2 out of 4 stars
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Haunted by nightmares, Anna and Raphael find solace in each other. The couple shares a steamy roller coaster ride through a funhouse of multiple forms of physical and psychological abuse in Heartaches 2. The pair is still healing as they take on a new set of challenges while desperately attempting to hold on to each other and the love that they have found. In a story with obstacles seemingly taken from the headlines of current news, the Heartaches series continues in the second installment of dramatic tribulations.
Heartaches 2 by H.M. Irwing completely lives up to the genre staple of graphic passion. In that sense, the book is not unique. What clearly makes this novel stand apart, however, is the unabashed manner in which it takes on very dark material. Subjects such as rape (with male and female characters in the role of the victim), promiscuity, class privilege, and gay marriage are just a few poignant subjects which are dealt with in this series. The summary presented did include a disclaimer, and rightly so. Not for the faint of heart, the gritty details of such subjects are showcased, along with a sizable portion of the aftermath involved.
The daring nature of the subject matter aside, it seems as though important details have been lost in translation. The characters are stereotypes from pop culture, making them caricatures which are not well differentiated from each other in tone and manner. The character’s decision making was somewhat confused, with occasional references to the character not thinking clearly. Regardless of the reason, the choices characters made often defied logic. The female lead was likewise woefully weak. In one case this amounted to just screaming when confronted by an ever-present assailant despite having wallowed in safety and security a moment before in an Australian military college. In this sense much of the plot is bipolar and erratic, often the characters having a multitude of simultaneous issues which are repeated often in the character’s thoughts, but not really processed or dealt with in anything resembling a healthy manner. The storyline compounds the sense of mania in less than clear descriptions or indications of scene changes and sometimes character actions.
There is a disclaimer in the summary, and I hope that it is present in every form of this book. This work is most certainly commendable for bringing such raw issues to the forefront, but readers should certainly be cautious regarding suitability for themselves. For those who dare, readers will certainly become enamored by the novelty and daring of this author to take on such heavy subjects. There is something to be said for shock value, so if you enjoy an episode of Jerry Springer or an R-rated Dynasty, you will certainly enjoy this book.
Even though I feel these subjects are important to discuss, the two-dimensional nature and irrationality of the characters along with a manic plot and inconsistent writing style cause me to give this book a rating of 2 out of 4 stars. As a work of art, it could be much improved upon in order for the author to accurately make the intended point. These subjects deserve to be taken seriously, and no one should think that the way these characters handled their situations is ideal.
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