Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Review Wednesday: Envious Existence by Katie Keller-Nieman


Envious #3
Released: 2016

Blurb:
"Sometimes love is so strong, not even death can stop it.

The world I thought I understood...
The man I thought I knew...
Nothing is the same.

Sandy spent most of her life in a toxic friendship with a girl who wanted her dead. Finally free, she now has a chance for happiness with the man she loves. Eric is back in her life, and everything should be right between them...but nothing is what it seems.

Eric has been keeping a dangerous secret. One that threatens their lives and the futures of those they love.

A secret that changes everything.

Their world has become a different place, with complex rules and terrifying dangers.

But there is a way out. Their only hope for survival is to make a deal with Aurora. But can Sandy trust the girl who tried to kill her, the girl who still wants her dead?

Love will be tested.
Trust will be broken.
And truths will be revealed."



Review:
I received a copy of Envious Existence from the author, Katie Keller-Nieman.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Well this series is quite the ride!  This book is markedly different from the others in the series and I think the author is really gaining her footing in terms of character authenticity and plot direction.  Allow me to elaborate.

1.  The characters.  This series is by far a character driven novel.  I'll talk about the plot in the next section, but suffice to say the characters are interesting enough to hold their own.  As I said in the introduction, I think the author is finally settling into her characters and allowing them to 'think for themselves' as it were.  I especially appreciate the growth that one of the main characters, Cassandra, is enduring and I really enjoyed being in her head as she puzzles through some not-so-great past decisions.  She's growing up a little which is fascinating to watch.  Aurora's motivations are also painted a bit clearer in this novel (they were a bit fuzzy in previous novels and she was simply the villain) however there's still some defining left to do.  Another bit I wanted to mention: we get several POV's in this book (Cassandra, Eric, Todd, and even a chapter of Tony) which I thought was really well done and aptly timed.  I always love a good multi-POV novel and this didn't disappoint in that aspect.

2.  The plot.  As I mentioned, this book (and the series, really) is intensely character driven so the plot is often secondary.  However, I do think that it would have been nice to have a more clearly defined arc.  The whole story revolves around the aftermath of Aurora trying to murder Cassandra and Cassandra and Eric trying to find out what is really going on with the whole 'reincarnation' business (hint hint it isn't just all in Cassandra's head anymore).  I really enjoyed this part of the novel as it felt a lot like a mystery with all the clues and scattered memories.  The reader is trying to figure out what happened in all those previous lives to attempt to explain Aurora's behavior right alongside Cassandra and Eric.  Like I said, though, it was often secondary to the characters and sometimes it was left to wither in favor of a slew of character development scenes.  While I do love a good character driven novel, I think the plotline has to be solid for it to happen.

3.  The fantasy element.  I really enjoyed this.  In the previous novels, it was kind of unsure whether or not Cassandra's visions were just hallucinations or whether they were actually something tangible which led to a lot of uncertainty in the first two novels about the genre of the series.  However, that's all clarified in this book and it's explored at a much deeper level as Cassandra and Eric discover the truth behind the reincarnations.

4.  The romance.  I have mixed feelings about this.  The main relationship is that between Eric and Cassandra and while I absolutely loved their scenes together and the growing pains their relationship experienced, it also brings up the question of fate and whether it's an excuse for concealed insta-love.  There isn't explicit insta-love, but they do say that they were meant for each other and that they knew it from the first moment they saw each other.  This could be due to the fantasy element (actually, it definitely is, this is completely a personal thing) but I just don't know how I feel about it.  Like I said, though, I really enjoyed how authentic their relationship felt and how there are plenty of bumps in the road.  They are really dramatic with each other which grated on my nerves a little but that's also a bit of personal preference.  I just don't understand why everyone has to scream and everyone else all the time (or is this just me?).

The Final Verdict:
Interesting and increasingly well-defined.  However, there's still some fuzz around the edges.
3.5 stars

4 comments:

  1. How have I not heard of this series? I’ll have to look it up. I love this cover!

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    1. It's definitely one of those hidden gems that you can only find if you look for it. I hope you enjoy it if you get around to reading it, Jenny!

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  2. This is the first I'm hearing of this series and it sounds real good! Pity you're not completely sold on the romance, though, and um, about the screaming too! xD Loved the review, Laura! <3

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    1. It's definitely one of those hidden gem series :) Yeah... I think it's mostly personal preference but the whole back and forth 'we're made to be together but it's bad we're together' thing gets really old really fast. Ughhhhhhhh maybe it's overreacting but I'm a pretty mellow person so when people in books are constantly yelling and screaming at each other it really grates on my nerves! Why is this a thing???? I guess it makes it more dramatic and engrossing but I'm not a fan. Thanks for stopping by, Ruz!

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