Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Review: Brave

Brave by Zoe Dawson
In the season of hope, in the season of giving… how far would you go for your friend?

Alissa Thompson has been the good girl her whole life. Her uninterested parents don’t understand her hopes and dreams. But this Christmas when her steadfast childhood friend Charlie needs her more than ever, she can’t back down. Crossing the line means being braver than she has ever been in her life. It means changing and growing and taking a stand.

Dakota Gray was brave in the face of debilitating fear. But he lost himself in that blood soaked day and has shunned everything he once knew. Now shattered and broken, he hides out in isolation, his wounds beyond healing. His heart closed, his emotions buried, he’s a man on the edge of self-destructing. Little does he know that courage would be found in another searching for the strength to be brave.

Now snowbound in the Colorado Rockies one week before Christmas, Alissa thought this was about her journey and her friend, about setting him free. But from the moment she meets Dakota, she learns about what real bravery is all about. What real love is all about. But is the season enough, her courage enough, her love enough to heal this hero’s brave heart and in the end set herself free?

My Thoughts:
1.5 stars.

At this rate I don't think I am ever going to be able to find a New Adult book that I can simply sit down and enjoy. Something cute and light without all this ridiculous clichés - the perfect and flawless beauty of the protagonists, the "tortured" hero thing, the inta-love insta-lust, the lame "coincidental" meetings between the main characters... I think you get the point. None of these things work, so why do authors continue to use them is beside me. I don't understand the hype behind these sorts of books.

Where to start with
Brave? There are so many cringe-worthy parts I cannot even decide what to rant about first. How about I make a list? That sounds good, I like lists.

1) The introduction and insta-lust - I don't how many times I have said this, but it obviously needs to be said again, because authors aren't listening: instalove doesn't work.Its a pretty simple message when you think about it, but over and over again our protagonists are falling "in love" within a couple of days, weeks if we are lucky. Everyone out here in the real world knows that it doesn't work like that. I mean, sure, it would be nice to meet a hot guy somewhere and be head-over-heels in love with them the same day, but we all that doesn't happen. Why then do our characters?

Our protagonists in
Brave, Dakota and Alissa, met at Dakota's family hidden cabin in the Colorado mountains during a blizzard. Alissa falls down a cliff-face and Dakota treks through the snow to save her... shirtless. Yes, shirtless. It was snowing and he was outside without a shirt chopping up firewood. Maybe my limited experience with snow (and by that I mean I haven't never experienced snow) limits me but I am pretty sure that you rug up in snowy weather, certainly not walk around half-naked. This is where my interest began to lag. Cue the insta-lust.

From there it was an avalanche - he carries her back to the cabin and they find themselves snowed in for the next few days. Alissa's ankle was sprained during her accident, so Dakota (being an ex-nurse) has to carry her everywhere. Its ridiculous! Everyone who has sprained their ankle before knows that sure, it hurts, but after about ten minutes of icing it you can walk about, with a limp yes but there is certainly no need to be carried everywhere.

Now, the first thing Alissa notices is how hot Dakota is and we are then forced to listen to her drone about his great physique:

"He had a powerful chest that tapered down to a lean waist and amazing washboards like I have never seen in real life. His biceps bulged with a glorious curve of muscle that literally made my mouth water."

"Thick midnight black hair was brushed back off his forehead, tapering down the side of his strong neck, just brushing the heavy muscles of his shoulders."

"His muscles were hard, and I caressed the heavy ones on his arms and his wide chest."

... yeah, we get it. He's hot. He's got abs. Get over it. No need to tell us over and over and over and over again.

2) Romanticised Illness - This is what niggled at me most of all. I absolutely despise how authors dare to use mental illness as a something sexy and hot about their character or to add to the whole "tortured", broody guy thing. PTS isn't something to joke around with, it isn't something to throw at a character so they can play knight-in-shining-armour or damsel-in-distress. It a very serious illness that needs to be given a certain respect.

If a topic like this is approached, it needs to be done well. This wasn't. Dakota didn't very realistic and if he said the word "demons" one more time in such an offhanded, casual way I was seriously going to have to punch something. I know people that struggled through depression, I know people that have cut and I know people that are overcoming it. This isn't how they talk, this isn't how they feel. It so much more painful than
Zoe Dawson makes it out to be. This isn't a game or a story, this is real and it needs respect.

3) The characters - the characters themselves were irritable to say the least. Alissa was intolerable. She was stupid, controlling, insensitive and just gahhhhh! She was also a bit gullible. She actually said I trust you to Dakota not even a few hours after meeting him - he could be a serial killer or rapist for all she knows! Then she begins to boss Dakota around like she is a slave master and makes him do all her bidding. She is also way too nosy to be polite. Its his land that she was trespassing on which doesn't mean that he "has to" answer all her nosy questions though she tells him it does.

4) The writing - I found the writing rather repetitive. The same things were described over and over again, using the same adjectives as well. This did nothing but add to my lack of enthusiasm to get into it.

5) The ending - I cannot so much without spoilers but the ending was just stupid. I actually laughed out loud when I read it. It all happened a little too quickly for my liking.

In the end, there isn't much positive to say about this at all, other than I am really disappointed, especially after reading the author's
A Perfect Mess. I was expecting something a little more but I didn't get that.

Note: a copy was provided courtesy of Zoe Dawson and Toot Suite, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

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