Tuesday 9 May 2017

Review: Condemned

Condemned Condemned by Hayley Oakes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The synopsis of Condemned really grabbed me. I was unsure whether I would be given the dark romance of their past or whether I would be given a cuter romance of their present. When I was given a story that alternated between the past and the present, I quickly found myself lost in the story.

Honestly, Condemned is an emotional rollercoaster. It’s one of those stories that is about so much more than romance. Whilst the romance is the main focus of the story, there really is so much more to it than the synopsis had me believing. Yes, the synopsis is what pulled me in; however, what kept me reading was the beautiful layers to the story.

When told the story of the past, we get to see our main characters during their teenage years. We get to see the story of their initial romance, of the fire that was burning between them. You knew from the very start that something bad was going to happen, yet you were kept in suspense about what it was. In all honesty, I was expecting something a little bit more. I’ve read so many dark romance novels that I expected the worst, so for a while I was a little bit disappointed by what had actually happen. As the story continued, though, and as I considered it in relation to everything else, I realised it was a wonderful aspect. It may not have been the horrifically dark romance I’d convinced myself it would be, but it reflected a very real aspect of life. It demonstrated how the different aspects of life can influence you, how it’s not always the worst-case scenario that breaks a person, and how the influence of those you care about can alter your view so drastically. Whilst I may have expected something darker, I really did love the story of their past when I stopped to think about it in relation to the present.

When told the story of the present, that’s when I found myself really pulled into the story. Although I was constantly curious about what had happened in the past, I couldn’t help but be on the edge of my seat regarding what the future held. It wasn’t just the romance that held me here, though. I was the dynamics of the family and friends, of where life was taking people. Be warned, one of the events will truly break your heart. Reading this one in public when you get to the hardest hitting aspect of the story… Be aware that if you’re the type to cry easily (even if you’re the type to hold your emotions in check, if I’m honest), you may need to carry a tissue or two with you.

As for the romance, something I seem to be skirting around, I found it to be really enjoyable. There was always those questions of whether things could be salvaged, questions of whether the romance would rekindle to be as it was before. It was great to watch the way it developed, and I found myself truly addicted and unable to put the book down for any period of time. It really was one of those stories that left you guessing until the very end, one of those stories that begged you to continue reading whenever you decided to take a break.

Overall, a thoroughly addictive read. I’m certainly going to have to look into reading more work by Hayley Oakes.

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