Book Review: Focus

 

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Title: Focus [The Crescent Chronicles 2]

Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy

Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Urban

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Freshman year of college is hard even when you’re not tied to the future king of a supernatural society.

Allie dives into college head first with Hailey as her roommate and the city of New Orleans as her backyard. As things within The Society heat up, Allie realizes that whether she’s with Levi or not, she’s in far too deep to turn back.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Like it’s predecessor, Focus fell into the iffy gray area between a 3 and a 4 star rating for me. While my overall impression is that I really liked the book, there were definitely some draw backs about this novel that made me cringe.

As far the the writing goes, like Flight (Book 1 of this series), this book was well written. Technically speaking there weren’t a lot of typos or grammatical mistakes, and the narrative moved along at a decent speed throughout. There was still a decided lack of overall detail, but it didn’t bother me as much in this book as it did the first, I think in part because the dynamics between the characters were so tense, that I got caught up in that aspect of the story.

Also like it’s predecessor, the depth of characterization in this novel really stood out to me. I genuinely like all of the characters—even the awful ones. It seemed that I got to see a different side of the main couple throughout this book, and it was nice to see their situation from the opposite stance it took in the first book.

At the end of the previous novel I was quite disturbed by Levi’s interactions with Allie. He came across as pushy, domineering, and a little skeazy to be honest. I was dead set at the end that if Allie was going to be a good female lead, she’d have to make the choice to leave Levi.

Going into this book however, my position changed. Levi came across (perhaps as he should have in the first book) as more endearing and sweet. He was nearly desperate to get back into Allie’s good graces (as well he should be after his glaring mistakes in handling their situation in the first place), and instead, Allie was the character who quickly fell out of my favor. I don’t know that it was a conscious effort on the author’s part to narrate this part of the couple’s relationship the way it came across, but I felt as if the situation Allie found herself in by the mid-point of this book was a very realistic, if imperfect position.

Whereas in the previous book Allie was completely justified in distancing herself from her relationship with Levi (and I fully supported her!), there eventually came a point in this novel where she surpassed the line of what should have been considered a reasonable punishment and ventured into being a bitch. (excuse my label). The longer she drew out this situation of ignoring Levi and denying him any sort of romantic or physical crumbs, the closer she came to pushing not only Levi, but me, too far. When she came to the point where she realized she loved Levi, was able to admit that to herself, and still denied him forgiveness, I grew angry. As a reader, I was ready to give in and have Levi back in my good graces, and Allie wasn’t.

On the one hand, that really irritated me, but on the other, I can understand the position she’s found herself in. There are times in relationships when things don’t go as perfectly scripted as we’d like them to. Allie hit that point, and she made the wrong decision because she was afraid. So although it made me angry at the time, I’m glad the author made these characters fallible. I think it added a layer of depth to the story that I’m not sure everyone will pick up on, and I’m glad that I was someone who could.

That aside, like Flight, I think to enjoy this book you’ll have to approach the story as a delve into the intricacies of relationships—those between friends, family, and lovers, and although there are some action and paranormal aspects, I don’t think think those are the main focus. If you go into this story expecting exceptional world building, cuddly romances and thrilling supernatural occurrences, you’re going to be disappointed.

Another thing that stuck out for me in this book (and maybe the whole series, I don’t know… there wasn’t that much of it in the first book, and I haven’t read the third) is the underwhelming sex scenes. I didn’t notice it so much in the first book because there was only one sex scene…but in the second book, Focus, it became blatantly obvious that sex scenes are not this author’s forte. I’ll put it out in the open: There were a lot of sex scenes in this book. Unfortunately, they were very short, not descriptive in the least, and for the most part, completely glossed over. This of course leads me to ask: why bother putting them in?

It’s not so much that they were glossed over that bugs me—if you don’t feel comfortable having sex scenes in a book, fine… leave them out—but if you’re going to have them, especially in a primarily romance book such as this, you should do them right. They should mean something for the couple, or at least show the audience an aspect of their relationship that helps build its believability. It shouldn’t be watered down to the point where I can skip a paragraph and completely miss it. In that case, what was the point of writing the scene in the first place other than to fill space?

Overall, this isn’t the best book of it’s kind that I’ve read, but it was enjoyable. I think if you can approach it from the angle of viewing it as a characterization of the relationships between several people, instead of a sexy fast-paced adventure into the supernatural, you’ll enjoy it more. This isn’t going to be for everyone. Would I read it again? Certainly. Would I recommend it? Yes. I’m planning to get into the third book and see how Allie and Levi’s story pans out shortly. Just be aware of what you’re going into when you read this series—it’s not going to come across as what most people are expecting from a series like this. Had I gone into this knowing that it was labeled a paranormal romance, I don’t think my rating of this novel would have been as high—but because I tend to ignore synopsis and genre’s, I am able to stand back and see the book for what it is, not what it should have been—and that is what I am basing my rating upon.

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