First of all, thank you to Netgalley and to Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this book for review!
Ok, wow. Just, wow. I JUST finished reading this, and I am speechless! I was absolutely captivated by this book.
Archer is a college student who really doesn't have any friends, except for Vivian, who has been in his life since they were children. At the age of 12, with Archer held down and forced to watch, Vivian is raped by a group of her brother's friends, while her brother watches and laughs. This has left her emotionally broken. Archer has made a vow to himself to always be there for Vivian, to protect her. Vivian uses him. But Archer is still there for her, and willing to do whatever it takes to make her happy. Even murder.
Archer's mission is to make everyone involved in the rape pays for what they did. It starts by accident, when he pushes one guy down the stairs and kills him. Then the idea is born to make a list of everyone involved in the event that left his best friend traumatized and kill them, one by one.
Archer is not the kind to get close to anyone. But then he meets Evan, and for the first time, he experiences a healthy relationship. Evan is there for Archer in the way that Archer was there for Vivian. Even when he finds out what Archer has done.
Archer's love for Evan makes him realize that what he has done is wrong, and he know longer wants to continue with his "mission." However, Vivian starts to lose it...she has just lost her mother, been beaten up yet again by her abusive boyfriend, and is now losing Archer to Evan. She decides she needs to pick up where Archer has left off...and then some. She now realizes what a good thing she had with Archer, and now she wants him all to herself.
This book opens with Archer's murder of Brody, Vivian's brother. So, I started off hating Archer. How the heck can you empathize with a murderer? How can the writer expect this from their reader? Well, I don't know how, but York pulled it off. This, in my opinion, is a sign of a very talented author. She made me really think about whether murder can be justified. While I cannot say that I think Archer did the right thing (at ALL, let's make that clear), I really think he felt like he was doing the right thing.
Also, I was not expecting a homosexual romance in the book. I'll be honest, it caught me off guard. But, Evan was the only healthy relationship Archer had in his life. Their relationship was so sweet. I just really was rooting for things to work out for them.
Overall, this was an amazing read. So very different from anything I've read. Yes, it was a little dark and disturbing, and it deals with a LOT of "difficult" material - rape, domestic violence, murder, homosexuality (not that I consider this difficult material, but some readers may). But, don't let that stop you. It was written so amazingly, that it didn't seem all that disturbing or scary. I look forward to reading more from Kelley York.
Now, go forth and read :)