I appreciate a book that doesn’t try to sugar coat what it is… The Pawn is dark erotic romance with a hint of mystery underneath. It doesn’t try to be anything else. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Avery is at her wits’ end when her sainted father turns out to be a devil in disguise. And when she tries to save what she can by selling her virginity to the highest bidder, she’s exposed to the gritty underbelly of the town she grew up in.
This kind of plot is incredibly common in dark erotic romance. And if you’re in the mood for dubious consent without getting full on into non-con, this is the direction you can go. Because let’s not pull any punches… selling yourself to someone is dubious consent at best. Prostitution, definitely. And non-con in many instances. This is also something that’s best left to fiction only. In real life, this plot device is beyond creepy and bad. So I’m making sure you know what you’re getting into.
Gabriel is a very typical antihero. He’s got a past, and hints of honor peeking through. But he’s also not above manipulating the board and others to get what he wants. He is not a good guy. He is not a nice guy. He’s not even Loki or Vegeta levels of antihero. He’s very cookie-cutter but that isn’t necessarily bad. I enjoyed seeing his warring with himself. And if I were interested in purchasing the rest of the series, he could improve. But I’ll never know.
Avery is also fairly bland. She’s not too stupid to live, which is often the case with these heroines. And even better she’s got a kick-ass best friend in Harper. Harper is the kind of friend every girl should have. I’d love to see Harper’s story someday. So there were definitely things I liked. What I didn’t like was the cliffhanger. This book ended with one. While I get that the author wants to hook people into buying her books, HFN ending and a solid taste of what’s to come would have served just as well. If you’re okay with essentially being forced to buy the next books to find out what happens, then this is a solid four stars.
But for me, because of the cliffhanger and the sort of blandness, I can only give this 3 stars.
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