Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Curiosity Killed the Cat Again: REAL by Katy Evans Review

So, I was reading a particularly amusing GR review of Real, the first book in Katy Evans's REAL series. The review was hilarious; the woman utilized her fiance's expressions in response to the content in the book, illustrating how horrendous the writing is. When Rainey brought it up to me, too, we talked about it and mutually decided we just had to read it because... apparently we are gluttons for punishment.

Well, I've finally completed it, after much complaining. Honestly, this makes Fifty Shades of Grey look like poetry. If I had a physical copy, it would have given me great enjoyment to toss it in the trash.

Maybe it isn't fair going off about a book I knew ahead of time I wasn't going to like. Maybe sitting around, hate-reading something makes me come off as mean-spirited. But I feel that Evans has released this "book" into the world, and therefore it's fair game.

First of all, the story begins with the protagonist, Brooke Dumas, who has been dragged by her best friend (stereotypically loud, slutty, overly-enthusiastic, so as to provide comparison with the responsible, serious, classy Brooke) to an underground boxing match. (Wasn't fighting in Beautiful Disaster, too, or have I successfully blocked that book out?) Yawn.

Remington "Remy" Tate, AKA Riptide in the ring, for some reason becomes immediately obsessed with Brooke at first sight, runs through the crowd and kisses her. A few days later he offers her as a job as his rehab assistant. Obviously they are wildly attracted to each other and all their interactions after that are supposedly filled with heat. I gather that because Evans shoves it down our throats.

The biggest obstacle that comes between them is Remy's occasional "speediness". I kept reading that and not getting it until they finally said he was Bipolar. Well. Evans did a piss-poor, insulting and damaging portrayal of a person with Bipolar Disorder. It's like she took bits and pieces of factoids she read on WebMD, blew them up and tried to make him really crazy and alpha-masculine (she had a fixation on masculinity, which isn't that notable when it comes to trashy books except for the fact that she did it in a creepy way). He comes across as an animal, and Evans's adjectives are often beastly and inhuman. His "blackness", as they call it, makes him dangerous, prone to anger. Remy doesn't want to hurt Brooke, he doesn't remember what happens during these periods, and he needs to be fucking tranquilized in the neck to avoid excessive damage. I just can't.

I'm not going to bother going on about the plot. There was no real conflict in my eyes, just a bunch of unbalanced people running around with no personalities, thanks to their author. The grammar was atrocious (sentences ran on and on and on, or were never finished), the present tense was awkward, the descriptions of Remy's freakishly huge body filled the pages, and I had to read about Brooke's womb clenching and "her sex" getting wet more than I cared to. The sex wasn't remotely interesting, the romance wasn't close to believable and I kept wondering if I was being punked by someone.

This book is a waste. A waste to read, and a waste to review. That so many people love it speaks to the degeneration of the genre. Feed them enough shit for awhile and they'll never remember what a good steak tastes like.

I don't mind when I don't like a book that many, many other people like. That's not what this is about. I typically shrug and move on because everyone has different tastes. But this book is so... soulless. So shallow. Nothing tangible exists in the repetitive, melodramatic pages. I've put my Kindle down, no more familiar with the characters than I was before I read the book summary. It's almost frightening.

On another note, I was bored the other night and downloaded one of those free books on iBooks that are typically of BDSM fare of late, thanks to E.L. James-- Dare to Love by Carly Phillips. The love interest's last name is Dare, hahaha. I figured the simpleness would pass the time and started reading it. It's not good, but reading it along with the other book just drove home all that Real lacked. The story is cheesy, the instalove is unbelievable and the sex isn't that exciting, either. But at least it feels cohesive and put together, like a real book. If people loved this with the same kind of love some have for Real, I'd be scratching my head, too.

But the difference is this benign tale of two people coming together doesn't offend me or propagate nasty messages of mental illness, or of women, for that matter. Real fails brutally in its attempt at dealing with serious, life-threatening subject manner.

For that, I think Real is one of the worst, most useless books I've ever had the misfortune of reading.


  1. Now that's interesting. I actually thought this was pretty decently written (and compared to a number of other self-pubbed books, this book practically glows because it's that much better than them). My biggest issue was the relationship between Brooke and Remy - in the beginning, when she wasn't letting her hormones do the talking, I actually liked Brooke for sticking to her principles. But at the end? The relationship weakened her, and took what could have been a strong, independent heroine and made her a co-dependent wreck. THAT bothered me. A lot.

    1. While the book might have been better than some self-published books I've seen, the run-on sentences followed by the staccato declarations drove me nuts. Honestly I could spend all day talking about what I hated about the book, which was mostly everything, but you bring up such an excellent point. I agree that Brooke stated multiple times she was sticking to her principles, and perhaps in the beginning she did, but I feel like she signed over her independence the moment she started working for Remy. It was tough for me to even temporarily consider her independent when she spent most of the time drooling over him, but she definitely did take steps to maintain her professionalism. Totally right about her becoming a co-dependent wreck. What's even more disturbing is I think they're both really controlled by Pete and Taylor now.

      I'm just so glad to be finished with it. I need to read your blogpost about obsessive relationships. It's getting really tiresome and upsetting now that this is the trend.

    2. ALSO, while I could go on and on about the lines in this book that are dreadful and bizarre (he fucked my name, he smelled like asshole), one of my favorites was this: "My genetically induced mating instincts are at full attention, roaring inside me." Why, Amanda, why? Evans is super obsessed with Remy being a "man", and references Brooke as "female". Like, yeah they are, but it's extremely bizarre in the context she uses. Especially because she constantly refers to Remy with animalistic language, which was supremely insulting when she unveiled his mental illness.

      Sorry, I don't mean to rant at you about it! I'm just still so freaking annoyed by this book, and honestly perplexed and a little worried that SO many women find this appealing.

    3. So I just finished a New Adult book where the writing was down right atrocious (I finished it because despite the horrid writing, the heroine was actually quite engaging and likeable. How that happened in amidst such bad writing, I don't know, but it did.) If I could bring myself to go back and re-read REAL to compare it to my first impression, I would, but a year later and I'm STILL disturbed by their relationship.

      Anyway, here's the link to the post: http://amandakbyrne.com/2013/04/22/mine-mine-mine-mineminemineminemine-or-the-obsessive-relationship/. I also wrote one on alphaholes. You should read Reaper's Legacy. Holy FUCK is Ruger a douche. Like, he wins all the awards for biggest douche ever in the history of douches.

      Now I'm really curious to see what you'd have to say about that. Plus, MC books (and Joanna Wylde's in particular) are really popular right now.

  2. I am so sorry that I put you through Real. But admit it, you will always have something to pull out when you need a conversation starter.

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