Sunday, July 10, 2016

Broken Dove by Kristen Ashley | Book Review

Broken Dove by Kristen Ashley
Fantasyland #4
First Published: 2013
Adult, Fantasy Romance
Far too young, Apollo Ulfr lost Ilsa, his wife, the love of is life and the mother of his two children. The grief of her loss does not settle in his soul, it solders to it. But when he discovers there is a parallel universe where his wife may have a twin, he feels there's hope and sets about bringing her to his world so he can have her back.
But Ilsa Ulfr of our world is married to the parallel universe's twin, Pol, who is not a good man. Not in any way. She's on the run from him and the last thing she wants is to be transported to a fantastical world and be forced to take his side as his wife, even if he is not Pol. And Apollo finds the broken Ilsa nothing like his beloved, and further, wants nothing to do with her.
But darkness is looming and evil is amassing. Apollo must protect his land and keep his family safe, including the new Ilsa.
Of the entire Fantasyland series, Broken Dove is my least favorite by far, and the lowest rated. Even though these books make me not give a damn about a lot of my normal standards, they're so addictive, there are just some things I can't ignore or forgive, no matter what.

This book deals with a battered woman; Isla, aka Maddy. She's been in an abusive relationship for years, spending the last three years on the run from her husband. This has to take it's toll on her, and yet for a large time of the book, she comes across as... completely okay, despite everyone assuring us she's "broken" inside.

Seeing her one time flinch from Apollo is not enough. Giving her some self-worth issues three quarters into the book is not enough either. What Maddy went through is all consuming. And it's not something that happened years ago. It's something that has been happening to her for last eleven years, continuously. It felt like such a light and incomplete depiction of a battered woman, in which the issues appear only when they are convenient to the plot. It made abuse a cheap instrument.

But more than that, it was that Apollo was the one to "save" her. It was that Apollo made fun of her desire to "find herself", acting like that's such a stupid thing to want to do. It was that Apollo made her apologize 95% of the time... even when he was the one at fault. It was that Apollo lashed at her, viciously, as painfully as a punch to the face. It was that Apollo forced her to be at his mercy. He had everything under his control - where she would go, what she would do, when she will see his children, when not... he is such a controlling man. 

A controlling man who looks exactly the same as her abusive husband.

I was so angry and so upset with him the entire read, for being such an ass and not understanding the things he's doing, for being a control freak and for being the exact opposite of what I consider Maddy to need right now. And I was angry at Ashley for making him this way. I was so angry at her for making Maddy fall in love with this ass.

Indeed, for the majority of the book, I hated Apollo. The same Apollo I enjoyed in book one and looked forward to his story turned out to be the most disappointing hero in the whole series.

I know he's not a bad guy. I know he won't (physically) hurt Maddy. But seriously, a woman who's been abused for years by your twin, and you force her into a position that you provide everything for her, and without you she can't do a single thing, leaving her completely at your mercy??? Telling her her only choice is you and nothing else?? How is that okay??? How is that the treatment Maddy deserves and needs?????

I just couldn't get on board with this, no matter what. I honestly don't know how anyone can ship these two together, it left such a bad taste in my mouth. I'm getting my rage on just thinking about it.

Not to mention that this book breaks the rules of the world Ashley established in the first book, seeing as Earth!Apollo is as evil as they come, and yet he has a twin. But didn't you say evil people don't get a twin? And more than that, why can there be a good version and a bad version, when you're essentially the same person? this was a little confusing in Fantastical as well, but there I excused this by saying Fantasyland!Cora wasn't bad. She just grew with everything she wanted handed to her on a silver platter so she grew up vain and self centered, but not evil. Here, I can no longer ignore this massive break in the lore.

To me, this was such a disappointing forth novel, in a series I found addictive and fun to the point of #noregret binge reading... I wish this book was on par with the last one...

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