I imagine as a writer one of the hardest kind of characters to write is the anti-hero. The character has to be bad, almost bad enough to be repulsive, yet have enough glimpses of another side to the character as to draw the reader in with some sympathy for that anti-hero. I think one of the best ever written is Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights. He is one nasty dude and some of the things he does are cruel. But every once in a while the reader feels for him and his doomed love for Cathy.
Barron Spencer, more commonly known as Vicious, is a great anti-hero. HE IS NOT A NICE MAN. He’s not a good guy in disguise, he’s never redeemed, and he’s never apologetic for the cruel things he does, the cruelest of which is to Emilia, the heroine.
The story starts in the past. Emilia is the daughter of ‘the help’ who looks after the home Vicious lives in. She overhears a conversation he is having with someone and from that moment on he is determined to get rid of her. He’s afraid she heard something he didn’t want her to know. There is another issue, though, and that is that Vicious is attracted to her. They are in the same grade at high school. But when she starts dating one of his good friends, that’s it, he blackmails her into leaving her home, her family, and everything she loves.
The story picks up years later when Vicious runs into her at a bar she’s waitressing at and he decides he’s going to meddle in her life again and then sets about it. He makes her an offer she can’t refuse, working for him, and he proceeds to run her life. The reason Vicious has pulled her back into his web is to use her in a revenge plot. The only reason Emilia allows it is that she has always had feelings for Vicious and sees a side to him that he hides from the rest of the world. Since the story is told in first person in alternate POV, we get to see the same glimpses Emilia does.
I found this book a very compelling read, though uncomfortable at times. I can see why it gets high marks as well as low marks. Although Vicious has no real redeeming qualities, Emilia sees him for exactly who and what he is. She doesn’t connect the dots until later, but goes into the relationship with both eyes wide open and prepared for heartbreak. I like her as a heroine, I really do. She’s been through fire because of Vicious and has come out very much stronger because of it. I found grading this book a bit difficult but I’m going with a B. I have a feeling I could read it another time and it would get a C- or a time after that and get an A. I give huge kudos to the author for writing such a controversial yet gripping male protagonist
They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.
The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares.
He is a brilliant lawyer.
A skilled criminal.
A beautiful liar.
A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.
Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.
She is a starving artist.
Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom.
Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down.
She paid the price.
Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.
That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t.
So she hates me. Big fucking deal.
She better get used to me.
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