July 25, 2014

REVIEW: Hudson (Fixed #4)

Hudson (Fixed #4), by Laurelin Paige
Published July 8, 2014
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-book, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) "I can easily divide my life into two parts—before her and after."

Hudson Pierce has led a life few others could even imagine. With money and power at his fingertips, he's wanted for almost nothing. He's never experienced love, however, and he's seen few examples of it in his dysfunctional family. The ridiculous notion of romance has always intrigued him. He's studied it, controlled it, manipulated it, and has yet to understand it.

Until he meets Alayna Withers.

Now, the games he's played in his quest for comprehension can finally come to an end. Or are they just beginning?

Told from his point of view, Hudson fills the holes in his love story with Alayna Withers. His past and relationship with his long-time friend Celia is further revealed and light is shed on his actions during his courtship with Alayna. 

I freaking love companion books. Particularly from the guy's POV. I ate up Walking Disaster. Trust In Me. Unbreakable. When I learned about Hudson, I knew I had to have it. I loved the first three Fixed books, but there was a lot that I felt like I missed out on. Hudson was very much an enigma. So, the chance to get inside his head was a definite draw for me. And, I wasn't disappointed. 

The really awesome thing about Hudson was that it wasn't simply a retelling of the first three Fixed books from his POV. Hudson always claimed that he didn't have the ability to love someone. It seemed as if that was drilled into his head by his evil mother. And then there was his destructive relationship with Celia. Hudson switches from pre-Alayna to post-Alayna, and when you put the two halves together, we get a whole picture of who Hudson really is. 

Despite his destructive "games," when the reader gets Hudson's full backstory, it's hard to not feel a lot of empathy for him. It's clear that his parents were not nurturing and loving toward him. His mother tried to convince him that he was emotionless and loveless in an attempt to make herself feel better about her constant downward spiral. Although my opinion of Hudson had already risen by the end of Forever With You, by the end of Hudson, I was convinced the man could do no wrong. 

Celia, however, I didn't really think I could hate more. I was wrong. Hudson can claim all he wants that he made her who she became. It became clear when we see their history that there was always a kernel of wrongness about her that only became amplified after her failed relationship attempt with Hudson. Hudson merely encouraged what was already there. And seeing how she hatched plan after plan to drive other people - Alayna included - to the brink of despair was pretty infuriating.

On the other side of the story, though, I loved watching Hudson's and Alayna's relationship unfold through his eyes. There was a lot that was very surprising to me. When the story was told from Alayna's POV, I got the impression that Hudson was dragged along kicking and screaming for awhile before finally succumbing to the realization that he was in love with her. 

What is actually the case is a bit of instalove - crazy, right? It seems almost as if Hudson fell in love with Alayna from the moment he saw her. He seemed in it for the long haul. And, even more surprising, he admitted to himself that he loved Alayna long before he ever clued her in. It was shocking and delightful. It appeared that he only kept that nugget to himself so that he could more effectively manage Celia. Which, of course, ended up a big, fat fail. 

The epilogue was absolutely wonderful. It gave me the perfect sense of closure to this couple's story. Thank you, Laurelin Paige for giving we fans something I know I was clamoring for. This peek inside the complex and beautiful mind of Hudson Pierce was the absolute best way to finish his and Alayna's story. 

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