“You hold this darkness deep inside your ribcage. I know how that feels. I have it too. It isn’t the same as yours, I know that, but your darkness is fucking blinding, Sera. It’s beautiful and it’s part of you.”
I knew J.R. Rogue through Tarryn Fisher as we were both members of her reader group. From there, I
creeped, stalked, followed her Instagram account and was instantly hooked. I just fell in love with her words. Her poetry will speak to your soul, her truths will make you think and you can almost touch the intensity of every single piece of poetry that she posts.
But I digress.
I have been on the lookout for her ARC signup sheet from the moment she announced her debut novel that my excitement was burning the moment it landed on my device.
The best thing about Rogue’s debut novel is that it didn’t feel like it was a debut novel at all. Yes, it was a bit wordy for my taste, some parts too descriptive than necessary that my imagination took a step backward. But other than that, I have nothing but good things to say about Rogue’s first baby.
“I’m just trying to figure out if you’re real or if I just wrote you in my head, then placed you in my life to deal.”
The plot is amazing. The slow burn is done to perfection. I can feel it. I can taste it. I was anxious excited for how the story will develop. I love the buildup and was satisfied in all the right places. I was pleased by how real Sera can be (the paranoia when someone who looks dangerous walks behind her, laziness on a rainy Sunday morning, the social media addiction, retail therapy etc) and felt hopeful because of how Chace is despite the broken history. The tempo is steady, never rushing, never slowing down. And most especially, my heart swelled by how the story came to end.
Like I mentioned, this is mainly the story of Sera, who, after years of being away, went back home to conquer her writer’s block. She had a certain formula in writing and even that doesn’t work anymore. Throw in a younger, interesting, sexy housemate and it was attraction overload. I was excited for their friendship and was easily intrigued at how their characters and relationship will develop. There were parts that I felt were unnecessary, dialogue that I felt was too much already BUT generally, I felt the depth of what the author is trying to convey. This is not just a love story per se. It’s also a story of self-discovery, reinventing oneself and fighting one’s own demons. It was a peek into a writer’s life and it actually made me wonder how much of Sera was Rogue.
“She let me love her without restraint.
She let me unravel.
She reminded me that I am good.”
Sera is a likeable female lead with her wit and aloofness. She has a wickedly strong thinking mind but a very sensitive and hesitant heart. On the other hand, I felt like I needed more of Chace. A lot of times, I wished to know what he was thinking of, to be inside his head but the Epilogue more than made up for it.
“She was not merely madness and melancholy. She was so much more.”
There was also a number of secondary characters, all of whom were able to hold my interest; Kat, Sera’s mom and Andrew. Rogue didn’t just throw in characters for the sake of completing a lineup. Her characters, like her story, has a purpose and I would definitely love to read more about these people in the future.
I will definitely recommend this to anyone who appreciates a satisfyingly slow burn. NO instalove but a whole lot of history. If you’re looking for smart characters in a smartly written novel, then this one is for you.
The poetry though, magic as always.
FOUR BURNING STARS!!
I’ve burned muses.
I’ve felt little remorse.
I stored our tales.
I sold them for this life—
Their sighs and lies
led me to believe they
enjoyed the dance too.
I’ve burned muses.
I laughed at those tales.
Then I met him