.
  • Repetitive use of the word "compartmentalize." - (As if this isn't proof enough Claire is deliberately avoiding the horrors of her own reality. She is literally obsessive compulsive with it, to the degree that I started to feel batty myself. Let's take a look at what it means... )
    "Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person's having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.

    Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self states."
  • Repetitive use of the word "suckle" (This word should never appear in seduction scenes. Babies suckle! Leave it in the breast feeding forums.)
  • Too much unnecessary filler (all 3 books need a good whittling down).
  • Too much cat and mouse going on between the main characters.
  • Claire win's the award for weak minded characters that make the worst life decisions EVER, even with numerous better options easily available to her.
  • Tony's favorite speech, given repeatedly to Claire - "I've done a lot of bad things, but the thing I regret the most is divorcing you." - So, out of all the bad things Tony's done to Claire (see detailed list below), the worst thing, in his mind, is his divorce?!
  • And finally... Tony repeatedly tells Claire there are consequences for her actions every time he rapes, beats or psychologically punishes her. Later on, Claire makes light of this horrible threat with a flirty comment back to him, that there will be consequences for HIS behavior. This is where we're all supposed to laugh and titter at such a cute, little, nostalgic reminder of all the rapey, violent things he did to her. Awww, just so cute! ♥♥♥Memories♥♥♥
So let me just clarify, I actually did like the first book in this series. But that's because I thought it was only a psychological thriller and not a romance. I was even excited in the beginning of Truth because it looked as if Claire was going to deliver Tony a whole heap of well deserved comeuppance. But that soon took a nose dive when it became apparent that Claire was going to go straight back into her stockholm syndrome-ish love spell and forgive Tony. Ugh!
Seriously? This is precisely why I don't get all the 5 star reviews for this book. Apparently, we should all be held captive by an abusive sociopath. Because without a controlling and oppressive figure in our lives… who will complete us?
Don't get me wrong… I LIKE dark, violent books. I've enjoyed BDSM novels with dark role playing (which is planned and controlled scenes played out between two consenting adults), I've read romances where the main character is taken captive and falls in love with her captor and I've read dark romances where the bad guy turns good, is remorseful and somehow successfully redeems himself in the end. The difference between those books and this one is the hero/good guy/sympathetic villain NEVER crosses certain lines. EVER!

I prefer my darkness and violence to fit where it belongs within the story; in the hands of the bad guys. It really helps with that whole cognitive dissonance thingy-ma-bob. And if, for some reason, the author feels the need to make her dark villain a sympathetic character… don't carry his actions beyond the line of no return. YES, there is a line!

I think the author truly wanted Tony to be a strong, domineering, alpha male character. But I hate to break it to you... Tony is no alpha male. He had rage, jealousy, and trust issues. He was violent, abusive, murderous, and bully-ish and controlling to nearly everyone in his life. These are NOT the qualities of an alpha male (here's a hint: 25 Characteristic's of a Real Man). These ARE, however, some of the qualities of a subclinical sociopath.
I'm just gonna put this here 'cause it reminds me of something...
Yes, this series deals with dark subject matter like rape and violence among other things. No, none of those things are ever described in graphic detail. But... and there is a but... this book is more disturbing to me than more graphically detailed books I've read involving the same issues.


Well first, as I explained above, the author created a sympathetic villain that crossed too many lines for me. And second, all the bad things are delivered to the reader in a subtle manner; never described in graphic detail. I think this is an attempt to ensure the violence inflicted on Claire doesn't register too deeply within the mind of the reader. After all… we're supposed to forgive Tony in the end just like Claire does, right? If we're too traumatized by Tony's actions, then we'll never be willing to forgive and accept him.

Books where acts of violence are graphic make you feel ill. It provokes an emotional response that allows the reader to identify with the victim and experience (as much as realistically possible) their torture at the hands of another. When an author doesn't give graphic detail, the reader is unable to connect with the reality of the horrors being inflicted. It keeps the audience within a protective bubble, removed from the violence.

So lets go over why this love story is preposterous. And because I couldn't have done it better (and I'm lazy), here is a list compiled by another reviewer (Ayhan), and slightly altered by me, that details all the things Tony did to Claire to show her his abundant love and respect for her as a woman and a human being.

{{{SPOILERS!!!}}}  {{{SPOILERS!!!}}}  {{{SPOILERS!!!}}}

  • Had multiple people murdered (including her parents)
  • Stalked her for years
  • Bought the TV Station she worked at just so he could fire her from her dream job as a meteorologist
  • Kidnapped her
  • Raped her - repeatedly
  • Beat her - repeatedly
  • Kept her as a sexual slave
  • Kept her locked in her room
  • Videotaped her every move (Including his rape and abuse of her)
  • Forced her to watch her own rape and abuse at his hands on video (with glee)
  • Denied her access to the outside world (No internet, cell phone, letters)
  • Denied her access to her family
  • Monitored her interaction with anyone other than him
  • Beat her so badly he broke her ribs, gave her a concussion and she was unconscious for 2 weeks
  • Forced her to perform sexual acts b/c she spoke to an old boyfriend
  • Had her old boyfriend murdered b/c he had the nerve to speak to her
  • Had her brother-in-law imprisoned on false charges. For years.
  • Framed her for his own attempted murder and had her imprisoned. For years.

You'd think after all that, Tony would get his comeuppance by getting ditched and taken down by Claire, right? Nope. Not at all! Instead, Claire stays tightly wrapped within her snuggly stockholm/battered woman syndrome induced cocoon, falls deeply in love with and completely forgives her abusive captor. And yes, there is an HEA for them! Isn't that wonderful? Let's celebrate!

I'm gonna put this here too... just to broaden your horizons...

Other reviewers in the minority with me (Why aren't there more of us out there?):
Fiction Fool


Summer said...

Honestly, it was extremely good for me to read your review. I, like you, read Consequences with excitement to dig my teeth into a good psychological thriller. I thought it was interesting and a great concept to take a spin on the popular "domineering man" we seem to be seeing a lot of lately, and show a darker more negative side of it. I completely agree in what you said about other books leading men, and that there is always a line that cannot be crossed. That being said, I thought it might be a positive thing for girls to see that in these types of domineering men, dreamed up to be a combination of powerful, controlling, and attractive, this does not mean that is the kind of guy you should strive to find. I figured a true villain would be a nice change. Call me old fashioned, but I can't help but loving the perseverance of light over dark in a book. This series legitimately disturbed me, for multiple reasons. One, obviously being the fact that Anthony Rawlings has some severe sociopathic and mental disorders, and rightfully deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life. Period. None of his actions are romantic, in it's true nature, and for him to be spun that way honestly disgusts me. I don't even feel more needs to be said on that topic, because it should be obvious. Second, Claire may have equal amounts of issues as Tony for her to willingly make the decisions that she does. I perfectly understand that not all books are written to glorify the main characters, but is this seriously the kinda of "resilient" woman that we would want any woman we know to aspire after? To long to have a relationship that mirrors hers with Tony? Absolutely not. As you stated in the bottom of your review, why on earth are there not more people that had the same reaction? The single most disturbing thing to me of this whole series is the fact that it has so many fans and followers. Is this seriously the direction fiction is heading in, post "Fifty Shades"? If so, we have a real problem on our hands.

Ok, I'm off my soapbox, but I had to let you know how much I agree with you, and how nice it was to see there's still people just as immersed in the world of fiction as me that see it too!

Fiction Fool said...

Oh man, Summer, I could not agree with you more. I wondered the same things after I finished this series. Looking at all the crazy, love-sick fans, panting and swooning over Tony. Ugh! What is happening in the minds of women these days? Has it always been this way and it's just now coming to light in the digital age or is this a trend many women are leaning towards because... well, I don't honestly know?! Why?! Why would women WANT this in a man? It is disturbing to say the least.