By the cover alone, I wanted to love and adore Olivia Dade’s Avon debut, SPOILER ALERT. First, it’s beautiful, and I love the inclusive body on the cover and the fact that seafoam green color is tied into the story! And let me say, I really like Ms. Dade’s writing. It’s fun and insightful; it makes you think but keeps the book’s tone mostly light and easy to consume. But man, I am not a fandom person.
Let me start with what I loved: the romance, what a delight! Two grown-up people who fall in love through mutual interest and attraction. That’s harder to find than one may think in romancelandia! Our heroine was strong and confident but had to work at it, like anyone else. Our hero is almost 40 and, thank goodness acts his age. He’s mature and compelling and very sexy (not his just body but also his listening skills… I’m sweating). I really liked that the hero never questioned his attraction to the heroine. Sure, she doesn’t have the ‘traditional’ body (whatever that means), but he was her fan and supporter from day one, and that really saved the book for me.
What made this book fall from a 4 or 5-star read was everything ancillary to the romance. I almost felt like you had to be a Game of Thrones fan to enjoy this book, which threw me for a bit of a loop (mostly because I am not a GOT fan). I’ve read thousands of romances in various settings, many of which I couldn’t relate to or didn’t know much about, and I have never felt as left out by the content as this book.
The hero is an actor in a GOT-like show and the heavy-handed comparisons to the Thrones disappointing last season got to be a bit much. I’ve also read the Aeneid (the book the hero’s show is based on), and I was still a bit lost with the constant references. There were so many character names, actor names, and mini fanfic scenes; my head was spinning at times.
My biggest problem was the many, many, many (way too many) fanfic, script, and alternate scenes that, I think, were supposed to enhance the plot, but slowed everything down for me. It felt like the author was being self-indulgent rather than working to add some light moments or depth. I think if I had been able to skim those scenes, it wouldn’t have bothered me as much, but I was listening to the audiobook and was really resentful each time those scenes took me out of the story by the end of the book.
Overall, I really enjoy Ms. Dade’s voice as an author. I think it’s much needed, and I see why she’s racking up fans quickly. I would recommend this book, especially if you have seen GOT. I have high hopes for her next book if it’s the couple she was hinting at throughout SPOILER ALERT!
**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**