My rating: 2 of 5 stars
So apparently I’m going through a phase where all I read are series books out of order. I kind of hate doing that, by the way, and try hard to avoid it when I can. With Blue Ruin, I actually thought I’d read the series since I like the author and the books sounded familiar. Well apparently I’d read only the first book in the series but none of the subsequent books. I’m ok with that because I definitely did not like the characters enough to want to read more but I seriously lacked some considerable context for the cast and situations mentioned. I would not recommend reading this one if you haven’t been following the series. That said, I also don’t think it’s a series I want to catch up on but it’s an easy enough read with a happy ending that seems final for the series.
In this book Blue and Derek have been together for a year and apparently weathered some pretty substantial circumstances. There have been threesomes that came and went, kidnappings I think and maybe even an attempted murder, though the details weren’t provided. Suffice it to say a lot has gone on in the year these two have been together. Now they’re dealing with normal, everyday issues in relationships such as money, jobs, family, and friends. Derek is having money troubles; apparently he’s usually rich as sin but now has cash flow problems. Blue, as the submissive, knows none of this or doesn’t really care and instead is focusing on causing trouble in his best friend’s new relationship. In between this Derek’s famous father has died and his mother comes to town at the same time Blue’s political father is outed for having a long-standing affair with a prostitute. I have to say these aren’t really “normal” situations that couples have to deal with but since it’s not murder or kidnapping or threesomes, I guess it’s normal for Blue and Derek. Again, I’m not entirely sure about this but that was the general idea I got.
For starters the book doesn’t even attempt to remind readers or allow a new reader to catch up on past events. Instead the narration assumes that readers have followed along and know exactly who everyone is and how they fit into the overall scheme as well as into Blue’s life. I found this confusing and often frustrating. I didn’t blame the book, since it clearly states it’s book five of a series, and even though it was my own fault, I was still annoyed while reading. Furthermore I felt as though I couldn’t connect to Blue or Derek as individuals or a couple. A lot of the emotional impact must have been in previous books and perhaps the continuity of their relationship over hardship because now they just seemed mildly inoffensive and a little boring. Yes there was a solid BDSM portion to their life but Blue was a bit of a brat and often kind of horrible to other people.
The plot never seemed to stop, as there was a new crisis that happened pretty consistently. There were the money issues, then Derek had some health problems, then Blue was a real dick to his female best friend and her new relationship, then the death of Derek’s father, then problems with Blue’s father, then Blue’s jealousy, etc etc. Just kind of went on and on and none of the problems were sufficiently resolved either. They just kind of disappeared at the end with a huge influx of cash to make life easy and normal again and a jump in time to show everyone happy years later. I wanted to invest in the problems but I was really glad I didn’t when I read the ending. I never actively disliked the book or the characters but I definitely didn’t feel any strong connection to them. I couldn’t feel happy they resolved their issues when so many seemed to come and go without real consequences or intensity for the characters.
The writing is clean and easy to read. I like Strauss’ style so I found the pages turning quickly even though I felt no emotions, positive or negative, towards the book. I think it was mostly well written but the lack of information and connection to the main couple hindered me from truly enjoying the book and appreciating the relationship offered. Perhaps those that have been following the series can feel differently and will, in fact, absolutely love this offering. It feels like the last chapter with an ending for all characters involved. For those that are already fans, no doubt this is a must read. For those new to the series, I didn’t like enough to recommend it but that’s just my opinion.