The Three Fates of Ryan Love
I have thought long and hard about this book. Honestly, I have. And I’ve seen that many of us are in reading slumps. I can honestly say that I think this particular book is the reason for mine – it took me about 6 weeks to read, when similar books of the same length generally take 2 hours. And as I look at other reviews and reactions people have posted about The Three Fates of Ryan Love, I find myself wondering if we read the same thing…
In the middle of the night, after closing up his family-run bar, Ryan Love hears a woman scream in the nearby alley. Rushing over, he finds a naked woman shivering in reaction to something, but no obvious threat around her. She turns to him, gives him her name (Sabelle), and tells him that his life is in danger, and he (and his dog) have to grab their things and go. Once Sabelle convinces him to at least give her a chance, they grab clothes and money (including something for poor, naked Sabelle to wear), and rush outside. Just in time, because Ryan’s bar (with his upstairs apartment) immediately explodes.
From there, Ryan and Sabelle go on a road trip of sorts to a location that Sabelle will know when she sees it (she’s only got the general direction down at the moment), and the reader discovers that she is a powerful seer from the Beyond, and that someone is trying to arrange for Ryan’s death. There’s a lot more to the story than just this, though, and Sabelle knows a lot more about it than Ryan.
Oh god, where do I start. Okay. First, Sabelle and Ryan. Sabelle is a stalker, pure and simple. She has been literally watching Ryan for years, and attempting to influence his life choices. That seriously creeped me out (I know I watch a lot of Criminal Minds, but this is not healthy behavior), and made it impossible for me to sympathize with her. Ryan wasn’t much better – he seemed like a victim most of the time, and was really harsh with Sabelle (drags her around by her arm, yells at her about not staying in the car, etc…). Their relationship was lust-at-first-sight, and I was never convinced of an actual romantic relationship. Sexual, sure, but not romantic.
There’s also a distinct lack of explanation about the Beyond, or the different types of people/creatures found there – I mean, one can make some assumptions (demons and angels are, well, demons and angels; reapers probably collect souls a la the Grim Reaper), but none of that is brought up for a bit into the book, and none of it explains why Ryan reacts so strongly to Sabelle being from the Beyond. To be fair, I have not read the first book, The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love, and some of this may be better explained in that first book.
There were a few good points, I guess. The beginning started off with a bang, and the action sequences were well done. The entire premise brings an interesting twist to discussions of life, death, and fate, though none were really explored within the story or dialogue. I liked that Sabelle was unapologetic about her attraction to Ryan, and her desire for sex or, ultimately, her desire for a long-term relationship. And I guess the sex was good? But none of this was enough for me to enjoy.
In the end, I find myself wondering if this was a contract work – the publisher saying “you must include a, b, x, and m” and the author just kinda shoved everything in there. I was going back and forth on the grade for this one, between a D and an F, because honestly? This book failed me miserably. In the end, while not totally redeeming the story, there were a few things that went okay. Not enough for me. A ton of people really enjoyed it, though, so have at it. As for me, I think I will be staying away from this particular author for a while.