Taylor Brooke: Fortitude Smashed

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. 

Fate is now a calculation.

But loving someone isn’t.

When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.

Does everyone remember that Soulmate Clock meme that went around Tumblr for the longest time? The one where everyone had a countdown on their wrist to the time they would meet their exact soulmate–people contributed their own ideas for how this would play out, and people were desperate for a book about this.

SOMEONE WROTE THE BOOK.

I will be perfectly honest, when Taylor first messaged me about doing this review, I might have screamed. Even though I am not on Tumblr anymore, this thread was one of my faves.

And she absolutely did the original thread justice. The love story was freaking sexy. It’s an opposites attract story–because of course, the Clock would bring a cop and robber together. Their original hate for each other turns into passion and it’s hot, hot, hot.

It’s also sweet, and loving. There are a lot of references to mental illness–especially depression and anxiety. The author begins her book with the best formatted trigger warnings I have ever seen. It is non threatening, unimposing, and doesn’t spoil anything in the book. If a person needs the warning, they can read it, and there are chapter numbers to point out exactly where those triggers can be found. If the reader doesn’t want to know about them, it’s an easy page flip. (The triggers are mostly due to dissociative episodes and panic attacks, but there are references to abuse and assault in the book as well.) The author has advised on Twitter that this book is OwnVoices for both the mental health and assault themes in the book.

As much as I loved the love story, I was concerned at first because there wasn’t anything else. The story read very flat and kind of fanfictionesque. There is no explanation of what the Camellia Clock and Rose Road are or how they came to be, no world building. There are secondary characters, but we get little development of their personalities or lives. The story starts with Shannon and Aiden’s clocks flashing 0:00, and it’s all them from that moment forward.

The second half of the book does get more layered. We start to see the secondary characters come more into play, and things develop a lot more. That is where we see the mental illness become more nuanced, and the pair start circling outside of each other. We also get a little bit of information about the clocks, but I’d still like to see more about the names or how this came to be (Why the flower names? Were Camellia and Rose people? What is the “road” in Rose Road?”) I have a lot of questions that haven’t been answered yet. I think it’s being set up for more clocks to run out, as a series, and I am certainly interested to see where she takes this.

Also, did I mention that there is Pansexual representation in this book? Because there is PANSEXUAL REPRESENTATION IN THIS BOOK. (Also Bisexual Rep too, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen Pansexual rep.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I think the writing got better as the book went on, but I was excited from this story from the very beginning. I’ll be following Taylor Brooke to see what is next! We do have two women with ticking clocks…

DiversityBingo2017:  BISEXUAL MC OV

The author provided this ARC for an unbiased review. This post does contain affiliate links.

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