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In Chains (In Chains series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 164 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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In chains is one of those fantasy stories, told from the standpoint of Savannah, a pretty white girl who fell in love with Kayden, her brother Simon’s slave. They had to love in secret because theirs was a forbidden love. In the end, Savannah chose love over the norm, by choosing to experience what it was like being a slave.
I loved the romance part of this story, being a romantic, myself, by nature, but I hated the aspects that dealt with calling a human, “it”, and claiming that a slave does not have a name, and all the other inhuman acts meted out to slaves. This was not an easy book to read.
The sexual scenes were too frequent, long, and too graphic for my taste. For the most part the story was well-written though I think it could have been shortened.
Another thing too, I don't get how Samantha didn't have a clue about the slave problem. Her character is so unbelievable for being that naive. People like her is what put black men in real danger for their very lives.
None of the other reviews even touch on this. It’s like the pink elephant in the room. Nobody sees it and that’s very troubling to me. Michelle, I cannot read another sentence in this book. You are an excellent writer but perhaps a little research into understanding the black experience will help you to become a superb writer.
There were things I enjoyed about this book. I liked the main characters Savannah, heroine and Kayden, the hero. Both were likable people who had noticeable faults. I liked that Kayden was the jealous and possessive hero who was very much in love with Savannah. I liked that Savannah was down to earth and open minded unlike those around her. She was one of the few people that viewed slaves like Kayen as people as opposed to an "it". Both were insecure, which was sad but believable. Kayden was a slave and Savannah was physically and mentally abused by a boyfriend who eroded her confidence and self esteem. The book had an uncommon premise, which was nice.
The thing that I did not like was that the writing seemed sloppy in parts which included incorrect grammar and the characters having random thoughts. Also, I did not like the cliffhanger ending but am grateful that the series ends with the next book. This book was good enough that I am willing to buy and read the second and last book in the series.
*I didn't put any specific details of plot twists or major spoilers in my review, but a few general plot happenings without too much detail. Some might consider it a "spoiler." So read at your own discretion.*
So, I'm going to start with the fact that the entire book read like a 16 year old with sub-par writing skills had typed out this book. This is a first rough-draft, at best. I didn't find out until the end, when I read the author's bio, that this was a SELF-PUBLISHED piece of work. The lack of a professional editor really shows. The author writes the book in first person, which is fine; but every sentence began with the statement "I." It was like the books my seven year old brings home from school to read. "I went to the car. I opened the door and I got out my purse. I felt like it was too dark out. I was cold, too. I wanted to go back inside." Descriptions and better sentence structure might have done the book some justice. In addition to that, there was a lot of "ain't" and double-negatives littering the pages. When the love interest utters them, as a slave who has no education, it's fine. It feels like part of his character. However, based on how often the other characters speak like that, it made me wonder if the author herself was just used to speaking like that and think that it's normal. It really pulled me out of the story when the protagonist's brother, who was supposed to be some rich guy in "finance" who owns a farm and a single slave to run it [??] speaks like he's half illiterate here and there. No good.
Despite the painful writing, I pressed through, and was then disappointed by the lack of character development in some cases, and too much, too quickly in others. For example, the "protagonist" is a girl who just gets out of an abusive relationship. She was with the guy for six years, but is apparently only 22 or so, so we're given to understand that her highschool sweetheart was the controlling, abusive jerk. I can get onboard with the characters who make mistakes; in most cases, it helps them to become more three-dimensional. My biggest problem is, throughout the ENTIRE book, the character keeps letting other people push her around and make decisions about her and "for her own good." Even after she REALIZES this issue in a huge epiphany towards the end of book one, she pretty much just kind of continues on in the same manner as before, except for one decision she makes that is written to supposedly show her love for the male lead; but actually just comes off as desperate and pathetic. Then the author must have realized how desperate and pathetic her main character seemed, because towards the end of the second book, a mere TWO MONTHS after she just can't find her boyfriend, the protagonist goes on to start dating someone else. I'm guessing the author is trying to convey that the female lead is "strong" and "independent," despite the fact that she never moves out of her brother's house, never really tries to better her situation, and never actually goes out to extensively search for the missing male character. She literally drives up and down one street the day after he's missing and then decides he just hates her and never wants to see her again.
Which brings me to my next glaring issue: The protagonist is VERY insecure. She keeps talking about how no one probably likes her, and how plain she looks, and she hates her legs and her stomach and her hair; she's very negative, and it's exhausting to read the self-depreciating chatter going on in her head. And as an insecure person, it's VERY easy for her to imagine the worst, and believe the worst.. but sometimes she doesn't believe the worst... It was strenuous. I got whiplash from the back-and-forth, from both characters, between being in love and doing whatever it takes for each other, or just really believing that 'there's no way he/she could really be in love with me, because I suck.'
In addition to the back-and-forth, the female lead IS really hard to like, let alone love, and she continues the attack on herself when it comes to any man looking at her. She's jealous of her brother's girlfriend just because the girl is put-together, and she pretty much assumes no guy would want to be with her because she isn't super skinny and super pretty... YET, despite this, every guy in the book is apparently infatuated with her. Except one of the other slaves because he has his own slave girlfriend. I can't even.......
Anyway, I'd understand the slave being more hesitant to feel loved, but it really doesn't take them very long to jump into a normal pattern of being lovers, which baffles me. The male lead is surprisingly handsy and arrogant for someone who was bred and trained his entire childhood to respect his human masters and not cross the line. And it's not even because he's just tragically or beautifully "different" than all of the other slaves... he's just a horny jackass. It also makes no sense that the protagonist's brother decides he wants to live on a FARM, but doesn't want to do the work associated with it, so he buys ONE slave to man all of the fields and animals, and clean the inside of the house like a maid. Meanwhile, that slave apparently has the time to be goofing around with his owner's sister because he does his work at night and then doesn't sleep for a few days. ....Right.
I won't even get started on the second book and how BOTH characters get sent to a slave compound for "re-training." Needless to say, it was just a read on two insecure characters who can't make good decisions. And what's even more funny is, I got the book because I love books where there is a glaring gap in social classes between two characters- sometimes it feels more like a Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast story. I went into this series expecting to love the characters and their decisions to be together despite his bondage. I really thought that at some point, they would break free and run for it, or start a revolution or something that sets all slaves free and everyone is happy. But no. And at times, the author actually did her best to really make you detest their choice to be together, rather than convince you to rally behind and root for their love to win against the odds. It was a very strange sensation to be reading a book and feeling like you weren't even SUPPOSED to like the characters. I won't "spoil" what actually happens at the end, but it's nothing that redeems the 400 pages that make up this entire series.
All in all, reading this book felt like playing grab-ass with some disgusting guy on the subway; it was unsettling and gross, and I'd just prefer to forget it ever happened.
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