Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren


So during the first few pages, I had a constant wrinkle between my brows.

From the blurb, it was obvious they start out with a love/hate relationship where boy metaphorically pulls on the girl's hair a lot but I found their animosity toward each other a bit strong. It almost felt like boy was yanking on girl's hair hard and girl was kicking boy in the balls. I winced a lot during the first few chapters. 

There's a subtle flirtation between two disagreeing characters usually that speak of a chemistry they won't quite admit but the tone in the first big chunk of the book was laid thick with not just mild disapproval but almost like all-out hate and the jump from absolute hostility to being attracted to each other was a bit of a stumble for me there to read but although shaky, it eventually grew comfortable.

I usually find difficult male characters intriguing but really, Bennet Ryan started out as a rude, crude and despicable grump, and not even remotely sexy. There's a dark, brooding type and there's a classic jerk and it took a lot in this story to redeem him to someone a little more acceptable. He was such a bully and very irritating. And he was such a jerk to her. The effort to redeem him by making him seem perplexed at times by his reaction to Chloe was apparent but I didn't really feel like it justified why he was such a jerk to her in the first place. Sure, he was inconveniently attracted to her for months but I don't think blue balls is enough to make a guy forget his good manners. He really seemed genuinely bewildered by his attitude but he hasn't had episodes of an out-of-body experience to really give him the excuse to not even distinguish being cranky to being such an ass-hat. I know the title is Beautiful Bastard but he was too much of it, I think, that it was hard to really cheer for him.

He gets better but the changes in him didn't really make me go oooohhh-aaaahh. I think that with how big of a jerk he was in the beginning, he ought to have done a little bit more to bring himself back to the good side.

Anyway, as for Chloe, she seemed incredibly gifted as everyone seems to declare so but she held almost no resistance to Bennett. In a way, it's a bit startling considering she wasn't even just wary about him in the beginning. She hated him so much. That thought aside, I do actually enjoy it when the girl decides not to go the traditional route of offering a lot of resistance first only to break down and give in anyway. I agree with her when she admitted to not understanding why she's a totally different person when he's around. I have a hard time wrapping my head around loathing someone so much one minute and then wanting them like crazy the next especially when he continues to be a jerk to her. The gap lacks a build that helps me get to that next level of feeling that the character feels. I feel like some parts of that budding romance was cut and the before and after were just pinned together haphazardly. 

I love the parts about the underwear. It's kinky without being too weird. 

The parts I loved were the sexy yet unexpected and risky locales. I enjoyed the phone call Bennet takes while Chloe amuses herself. There's plenty of sex but nothing too out there which is a bit refreshing considering the amount of erotica being dished out right now. 

The climax (the plot one, not those generously experienced by both characters in the story) was a bit underwhelming at the pivotal point. I guess I expected something a bit bigger to really drive the wedge between them. The business-issue that caused their rift just didn't seem... romantic, I guess.

I enjoyed it because it was a quick, easy, guilty read. It had the potential for a little bit more emotional power. It was fun in a lot of parts but the chemistry is a bit weak. I didn't mind the two first-person POVs too much. I could distinguish the difference in the voice and tone and it helped Bennett's character a lot to be able to see inside his head. I think that without this, he wouldn't have been able to redeem himself at all.

I wish there was a little bit more at the end but I guess there's a second book that will hopefully say a little bit more about the progress of their relationship even though the main plot will be about another character in the story.


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