What I really don’t understand is why this series is called ‘Neighbour form Hell’, when clearly ‘Dudes with Inhuman Food Obsession’ (eating disorder, bottomless stomachs, etc) would be a much more appropriate title..
If the first book at least had a “fun fluff” section in the middle of its “ridiculous hang-ups” parts, this one is all only about the ridiculous hang-ups. Also much more numerous boring monotonous reflection parts and abrupt time lapses. Where the fist book was more about weirdness for comedy, here it feels more like an actual mental instability weirdness. Overall, while the quality of the first book was nowhere near perfect, it actually went down a few levels in this one.
He: Self-centred, hardly ever governed by conscience, wants to marry a ‘perfect on paper’ woman, once he finds one to fit his criteria, believes himself above being attracted to women who don’t fit into that criteria, judgemental, forceful, unhealthily obsessed with food… Generally, an unapologetic asshole from all sides.
She: No self-esteem, eating disorder and body image issues that make her starve herself, unhealthy obsession with ‘cute’ things, tendency to be both blind and deaf to people around her.
Both have three wagons of relationship and sefl-image issues, and are permanent residents of the land of DeNial. They don’t know what they want and feel like ridiculous, pretty, empty-headed characters. As in, no evidence of using brain mass to think can be found. And the more you think about actual content of this book the weirder it seems. These characters don’t really read as actual human beings…
Honestly, I only finished this book because I was in this weird mood and wanted to reach a happy ending.
Fun fact: I’m too lazy to look up the exact ‘anti-smoking’ law that was passed recently, but On the scale of our company (around 1800 people?), in accordance with it, all smoking areas on the premises will be removed before April of 2020, no smoking areas will be established going forward, and people won’t be allowed to smoke anywhere inside or outside the company (since you’re also not allowed to smoke on the street). Anywhere.
So, factually, smoking people will not have a single option to smoke since the moment they arrive at work until the moment they leave 9-10 hours (at least) later.
(including all kinds of electronic and vaping smoking devices)
I have a strong suspicion you won’t be allowed to smoke anywhere except inside your own house very soon in this country.
This book is built from a couple of parts I don’t really believe fit seamlessly together. First comes a strange and bumpy beginning, where the antagonistic feelings (and circumstances causing them) between the two were so over-emphasised that the rapid transition to friendship felt very far from natural. (Would you invite a neighbour you hated for months (at least, I don’t remember) with no manners, who just physically fought with you to rip out your poor flowers to shreds, to your home, shower, and feed him pizza? Just like that?)
Then comes a fun middle part, filled with all kinds of shojo-manga and fanfiction favourite cliches (food talents and obsessions, comparisons to other bitchy females, carnivals, sleep-buddies who can’t sleep without each other, comic relief family vs. assholes-only family, etc.) It’s fun, it’s mostly lighthearted, with hardly any seriousness in there at all.
Then comes a weird ‘drama’ part, with identical idiotic pissy fits from both sides. This part especially drives in the point that colours all of this book – everything about the main characters and their behaviour paints them as teenagers at most, not at all as 30yo adults as they were supposed to be. (I had an urge to mostly skip through this part as it made very little sense, if any. I feel like there could have been better topic choices to fill this ‘required drama space’ in the plot, and that it wasn’t done very well.)
The book overall isn’t bad, just…requires a non-questioning mind set and an agreement to enjoy the fun childish part as it is and not look too closely at the rest.
I’ve expected from the very beginning to have to treat this book as ‘something push through in order to continue reading the rest of the series.’ That would be because, unfortunately, I haven’t liked Prisca since book 1. She is a spoiled brat. There is a difference between having an opinion and believing your opinion to be above everyone else’s. She sticks her nose in everyone’s business, thinks she has a right to manipulate everyone’s lives, and doesn’t care to listen to anyone but herself. The whole situation where she ‘loved’ him, but chose to believe the worst about him and leave him a note cursing him to hell, when she actually made a promise to elope…doesn’t do anything to improve my opinion of her either. She doesn’t listen and think, she stops her foot and screams that everything must be as she wants it. A very annoying lead female character. In fact, it’s like she was on purpose written in a way to annoy readers to hell.
Then the “love rival”‘s behaviour didn’t help this book’s impression either… I really don’t enjoy reading books where all you want to do is smack a character on the head hard and long enough until you can shake some brains into there.
The only thing I actually really liked about this book is that the characters of the previous books, all family members, were present and active participants of the story.
Every time I see a person on tv being portrayed as having a hangover—nursing a headache, wearing sunglasses, grimacing because everything is too bright and too noisy, and moving too fast is rewarded with spikes of nausea—I get this disturbing feeling and just want to say… … … But that’s exactly how I feel every day (that I have to go outside)?… And without any drinking.
This book has the best blurb I’ve ever seen on a book, and it might get 5 stars just for that. Because ‘strong feline companions’ says it all.
In other news, this book latches on to your sympathy with sharp claws and will pull you along by it all the way.
I have only 2 real complains: 1) it’s a bit too nerve-sucking for my peace of mind; 2) ‘mind games’ and ‘hallucinations’ themes are big pet peeves for me…as in I can hardly stand them. I had to exercise a lot of will power to get through them. Otherwise, it’s a great sci-fi romance with action and mystery. And strong feline companions.
P.S. I also have a feeling that this book might especially appeal to people who had, at some point of their lives, found themselves reading a lot of Trek TOS fanfiction.
I find myself very cautious reading these books now… Because, unfortunately, it’s been more and more difficult to enjoy books in the series because they (and some other books from the same author) 1) have been following the exact same theme and pattern (which on its own is already alarming) book after book; 2)and the pattern they tend to follow is a one that really doesn’t agree with me. And yet, even after the alarming developments in the last two books, I still wanted to hope there still was a chance. When I begun reading this book, at first I felt my hope pick up (because it at least seemed like it won’t be about another sentinel completely abandoning his post, life, and Dragos all together), but then, around Chapter 9 came the ‘oh shit’ moment. The ‘Oh shit, please tell me that this book is not going to go in the direction I think it’s going to go judging by this sentence…’ kind of moment. And until the very very end of this book I was sitting on this ‘just please don’t go there’ feeling, while the topic was picked up over and over (in the end, it left on the ‘we won’t go there yet, but still might in the future’ note). Aaaand… it completely spoiled most of my experience reading this book.
Thing is, I really liked the very first book a lot (enough to buy a better edition after I read it for the first time and read it twice in one year already). But the first book also was also the one that had this underlying theme I’m having so much trouble with in the least amount (it’s not like it didn’t have it at all, but there at least appeared to be at a reasonable level). I also still enjoy many things about the world and writing in these books. Personally, it’s the dialogues like this that I love especially:
‘I will clear away this mess and…I will achieve pancakes.’ ‘You’ll achieve pancakes?’ ‘I do not see why not.’ ‘Have you ever achieved them before?’ ‘That question is irrelevant. I will achieve pancakes now.’
But. There is this same topic that I’ve already seen repeated as the main topic in 4-5 books by this author (and 3 more where it was present to a degree, even if it didn’t turn out as bad), and I apparently I can’t really enjoy these books anymore because I keep seeing just this same topic and pattern all the time. (Here I am, instead of actually writing a review about the content of this book, writing about how I was not able to really enjoy it because I was too afraid it was about to turn out like the previous two.) It makes me genuinely disappointed, but I’m beginning to turn to the idea that it likely will be better for my health to abandon the ship (this series as a whole, save fore the some novellas I’ve already purchased) and only re-visit the first book from time to time. The world is great, the characters are fun, and the plot might be second-best after Dragon Bound so far in the series, …but there this underlying direction that leaves this very nasty after-taste that spoils the whole experience. Sad.
I’ll say it again. One party in a relationship having to throw away everything about their previous life, their jobs, their loyalties, their other relationships, their nature, “for the sake” of the said relationship is NOT ROMANTIC AT ALL.
There is just something about this book that prevented it from grabbing me. Maybe it was the world setting where the werewolves can only be male and like to walk around topless. Maybe it’s the too many levels of political games (and dominance) and players. (Clans, sorcerers, cults, police, various government agencies, etc; and the pissing contest within each one and among them all. Too much of boring and unpleasant to labour through it all.) Maybe it’s the ‘all self-important’ (prejudiced, judging, I-know-better, and ‘I have to be this way to be taken seriously, so don’t expect me to get off my high horse any time soon’) side to the main character. Maybe it’s all the ‘free sex’ and poly-amorous themes and sexualised imaginary everywhere (right until they are forced into insta-lust and monogamy by the powers above). The content of this book just kept balancing on the very edge between ‘okay’ and ‘don’t like’ for me constantly, and I couldn’t really get into it.
Am I the only one who sees a big fat problem with the central idea of this book that has a 6 yo child who just lost her mother making a wish for ‘a mother for Christmas’? A part from an unbelievable child and a throw-away character of Shelby, who just shouldn’t have been in the book in the first place, it’s a perfectly ordinary contemporary romance story with attractive characters, food, coffee, and an ugly dog.
DNF. This book made my skin crawl so bad I couldn’t throw it away fast enough. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this vulgarly over-sexualized…slavery/rape/humiliation kink?whatever this is, is definitely not my cup of tea. I kept reading for some time thinking ‘maybe it will still redeem itself with some next development’ or ‘maybe it’s not actually as bad as it seems’ (that maybe a character who was supposed to be this highly-professional, impeccably-trained, highest rank security officer with knowledge and space technology will actually win or at least keep her dignity?)…but every turn brought only increasing disgust. A future where humans are so obsessed with sex they become mindless and violent if they don’t get their ‘sex therapy’ from professionals daily? Where women are required to lose virginity before certain age or they will be forced to do it by law (for their own health, of course)? Where a wild ‘usurper’ appears to take over the planet and the first important matter of business he completes is to ship off fighter women into (sex)slavery and rob all other women out of employment immediately? And it just happens? An AI (the “wise-cracking” one from the description) that is obsessed with the topic of her human not having sex and decides she (the human) must be raped by alien and enjoy it? I can’t. This book made me so nauseous I think I need a bucket.