REVIEW: The Tornado by Missy Blue
Dear Ms. Blue:
I bought this book after seeing an enthusiastic discussion about it on Twitter. Readers really loved your Caregiving Alpha, Asher. Given that the Caregiving Alpha is my favorite of all hero archetypes, I bought the book immediately. While yes, Asher was a sweet, caring alpha hero, I found there were a few issues that made this book one that I’ll remember for reasons I’d imagine you didn’t intend.
When Asher Prince meets Juliet Mucciarone, he doesn’t realize she’s a girl. As far as he knows, she’s a kid he’s nicknamed “The Loner” who comes into his gym a few nights a week to work at the speed bag. Asher thinks to himself that the kid has good form and is fast, but he wonders more about his story. One night he discovers that Loner is not a boy, but a slight woman who he ends up rescuing from a few of the less civilized members of his gym.
Jewel is horrified at the attention that she draws at Asher’s gym. She knows who he is, that he’s nicknamed “The Tornado” and that he’s a very successful MMA fighter. She’s grateful to him for the rescue, but would prefer never to receive any attention from the male of the species. She flinches away from Asher and runs, leaving a prescription bottle behind. When Asher finally tracks Jewel down to return her medicine, he realizes that she’s actually very beautiful, though it’s clear to him from the start that she’s very uncomfortable being around men. He tentatively begins a friendship with her, first ensuring that she gets home safely, and then, as she becomes more comfortable with him, encouraging her to continue ballet dancing, which he knows she left by the wayside in her past. He knows that something horrible happened to Jewel, and that she’s very nervous around men, but it isn’t until their romantic relationship is cemented that he understands the depth and magnitude of Jewel’s horrifying past.
This book was a very mixed bag for me. And I think my reaction is very much dictated by the heroine’s past. I realize that one of the trends in New Adult these days is to load one or both of the characters up with some sort of horrifying past, and that past is the barrier to the success of the couple’s relationship. In this book, Jewel’s past is so extreme, that I found it very, very difficult to believe the Happily Ever After that you were intending. I’m going to put her past under a spoiler tag. This spoiler tag comes with a big trigger warning.
Give the extremity of Jewel’s past, I guess that I expected that she would still be under a physician’s care (at the beginning of the book, it had been less than a year since the attack). I found her willingness to open herself to Asher to be less than credible. While Asher himself is a truly wonderful, caring hero, I found the idea that his love and support would be enough to get her through her past far fetched. There is some reference to medication that she takes for anxiety in the beginning of the book, but by the time she and Asher enter a romantic relationship, the reader is told she is no longer taking medicine. I found her recovery to stretch my personal credulity.
I did really enjoy Asher’s characterization. He’s a good guy, with a sweet heart and is purely driven to care and love for Jewel. It made him a delight to read about, particularly because you split points of view between the two characters, so we really got to see how much he wants to be there for her in every way. You also populate the book with a host of terrific secondary characters, including Jewel’s big Italian family. Those parts were entertaining to read. I’d definitely try another book by you, though The Tornado is not a book I think I’d read again due to the horror of the heroine’s past and my inability to buy into her quick recovery.
While I thought that this book had some things to recommend it, including a very sweet hero and a cast of enjoyable secondary characters, in a market full of New Adult heroines with issues, this book is going to stand out to me as the one that went way over the top. Final grade: B-