Only the Strongest Survive by Ian Fox
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book starts off with a bang when corporate head honcho Emely Donnovan is kidnapped. Initially it's unclear what their motives are, though she suspects they want her money. These kidnappers hold a grudge though and money is not what they're after... at least not at first. It seems one has a change of heart, in more ways than one.
Unfortunately, that little synopsis does more justice than I feel the book is worth. While the storyline could have been exciting, I believe it was poorly executed. Like I said, it started off with a bang, which I generally appreciate, but after that it was quick to fall apart.
There were many inconsistencies, not only in the reality of things, but in the story itself. In the opening chapter it states Emely is 49, but later in the book it says she's 29. After she's kidnapped it goes from saying "hours" to "days" when referring to the same stretch of time. When others talk of how long they've known her, one person tells the police only a couple of years but then later says he's known her from when she was in an orphanage, then goes on to tell how he met her at a party.
Normally I can read a book in a matter of a couple days. With the poor writing, I just couldn't get into this book. I feel like the author spent too much time on areas that weren't really relevant to the story or worth that much time and then grazed by on areas where more details should have been given. There were a few really good lines in there, but I often felt like the story was being told to a child (though the content would have been much too harsh). The dialogue was very weak and unrealistic given the situation and circumstances presented in the story. It sometimes made me wonder if it had been written by two different people or if someone helped out with certain sections. Some parts would be okay and I'd think I could get past it, then wham, all the placating nonsense would be back. Maybe it's due to the author being from a different country and possibly some emotions, dynamics, and drama got lost in translation. I don't know, but the writing style just wasn't up to par for my taste.
Some people had a problem with the idea of Stockholm's Syndrome in this book. I think written properly it could have worked very well with this story. As it was though, the proper time wasn't invested into showing how the dynamic between the two changed. It showed a poorly developed male character going from wanting to kill her to being hopelessly in love with her. She seems strong at first, but then suddenly her strength dissolves against him. It just doesn't work like this...
I'll be honest, I read some reviews to see if others felt the same way I did after having read this book. It appears people did not feel the same, or they were a little nicer than maybe they should been since the book had been provided to them for review. Writing false reviews does not help anyone... it doesn't help the customers looking for something good to read, and it certainly doesn't help the author, that is, if he wants a truly helpful critique. I hope I don't seem to harsh and that the author understands I'm just being honest. hopefully he can take the criticism and learn from it for any future books.
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This post carries a disclosure Level of 1. Please see my disclosure page for more details. The author reached out to me for a review of his book. While I would love to always have nice things to say, especially when having been given the product for free in exchange for the review, sadly, it doesn't always work out that way. I wish Mr. Fox lots of luck in his future writing.