Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Alice Close Your Eyes

Title: Alice Close Your Eyes
Author: Averil Dean
ISBN: 077831586X
Book Genre: Mystery Thriller
Release Date: December 31st 2013
Publisher: Mira Ink
Book Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Synopsis:
With haunting prose and deft psychological insight, Averil Dean spins a chilling story that explores the dark corners of obsession–love, pain and revenge.
Ten years ago, someone ruined Alice Croft's life. Now she has a chance to right that wrong–and she thinks she's found the perfect man to carry out her plan. After watching him for weeks, she breaks into Jack Calabrese's house to collect the evidence that will confirm her hopes. When Jack comes home unexpectedly, Alice hides in the closet, fearing for her life. But upon finding her, Jack is strangely calm, solicitous . . . and intrigued.
That night is the start of a dark and intense attraction, and soon Alice finds herself drawn into a labyrinth of terrifying surrender to a man who is more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. As their relationship spirals toward a breaking point, Alice begins to see just how deep Jack's secrets run–and how deadly they could be.

Warning: before you read this book, if you're hoping for a story with any sense of euphoria, happy ending, brief moments of justice or basically any good conclusion of any sort, this book is seriously not meant for you. 

Now, to be honest when I requested this book for review from NetGalley, I had absolutely no idea what it was about. No really, all I read were the first couple of sentences in the synopsis which gave me the impression that this is a book about a girl seeking revenge, she breaks into a guy's house and wants him to help her. Intrigued, he doesn't call the cops on her, but wants to know her story. That's the impression I got. That's what I thought I was going to read. But a month after I got my copy, a friend was quick to remedy my impression of this book, which got me ridiculously hesitant to read it. At some point, I decided to just get it over with, it couldn't be as bad as I was thinking, now could it? - It was worse.

I am not a fan of 50 Shades of Grey, or books on BDSM or submissives, especially since as of late I've become some form of book feminist where I hate a protagonist if she's weak, feeble, and is led around like sheep, so clearly, that's one large point against this book. During the entire read I kept expecting there to be a triggering point that let the protagonist to be so erratic and volatile, but a small part of me suspects that she's always been that way, since she was four - evidence in book, will not spoil it. Sure, things piled up together to turn her into the psychotic creature she was now, but what was her pushing point? What led her to the edge? That's basically the only reason I kept reading this book and didn't stop at chapter six or so. I needed closure, I needed to know the purpose behind this, I needed to know what made her click. And for the most part, I really didn't discover the key to her character at all. There were minor points where I did happen to relate to her, or found her character a little bit lucid and sane, and those were the times when she talked about her book, or writing.

Writing is unexplainable, one thing today and something else tomorrow.

Then there's Jack, a seemingly charming, large, mysterious, and capable of humor type of man. I expected him to be her salvation, or at least to be some form of guide, good influence, anything, on her life. He wasn't. I'm not sure if she drove him down with her, or that he had those hidden sides of him we never got to see at first. He's violent with a Dom complex clearly. Alice was very submissive with him that irked me to no end, and not just sexually, but in day to day life, with things. Maybe he knew her better than I did? Maybe I was wrong in my assumption of her character? Most likely. But with this point? I have no clue. At the start of the book there's definitely insight to his character and how there's a hard edge to him that may appear visible when he talks about his time in prison:

"People throw the word nightmare around," he says. "A crowded store is a nightmare. A wait in line. A tax audit, whatever. But in a real nightmare, there's a sense of unexpectedness. Nothing makes sense. You're going along and suddenly your house, or the person with you is not that person. And you're still applying waking logic, you're trying to make it make sense. You want to wake up, not just because you want to get the fuck out, but because you're looking for order in the chaos. You want things back the way they were when you were awake."
"Prison is that kind of nightmare. Anything can happen and nothing makes sense. It's a circus of freaks and you're locked inside."

Other points against it? Well, for one I don't feel like it had any particular purpose. There was no clear message, no moral, no nothing. Was the author venting? Was the message the very dark and horrible one I tried to dismiss? There was nothing accomplished from this story, no silver lining, no good. Just a journey in the mind of a very psychotic girl as she appears on the surface very stable, yet is anything but. She wants vengeance and yet her road to get her that particular brand of revenge is a bit mysterious, slow, meticulous and planned in a sociopathic kind of way. Wanting, hoping, attempting to get a point with Jack where he'd do it for her. But the thing is it felt like she had given up at some point, or maybe it was all a part of her plan? Basically she was dangerous. Yet, not really? Not when it should count?

The story is told in both present and past at the same time in the same chapters, she'd stop to explain in flashback - which can be a little bit confusing at times - something that happened then continue on what she was saying beforehand, surprisingly that wasn't one of the things that bugged me about this book. I liked the writing, I liked the style Averil used. The descriptions were adequate and gave a very bleak and dark sort of setting throughout the entire story, no colors whatsoever. The characters were so flawed, no sense of moral compass, with inner badness riding to the surface. They concealed it well, which made them all the more dangerous in my opinion, all the more evil. Also, this book has very graphic and violent sexual scenes - more often than not without consent or safe words.

Rating: 2/5.

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