Rachelle is curious mix of fierce strength and an inner vulnerability that she refuses to acknowledge. For one in her situation, being vulnerable can mean something almost worse than death. She is a character who makes choices that she hates, yet it cannot be helped. And deep inside is her true desire of being able to love and be loved, but she knows that's impossible for one in her situation. (Or is it?) And while she may think she can never even have friendship, there are those who refuse to let her believe that. Amelie is magnificent! She reminds Rachelle that her human emotions are worth holding on to and is such a wonderful friend. I loved their scenes together. And while there is much that could also be said about Armand and Erec, I believe I’ll let you discover them on your own.
Once again, I am in awe of Ms. Hodge’s writing skills. She is incredible at taking all these different details and ideas and intertwining them so solidly that once you step back and look at the entirety of the story, all you can do is be amazed at how they fit together. At first glance it seems a pretty simple set up, but once you’re into the story you realize that every detail is way more intricate than you thought. This world she has created is dark and foreign, with so much depth and complexity, yet at the same time there is much familiar here. When you create a world unlike anything real, it helps to stabilize the reader by inserting things they can understand. The world-building is wonderful, in my opinion! And the storylines twist and turn constantly. This certain moment may seem small, yet later on it turns out to have huge significance. It’s very clear that Ms. Hodge had the story well-plotted out from beginning to end. Nothing is there by chance, everything happens for a reason.
The theme of sacrificing for those you love is prevalent, as well as who is worthy of love and forgiveness. It’s a quandary that many of the characters struggle with, Rachelle especially. Watching her heart, so afraid of being shattered completely, slowly open up is a beautiful thing to see. Nothing comes easy for her, but you'll be cheering her on every step of the way.
Really, this is a story that ought to be experienced without a great deal of expectation of may happen. Nothing is ever as it seems, including the characters. I do admit that I wasn't left quite as breathless as when I first read Cruel Beauty, but my adoration for that one is pretty hard to top! :) Never doubt how amazing it is, though, and go read it!
Rachelle moved to tie up the second man. "You think I want to hurt you?"
"I don't know. Do you?" His voice was light and soft, but she could see the tension in his jaw, in the lines of his arms. She could feel the swift beat of his pulse beneath his calm façade.
Rachelle knew she wasn't being fair--anyone should be suspicious of her, after the things she'd done--but even so, for a moment she could hardly breathe through the helpless fury choking her.
She pulled out one of her knives and flung it to land quivering in the wall two finger widths from his head.
He barely twitched.
"Keep the knife," she said. "Maybe it will make you feel safer."