Quick review for a quick read. I think reading this installment kind of proves the point that in serial novels, a weakness is that some parts may be stronger standing by themselves than others, and some middle points of the released serial can come across as weak considering their beginning and end points.

For “Savage Kiss”, the second narrative in Opal Carew’s His to Claim serial novel, the weaknesses really stood out in comparison. I don’t know if some of these may be fixed in the final version of the book, but I’ll point out some things that I saw/took issue with in my galley copy. The first thing is that there was a lot of repetition of turns of phrases. Far too many mentions of the word “masculine” as a descriptor. “Masculine” is a very weak descriptor. If you say someone has “masculine” hands and you’re describing a male, its redundant. It is not a sexy descriptor, which I’ve no doubt that’s what the author was going for, but it didn’t work. I think I caught four or five mentions of the word masculine in the early stages here and it took me out of the story. There were other phrases that proved repetitious even in the short length of this read that I think could’ve been culled or reduced down.

But even with that, this narrative – while definitely jumping into the steamy interludes between Melanie and Rafe, had its share of weaknesses. I get that Rafe has something of a dual identity – he’s kind of like Jem from Jem and the Holograms. And some of you are probably looking at me now as if I have two heads, but hear me out: he has a dual identity and it’s kind of over the top. By one means, he’s a wealthy businessman, by another – he’s a rockstar called Storm. I’m having a little trouble with not thinking this narrative is pure wish fulfillment. Wish fulfillment in itself wouldn’t be a problem if I could suspend disbelief enough to follow it, but it’s kind of glaringly obvious and pandering to the characters, and that doesn’t make me feel for the characters here much since it’s that obvious. I found myself rolling my eyes and saying “Okay, whatever, what happens next?” because I’m waiting for something to emotionally pull me in more, to make me feel for these characters rather than just the purported sexy times – it comes too easy. When you’ve got everyone around the heroine saying “Oh man, Rafe is so hot” and then the heroine reiterating the same thought, then it’s just overselling the point.

I don’t know, I thought this installment would be better and I was more forgiving of certain parallels in the first installation than I was in this one because of the chosen setup. I’m hoping the next part is stronger, because I just didn’t connect here. And the ending is really typical and while a cliffhanger, I couldn’t really feel anything for it.

Overall score: 2/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher St. Martin’s Press.

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