Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Rival by Penelope Douglas

by Penelope Douglas

Summary: Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…

She’s back.

For the two years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.

I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back.

Two years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me.

But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….
So I've been reading quite a few books like this recently. I have such a love/hate relationship with them. When I'm in a reading slump, only certain books can pull me of it (usually romance books of some sort because they're fun, they're addictive and they're more often than not quite predictable but in a good way).

Books like this are on the list of good reading slump books for me. And the love/hate thing? This one was no exception. The problem is, there's usually a downside to these books (maybe I'm just finding the wrong ones?) and that downside tends to come in the form of girl hate, awful girl stereotypes, borderline problematic love interests and occasionally toxic relationships that you probably shouldn't root for but can't quite help it.

This one featured one of my favourite romance tropes: the hate-turns-to-love thing, with lots of snark and arguing and chemistry. And it also featured a lot of those down sides I mentioned, though not quite as extreme as some I've read.

My biggest issue was that this was one of those cases where it seemed like it was aiming for the kind of bad boy player trope, but sometimes it strays into just actual bad guy territory with his toxic arrogance (for example, there's a scene where the love interest, in his POV, makes an internal comment about when he will start having kids and basically says that the mother of those kids will agree to it because no one says no to him...which is just - no).

My review of this book has kind of turned more into a general rant/discussion of a pattern I keep seeing in books from this genre (again, I'm probably just reading the wrong ones, maybe there's some fantastic ones out there that don't do these things)... But that's because I don't really have all that much to say about this specific book.

I'm in a reading slump, but I managed to read this in one sitting. It hooked me, it's fast paced and it kept me entertained. I really enjoyed the friendships and the characters. It was pretty much what I expected it to be (and it actually touched on a subject I wasn't expecting it to, but in a good way because it should be represented more).

Basically, I did actually really enjoy this book. I think I've read two? maybe three? of the authors books now and I can genuinely say I'm a fan. But I know a lot of people who would be so angry reading a book like this, so I'd only recommend it if you can tolerate the issues I mentioned in this review (if books like Beautiful Disaster are your kind of thing, this one and the first book--a companion to this--will probably be right up your street).

I'd rate this one 3.5 stars out of 5.


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