rating: 4 of 5 stars
If it weren’t for the first person confusion in “Screwed” this would have been a five star review. That bit threw me off and, even though I eventually got used to it, I think there may have been a more effective way of pulling it off. Maybe putting names at the beginning of the chapter when the voice changed? I mean, I could see that the voice changed, of course, but…I don’t know. I’m not opposed to first person on general principle, it just seem to stall the story each time the voice flipped and the reader had to re-adjust how they were seeing the world. That’s all. Purely personal preference, I suppose.
None of that did anything to dull the excitement of the characters, though. Stuart populated her world with fascinating people who you wanted to follow. I wanted Will to read more of Sabrina’s diaries so I could learn more about her too! I wanted to hear more about Will’s family, hear more about his background with the bitchy exes. I loved the world that was built around a family of assassins and how they make their way in the world. Worldbuilding only works if you care enough about the people who populate that world. Stuart succeeded in making me care about them. Of course, making me care about the main characters is really a basic characteristic of a good writer. I know it may seem like it is complex, but that is because so many writers can’t make that happen. A truer sign of a complex writer, however, makes you care about the secondary and tangential characters as well. They aren’t just props for the main characters to move around, but they have three dimensional thoughts and motivations of their own. I got that from the secondary characters in both “Screwed” and “Hooked”. The characters weren’t just there as roadblocks (cockblocks?) but could easily be turned into heroes and/or heroines in their own right. Well, maybe not Mark Green. I really don’t like that one.
Even though I liked all four of the main characters, I think I preferred “Hooked”. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Will and Sabrina (and Will….did I say that already?). But, I really thought John and Tish had more chemistry. And while I really liked Tish, she seemed to irritate me in a way that made me wonder why I cared so much. That isn’t to say that Will and Sabrina weren’t good, because they most definitely were. There was a real depth there, definitely more serious, and not just because of the circumstances that led to them being on the run. Each of them had (or seemed to have)lived more life, had more to overcome which made it nicer when they found each other. John and Tish seemed to be more fun. I was equally happy that they found each other. And, even though there was the drama in John’s past that made him commit to the non-lying, it still seemed more light hearted and fun.
Overall, very good book with two very strong stories. I can’t wait to read more from her.