Thursday, May 3, 2018

Review of Snatch Girl by LJ Kane

2 Stars. Unlikeable Love Interest. Snatch Girl is a fast-paced and intense thrill ride, but I was unable to get past the romanticized abuse that runs rampant throughout the story.

This book is very graphic, which I don’t think is inappropriate for the themes involved, as this book is about a girl who’s kidnapped and abused as she’s used for leverage. However, the addition of a romantic subplot including graphic sex was, in my opinion, inappropriate for the content of the story. I do think Snatch Girl has a good story at its core, but it would have been better, more realistic and had a better message had all romantic involvement between Ellie and one of her kidnappers, Darren, not been there. Or, if he hadn’t assaulted her himself and their relationship had moved at a slower pace.

I liked watching Ellie fight. She was tough, especially in the first half of the book. She never missed an opportunity to try and escape and I found myself rooting for her. This really was an exciting read.

However, I didn’t like Darren. At all. Yes, Braddon is a far worse person than Darren. And yes, Darren “rescues” Ellie from Braddon, but there was absolutely nothing that I liked about who he was or anything he did that made me want to root for him. He could at any time have taken Ellie to a hospital or the police and saved her from further abuse, but he continues as her kidnapper until her ransom is paid.

From the very beginning, Darren is cold, cruel and abusive. He does have a sense of humor, but it’s not enough to make me him likable. He’s physically violent with Ellie, slapping her and punching her on multiple occasions. He “rescues” her from Braddon’s sadistic sexual torment, only to keep her captive himself as they run from Braddon who wants them both dead. He knows she’s been abused, yet he’s constantly leering at her and making sexual comments. Never does he show her genuine kindness or compassion. And yet, a romantic interest develops between him and Ellie.

This story had the potential to explore some very serious issues like rape and abuse. However, Ellie often does not act in a way would be typical of a young woman who’s been repeatedly drugged, raped, tortured and traumatized. I feel like this gives a poor portrayal of what its like to go through these experiences.

(Now I just want to comment here that I have not personally suffered from sexual abuse, however, I do have a BA in Psychology. I work in social services and have worked with victims of sexual assault.)

After suffering the extensive sexual abuse that Ellie goes through she should need time to regain confidence sexually. Rape and sexual assault can leave people deeply emotionally scarred often resulting in panic attacks, anxiety, and confusion when they’re faced with intimacy in the future. Ellie, however, seems not to experience these things after her trauma. While Ellie does make a number of comments about not wanting to be touched, or not wanting to undress in front of Darren (Yes, he makes her undress in front of him), her ogling of Darren’s chest, the bulge in his pants, and general good looks felt very out of place. As did the way she generally brushed off or laughed at his sexual innuendos, let him touch her, and described how he aroused and excited her.

At one point, Braddon nearly kills and sexually assaults Ellie mere hours before she’s shown eyeing up Darren, laughing at his incredibly inappropriate sexual innuendos, and later describing how she wants him. I think it’s an incredibly poor message to have her suffer sexual assault, nearly die and then have her discussing wanting to sleep with one of her kidnappers all within a matter of hours. Oh, and she has sex with Darren that same night.

Overall, there’s some good writing here. I rarely rate books 2 Stars because usually, the writing is so bad I can’t finish them and I won’t review something I haven’t finished. Snatch Girl is interesting and well edited. But, there are two stories here. 1. A traumatic thriller where a girl overcomes rape. Which would be a great story without the romance. 2. A romantic suspense where a guy helps a girl escape a kidnapping. Which could have been great had Ellie not been raped and abused. But, Snatch Girl tries to combines these two ideas into one and in that it fails.

Was the writing/editing solid?

4/5 - This book was generally well written, edited and formatted. I did find a few typos, but nothing too distracting. However, I did feel like the beginning and end were a little rushed. There were often times I wanted more backstory.

Did the book have a well-formed plot/subplots?

2/5 - The basic structure of this book was done well, but the content was at times off-putting, to say the least, and the romance subplot was completely out of place.

Could you relate to the characters?

2/5 - I liked Ellie for the most part but I found she lacked believability regarding how she responded to the trauma she experienced, and I had a lot of issues with Darren being posed as a love interest.

Did the story make you feel?

1/5 - I was completely unable to be pulled into the romance between Ellie and Darren, and a lot of the sympathy I did have for Ellie was undermined by her lack of believability as a trauma victim.

Was the book unputdownable?

3/5 - Despite disliking much of the content, this was fast paced and did keep me on the edge of my seat. I read it pretty quickly.

Indie Book Goal 2018 Notes

This is the third book I've finished for #IndieBookGoal2018 where I've pledged to read at least 10 Indie books before the end of the year.

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