Published by Atria
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, F/F Romance
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Todaybestselling author of Unteachable.
It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.
If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.
She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.
But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.
Which was the plan all along.
Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.
She's going to show them all.
“There is a terrible thing tucked inside me raring to lunge forth into the light. And I’m just waiting for that perfect moment. Just waiting. Just waiting.”
This is one book that is hard as hell for me to rate. When I first finished reading I figured I would rate it a solid 4 star. It’s bold, bizarre, and had me engaged from the first page to the last. Sure, I had some issues (which I will get to) but this is so unlike anything I’ve read before that it felt that my rating was focused more on that instead of how I felt after. After having some time to sift through my own feelings on these characters and this story, I come to the conclusion that there is a difference in appreciating something and liking it. Let me explain.
“We’re the sun and the moon, Blythe.”
“What does that mean?”
“I turn invisible when you’re out.”
It is pointed out on numerous occasions that Laney is not a heroine you should like, expect any sort of redemption, etc. I’m perfectly okay with that. I love me a good anti-hero. Trust me when I say that I do not need to love a character to enjoy a book. But with Laney I felt nothing and I think that indifference is worse than loving or hating a character. I wanted to feel something for her, especially in these flashbacks where you see just how violence and pain shaped her into what she becomes, but nada. The only character I had an emotional response to was Brandt, and if you’ve read Black Iris, you can see how flawed that is. The only time I really experienced an emotional response to this story was at the very end, when all the cards were revealed and we got to see the characters for who they really are. And it wasn’t a positive reaction.
“I am the black iris watered by poison.”
My biggest gripe comes from the ending. Throughout Black Iris there has been this mystery, this suspense, that has kept the characters on a path of chaos and the reader on their toes. When it is finally revealed as to what is going on and who is involve and the why…it was so out there and it felt so forced and it made the last 80% of the novel a joke. I never would have guessed where it went but when it went there I had lost my nerve to care. When I first finished I was really thrown off by the direction the story went but it seemed clever, at the time. Now? Not so much.
But what really solidified my 2 star rating was the writing. I have a love/hate relationship with the writing in this story. On one hand, I enjoy the lyrical quality of it. The writing is pretty and chocked full of metaphor and symbolism. But just like Laney and this cast of characters, the writing comes off as pretentious and disingenuous. I don’t get all the references to wolf girls. I don’t know any 19/20 year olds that quote Kafka. At some point the writing became a distraction from the story.
Overall, Black Iris is an interesting tale of damaged characters, revenge, and maybe even love? While it wasn’t for me I have no doubt that there is an audience for this sort of story and writing.